Deep Dive: Moving ruby projects from Travis to Github Actions for CI

So this is one of my super wordy posts, if that’s not your thing abort now, but some people like them. We’ll start with a bit of context, then get to some detailed looks at Github Actions features I used to replace my travis builds, with example config files and examination of options available.

For me, by “Continuous Integration” (CI), I mostly mean “Running automated tests automatically, on your code repo, as you develop”, on every PR and sometimes with scheduled runs. Other people may mean more expansive things by “CI”.

For a lot of us, our first experience with CI was when Travis-ci started to become well-known, maybe 8 years ago or so. Travis was free for open source, and so darn easy to set up and use — especially for Rails projects, it was a time when it still felt like most services focused on docs and smooth fit for ruby and Rails specifically. I had heard of doing CI, but as a developer in a very small and non-profit shop, I want to spend time writing code not setting up infrastructure, and would have had to get any for-cost service approved up the chain from our limited budget. But it felt like I could almost just flip a switch and have Travis on ruby or rails projects working — and for free!

Free for open source wasn’t entirely selfless, I think it’s part of what helped Travis literally define the market. (Btw, I think they were the first to invent the idea of a “badge” URL for a github readme?) Along with an amazing Developer UX (which is today still a paragon), it just gave you no reason not to use it. And then once using it, it started to seem insane to not have CI testing, nobody would ever again want to develop software without the build status on every PR before merge.

Travis really set a high bar for ease of use in a developer tool, you didn’t need to think about it much, it just did what you needed, and told you what you needed to know in it’s read-outs. I think it’s an impressive engineering product. But then.

End of an era

Travis will no longer be supporting open source projects with free CI.

The free open source travis projects originally ran on travis-ci.org, with paid commercial projects on travis-ci.com. In May 2018, they announced they’d be unifying these on travis-ci.com only, but with no announced plan that the policy for free open source would change. This migration seemed to proceed very slowly though.

Perhaps because it was part of preparing the company for a sale, in Jan 2019 it was announced private equity firm Idera had bought travis. At the time the announcement said “We will continue to maintain a free, hosted service for open source projects,” but knowing what “private equity” usually means, some were concerned for the future. (HN discussion).

While the FAQ on the migration to travis-ci.com still says that travis-ci.org should remain reliable until projects are fully migrated, in fact over the past few months travis-ci.org projects largely stopped building, as travis apparently significantly reduced resources on the platform. Some people began manually migrating their free open source projects to travis-ci.com where builds still worked. But, while the FAQ also still says “Will Travis CI be getting rid of free users? Travis CI will continue to offer a free tier for public or open-source repositories on travis-ci.com” — in fact, travis announced that they are ending the free service for open source. The “free tier” is a limited trial (available not just to open source), and when it expires, you can pay, or apply to a special program for an extension, over and over again.

They are contradicting themselves enough that while I’m not sure exactly what is going to happen, but no longer trust them as a service.

Enter Github Actions

I work mostly on ruby and Rails projects. They are all open source, almost all of them use travis. So while (once moved to travis-ci.com) they are all currently working, it’s time to start moving them somewhere else, before I have dozens of projects with broken CI and still don’t know how to move them. And the new needs to be free — many of these projects are zero-budget old-school “volunteer” or “informal multi-institutional collaboration” open source.

There might be several other options, but the one I chose is Github Actions — my sense that it had gotten mature enough to start approaching travis level of polish, and all of my projects are github-hosted, and Github Actions is free for unlimited use for open source. (pricing page; Aug 2019 announcement of free for open source). And we are really fortunate that it became mature and stable in time for travis to withdraw open source support (if travis had been a year earlier, we’d be in trouble).

Github Actions is really powerful. It is built to do probably WAY MORE than travis does, definitely way beyond “automated testing” to various flows for deployment and artifact release, to really just about any kind of process for managing your project you want. The logic you can write almost unlimited, all running on github’s machines.

As a result though…. I found it a bit overwhelming to get started. The Github Actions docs are just overwhelmingly abstract, there is so much there, you can almost anything — but I don’t actually want to learn a new platform, I just want to get automated test CI for my ruby project working! There are some language/project speccific Guides available, for node.js, python, a few different Java setups — but not for ruby or Rails! My how Rails has fallen, from when most services like this would be focusing on Rails use cases first. :(

There are some third part guides available that might focus on ruby/rails, but one of the problems is that Actions has been evolving for a few years with some pivots, so it’s easy to find outdated instructions. One I found helpful orientation was this Drifting Ruby screencast. This screencast showed me there is a kind of limited web UI with integrated docs searcher — but i didn’t end up using it, I just created the text config file by hand, same as I would have for travis. Github provides templates for “ruby” or “ruby gem”, but the Drifting Ruby sccreencast said “these won’t really work for our ruby on rails application so we’ll have to set up one manually”, so that’s what I did too. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

But the cost of all the power github Actions provides is… there are a lot more switches and dials to understand and get right (and maintain over time and across multiple projects). I’m not someone who likes copy-paste without understanding it, so I spent some time trying to understand the relevant options and alternatives; in the process I found some things I might have otherwise copy-pasted from other people’s examples that could be improved. So I give you the results of my investigations, to hopefully save you some time, if wordy comprehensive reports are up your alley.

