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Make sure you’ve checked our Concept: CI/CD page.

GitHub Actions

GitHub Actions makes it easy to automate all your software workflows, now with world-class CI/CD. Build, test, and deploy your code right from GitHub. Make code reviews, branch management, and issue triaging work the way you want. - GitHub Actions

Triggers and Actions

Every time a commit is pushed to the repository, or a branch is merged, automated actions are triggered.

Those actions are managed through Github Actions.

Next Right Now comes built-in with several GitHub Actions that are described in this section (see below “Table of contents”).

About GitHub Secrets

GitHub Secrets must be added on Github settings “secrets” page

E.g: for NRN

Secrets are a very common way to provide variables to GitHub Actions securely. Secrets are encrypted and aren’t printed in logs.

The secret GITHUB_TOKEN is automatically provided by GitHub and you don’t have to do anything to use it. You can simply use it from your workflow files (.yml).

Optional global GitHub secrets

Enabling GitHub Action runner diagnostic logs

By adding the below GitHub Secret, all your GitHub Actions will print more logs. This is very useful to understand what happens within the actions you’re using.


Sometimes, enabling this might be requested by other Actions maintainers when you encounter issues with their action.

Enabling GitHub Action step debug logs

By adding the below GitHub Secret, all your GitHub Actions will print more logs. This is very useful to understand what happens within the actions you’re using.


This is the most useful debug, and directly prints debug steps in the logs.


GitHub Actions is completely free for open source projects.

It provides a free tier for private source projects. If you go above the limit of the free tiers, you’ll have to pay.


You might want to add extra capabilities to your CI/CD workflows, check out the GitHub Actions Marketplace for existing actions!

While this might save you a lot of time, make sure to check the below “Security” section.


It is important to understand the role of the GitHub Marketplace is really different from what developers might expect. Developers are familiar with NPM, which takes care of many things, like ensuring a version cannot be rewritten once it’s been published.

There is no such thing with the GitHub Marketplace. The Marketplace is merely a way to find existing actions, it’s an index. It’s by no mean an “action manager”. It won’t play a role similar as the one NPM plays with the JavaScript ecosystem.

For instance, while NPM ensures a published version cannot be unpublished, to avoid breaking existing projects, the GitHub Marketplace doesn’t perform such thing.

Long story short, if you use someone else’s action, there is no way to be a 100% it won’t break in the future. The owner might simply remove its GitHub repository, which would break all projects using that repository.

So, when using GitHub Actions written by other, you need to be aware of this, and avoid using something you cannot rely on in a production system.

Also, using tags, or branches, are considered unsafe.

Anybody with write access to the repository might (mistakenly, or on purpose) change the SHA associated with a tag or branch. For instance, using some-repo/some-action@v1 or some-repo/some-action@v1.1.1 or some-repo/some-action@main are all unsafe ways of using external actions.

It is strongly recommended to use SHA instead. Such as some-repo/some-action@7e644daa2245238d9f11d05e63eb43116d31089a. That’s the only way to know for certain that nobody can change the code your action will be using without your prior knowledge. Auditing the source code you use is pointless if you don’t use SHA, as that source code can be changed without you noticing nor validating anything. Although, using SHA won’t help if the whole repository is deleted.

Some people recommend using some-repo/some-action@v1 to automatically benefit from non-breaking changes, bug fixes, and security patches. While it can be useful, we don’t necessarily recommend it. It has happened by the past, and will happen in the future that such “automatic updates” will break stuff, often due to human error.

Eventually, you do what you want based on how risky things are for you and your business. Those are merely advices we give you, as we believe they are very important to know, but the choice is yours.

Those are all really serious concern, we hope the GitHub Actions ecosystem matures and provide a safe way to use the work of other people.

We’ve expressed our concerns in a discussion, if you wish to join.

Enforcing better security by design

Next Right Now hasn’t yet decided what to do about the above-explained security issues.

We’re considering a few action plans to limit risks associated with using external actions:

  1. Forking all actions used by NRN to cover against catastrophic repository-deleted cases.
    • Very unlikely to happen, but very critical if it does, if no backup exist.
    • Might be complicated to keep the fork up-to-date automatically, and must not automatically change existing refs either (especially tags, which should be considered as “immutable”)
  2. Using a tool that automatically runs upon committing changes and enforce only SHA are used
  3. Using a GitHub Action to break the workflow if a non-SHA action is found

See #224


Official documentation

Most useful documentation links:

Bash advanced commands

  • jq: JSON parser for bash
  • tr: Bash editor, used to remove characters

Table of contents