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How to enable GitHub Actions on your Profile README for a snake-eating contribution graph 🐍

Michelle Mannering
Developer Relations | Hackathon Queen | Community Manager
・Updated on ・4 min read

Lots of people have been talking about and sharing their GitHub Profile READMEs. It was a project we launched last year and developers are loving it. As this feature became more popular, more developers were building templates, plugins, and apps for you to use on your profile.

This post from Supritha caught my attention. I like the way they talk about various pieces of code to have on your GitHub Profile README.

One of the comments from Guillaume Falourd pointed to a really cool project from Platane.

GitHub logo Platane / snk

🟩⬜ Generates a snake game from a github user contributions graph and output a screen capture as animated svg or gif

snk

GitHub marketplace type definitions code style

Generates a snake game from a github user contributions graph

Pull a github user's contribution graph Make it a snake Game, generate a snake path where the cells get eaten in an orderly fashion.

Generate a gif or svg image.

Available as github action. Automatically generate a new image at the end of the day. Which makes for great github profile readme

Usage

github action

- uses: Platane/snk@master
  with:
    # github user name to read the contribution graph from (**required**)
    # using action context var `github.repository_owner` or specified user
    github_user_name: ${{ github.repository_owner }}

    # path of the generated gif file
    # If left empty, the gif file will not be generated
    gif_out_path: dist/github-snake.gif

    # path of the generated svg file
    # If left empty, the svg file will not be generated
    svg_out_path: dist/github-snake.svg
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example with cron job

interactive demo

platane.github.io/snk

local

npm install
npm
…

It uses GitHub Actions to build and update a user's contribution graph, and then has a snake eat all your contributions. The output generates a gif file, that you can then show on your GitHub Profile README. I thought this was pretty cool, so I set about adding this to my profile.

Step 1. Setting up GitHub Actions

The first thing you want to ensure before you start this project, is that you have GitHub Actions setup. Head to your Profile and ensure the "Actions" tab is available. Everyone should now have this feature.

Actions Button

Next, head to Platane's Action (available on the Marketplace) and make a copy of the code. You'll need to add this snippet into your Actions file.

Step 2. Creating your GitHub Actions yaml file

This is definitely the part where I got stuck. When looking at the code, I wasn't sure exactly where to add the lines of code mentioned on Marketplace.

After looking at the way Platane had their Actions file setup, I was able to generate the code (with a little help from Bdougie of course).

I've added the full code snippet below and added plenty of comments to (hopefully make it easy to understand).

You can copy this code straight into a blank *.yml file. Make sure you create a new *.yml file under the following directory:

YOUR_GITHUB_USERNAME --> .github --> workflows --> FILE_NAME.yml


# GitHub Action for generating a contribution graph with a snake eating your contributions.

name: Generate Snake

# Controls when the action will run. This action runs every 6 hours.

on:
  schedule:
      # every 6 hours
    - cron: "0 */6 * * *"

# This command allows us to run the Action automatically from the Actions tab.
  workflow_dispatch:

# The sequence of runs in this workflow:
jobs:
  # This workflow contains a single job called "build"
  build:
    # The type of runner that the job will run on
    runs-on: ubuntu-latest

    # Steps represent a sequence of tasks that will be executed as part of the job
    steps:

    # Checks repo under $GITHUB_WORKSHOP, so your job can access it
      - uses: actions/checkout@v2

    # Generates the snake  
      - uses: Platane/snk@master
        id: snake-gif
        with:
          github_user_name: mishmanners
          # these next 2 lines generate the files on a branch called "output". This keeps the main branch from cluttering up.
          gif_out_path: dist/github-contribution-grid-snake.gif
          svg_out_path: dist/github-contribution-grid-snake.svg

     # show the status of the build. Makes it easier for debugging (if there's any issues).
      - run: git status

      # Push the changes
      - name: Push changes
        uses: ad-m/github-push-action@master
        with:
          github_token: ${{ secrets.GITHUB_TOKEN }}
          branch: master
          force: true

      - uses: crazy-max/ghaction-github-pages@v2.1.3
        with:
          # the output branch we mentioned above
          target_branch: output
          build_dir: dist
        env:
          GITHUB_TOKEN: ${{ secrets.GITHUB_TOKEN }}
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Step 3. Running GitHub Actions

Once you've added the code above and committed it, head to your Actions tab. Under "Workflows", you should see the "Generate Snake" Action you created above.

Workflow

Click "Run Workflow" and watch your workflow run. You can even expand your workflow and see what's happening in real time.

Running Actions

Once your workflow has finished running, you should have received a green βœ… "build" checkmark. If so, this means your Action is working nicely. If not, you'll have to go through the code and see where the errors are. The "build" status should give you some indication of where your errors lie. You can also compare it with the yaml file on my GitHub Profile README.

Build green

If you have the green "build" βœ… then you should be good to go. Head back to your repo's "Code" directory, and change your branch to "output". Here you'll find the two versions of your contribution graph with the snake eating it: a *.gif and a *.svg. The good thing about these files is the file is rewritten over itself every time the Action runs. Thus, your contribution graph will always be up to date.

CodeOutput

Step 4. Adding a contribution-eating snake to your profile

Now the final set is to add this to your profile. Grab the file location of your *.gif. It should be something like:

https://github.com/YOUR_USERNAME/YOUR_USERNAME/blob/output/github-contribution-grid-snake.gif

Add this to your profile by copying the file location onto a new line in your markdown file:

![snake gif](https://github.com/YOUR_USERNAME/YOUR_USERNAME/blob/output/github-contribution-grid-snake.gif)

Now you should have a really cool looking snake eating your contributions!

SnakeEating

Hopefully this guide was helpful for you and gives you a good base to start building and adding more Actions on your profile. What have you been adding to your GitHub Profile README? Other there other cool Actions I should be looking at?

Discussion (9)

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msoftware profile image
Michael jentsch

Great tutorial! Works for me.
Here's mine - github.com/msoftware

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gustavohgmartins profile image
Gustavo Martins

Awsome! How did you change the background-color?

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mishmanners profile image
Michelle Mannering Author

I didn't change the background colour. It's a .png/.svg image, meaning the background is transparent. It looks dark on mine because I have dark mode enabled on GitHub. You can enable it by clicking Settings --> Appearance --> choosing your mode.

Thread Thread
gustavohgmartins profile image
Gustavo Martins

Thank you! actually I was using the .gif version, so I switched to the .svg one and voilΓ‘

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mishmanners profile image
Michelle Mannering Author

Awesome! Glad to be of help πŸ˜„

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zieldecastro profile image
Josiel de Castro Goudinho • Edited

It does not work for me. Can someone help me?
github.com/zieldecastro
instagram.com/zieldecastro/

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shasank27 profile image
Shasank Periwal • Edited

Great tutorial!
But can anyone help me, its not showing all my contributions
github.com/shasank27/shasank27

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mishmanners profile image
Michelle Mannering Author • Edited

Hey Shasank. I can't see it on your profile, but to show all contributions, you need to make sure all contributions are turned on your profile. You can do this in your settings:

github.com/YOUR_PROFILE --> Settings --> Profile

Then scroll down to "Contributions" and check the box that says "Include private contributions on my profile".

Hope that helps.

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adityamangal1 profile image
Aditya Mangal

Awesome Tutorial! 🐍