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Oliver Pham
Oliver Pham

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How I Set Up GitHub Actions for a Python Project

Last week, I already set up some automation tests for Silkie, my static site generator (SSG). Instead of running tests manually on each Pull Request (PR), I made an attempt to configure GitHub Actions to automate this Continuous Integration (CI) workflow. Moreover, I also helped my friend, Luke, add a test case to his SSG this week.

Configure GitHub Actions

For the time being, I have several specifications for my CI pipeline:

  • Test Silke only on Python 3.9 (hopefully I can support more versions in future releases)
  • Install dependencies from requirements.txt file (if it exists)
  • Run Flake8 linter
  • Run tests and generate code coverage

Here's how it actually looks like:

# This is a basic workflow to help you get started with Actions

name: CI

# Controls when the workflow will run
on:
  # Triggers the workflow on push or pull request events but only for the main branch
  push:
    branches: [ main ]
  pull_request:
    branches: [ main ]

  # Allows you to run this workflow manually from the Actions tab
  workflow_dispatch:

# A workflow run is made up of one or more jobs that can run sequentially or in parallel
jobs:
  # This workflow contains a single job called "build"
  build:
    # The type of runner that the job will run on
    runs-on: ubuntu-latest
    strategy:
      matrix:
        python-version: ["3.9"]

    # Steps represent a sequence of tasks that will be executed as part of the job
    steps:
      # Checks-out your repository under $GITHUB_WORKSPACE, so your job can access it
      - uses: actions/checkout@v2

      - name: Set up Python ${{ matrix.python-version }}
        uses: actions/setup-python@v2
        with:
          python-version: ${{ matrix.python-version }}

      - name: Install dependencies
        run: |
          python -m pip install --upgrade pip
          if [ -f requirements.txt ]; then pip install -r requirements.txt; fi
      - name: Run flake8 linter
        run: |
          pip install flake8
          # stop the build if there are Python syntax errors or undefined names
          flake8 . --count --select=E9,F63,F7,F82 --show-source --statistics
          # exit-zero treats all errors as warnings. The GitHub editor is 127 chars wide
          flake8 . --count --exit-zero --max-complexity=10 --max-line-length=127 --statistics
      - name: Test & Code coverage with pytest
        run: |
          pip install pytest
          pip install pytest-cov
          pytest --junitxml=junit/test-results.xml --cov=silkie --cov-report=xml --cov-report=html
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Testing Luke's SSG

Luke used Jest as his testing framework. In my opinion, it wasn't really different from Pytest, so I had no problem with adding a new test case.

Luke had also set up a simple but efficient CI workflow for his project:

# This workflow will do a clean install of node dependencies, cache/restore them, build the source code and run tests across different versions of node
# For more information see: https://help.github.com/actions/language-and-framework-guides/using-nodejs-with-github-actions

name: Node.js CI

on:
  push:
    branches: [main]
  pull_request:
    branches: [main]

jobs:
  build:
    runs-on: ubuntu-latest

    strategy:
      matrix:
        node-version: [14.x, 16.x]
        # See supported Node.js release schedule at https://nodejs.org/en/about/releases/

    steps:
      - uses: actions/checkout@v2
      - name: Use Node.js ${{ matrix.node-version }}
        uses: actions/setup-node@v2
        with:
          node-version: ${{ matrix.node-version }}
          cache: 'npm'
      - run: npm ci
      - run: npm test
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Luckily, my newly added test case didn't fail the CI workflow, so my PR got merged eventually.

Final thoughts

I think it's pretty easy and simple to get a CI pipeline up and running with GitHub Actions. However, its impact on our productivity and code quality is certainly significant as the project grows bigger.

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