A Simple Test Workflow: ruby gem, test with multiple ruby versions

Here’s a file for a fairly simple test workflow. You can see it’s in the repo at .github/workflows. The name of the file doesn’t matter — while this one is called ruby.yml, i’ve since moved over to naming the file to match the name: key in the workflow for easier traceability, so I would have called it ci.yml instead.

Triggers

You can see we say that this workflow should be run on any push to master branch, and also for any pull_request at all. Many other examples I’ve seen define pull_request: branches: ["main"], which seems to mean only run on Pull Requests with main as the base. While that’s most of my PR’s, if there is ever a PR that uses another branch as a base for whatever reason, I still want to run CI! While hypothetically you should be able leave branches out to mean “any branch”, I only got it to work by explicitly saying branches: ["**"]

Matrix

For this gem, we want to run CI on multiple ruby versions. You can see we define them here. This works similarly to travis matrixes. If you have more than one matrix variable defined, the workflow will run for every combination of variables (hence the name “matrix”).

      matrix:
        ruby: [ '2.4.4', '2.5.1', '2.6.1', '2.7.0', 'jruby-9.1.17.0', 'jruby-9.2.9.0' ]

In a given run, the current value of the matrix variables is available in github actions “context”, which you can acccess as eg ${{ matrix.ruby }}. You can see how I use that in the name, so that the job will show up with it’s ruby version in it.

    name: Ruby ${{ matrix.ruby }}

Ruby install

While Github itself provides an action for ruby install, it seems most people are using this third-party action. Which we reference as `ruby/setup-ruby@v1`.

You can see we use the matrix.ruby context to tell the setup-ruby action what version of ruby to install, which works because our matrix values are the correct values recognized by the action. Which are documented in the README, but note that values like jruby-head are also supported.

Note, although it isn’t clearly documented, you can say 2.4 to mean “latest available 2.4.x” (rather than it meaning “2.4.0”), which is hugely useful, and I’ve switched to doing that. I don’t believe that was available via travis/rvm ruby install feature.

For a project that isn’t testing under multiple rubies, if we left out the with: ruby-version, the action will conveniently use a .ruby-version file present in the repo.

Note you don’t need to put a gem install bundler into your workflow yourself, while I’m not sure it’s clearly documented, I found the ruby/setup-ruby action would do this for you (installing the latest available bundler, instead of using whatever was packaged with ruby version), btw regardless of whether you are using the bundler-cache feature (see below).

Note on How Matrix Jobs Show Up to Github

With travis, testing for multiple ruby or rails versions with a matrix, we got one (or, well, actually two) jobs showing up on the Github PR:

Each of those lines summaries a collection of matrix jobs (eg different ruby versions). If any of the individual jobs without the matrix failed, the whole build would show up as failed. Success or failure, you could click on “Details” to see each job and it’s status:

I thought this worked pretty well — especially for “green” builds I really don’t need to see the details on the PR, the summary is great, and if I want to see the details I can click through, great.

With Github Actions, each matrix job shows up directly on the PR. If you have a large matrix, it can be… a lot. Some of my projects have way more than 6. On PR:

Maybe it’s just because I was used to it, but I preferred the Travis way. (This also makes me think maybe I should change the name key in my workflow to say eg CI: Ruby 2.4.4 to be more clear? Oops, tried that, it just looks even weirder in other GH contexts, not sure.)

Oh, also, that travis way of doing the build twice, once for “pr” and once for “push”? Github Actions doesn’t seem to do that, it just does one, I think corresponding to travis “push”. While the travis feature seemed technically smart, I’m not sure I ever actually saw one of these builds pass while the other failed in any of my projects, I probably won’t miss it.

Badge

Did you have a README badge for travis? Don’t forget to swap it for equivalent in Github Actions.

The image url looks like: https://github.com/$OWNER/$REPOSITORY/workflows/$WORKFLOW_NAME/badge.svg?branch=master, where $WORKFLOW_NAME of course has to be URL-escaped if it ocntains spaces etc.

The github page at https://github.com/owner/repo/actions, if you select a particular workflow/branch, does, like travis, give you a badge URL/markdown you can copy/paste if you click on the three-dots and then “Create status badge”. Unlike travis, what it gives you to copy/paste is just image markdown, it doesn’t include a link.

But I definitely want the badge to link to viewing the results of the last build in the UI. So I do it manually. Limit to the speciifc workflow and branch that you made the badge for in the UI then just copy and paste the URL from the browser. A bit confusing markdown to construct manually, here’s what it ended up looking like for me:

I copy and paste that from an existing project when I need it in a new one. :shrug:

Require CI to merge PR?

However, that difference in how jobs show up to Github, the way each matrix job shows up separately now, has an even more negative impact on requiring CI success to merge a PR.

If you want to require that CI passes before merging a PR, you configure that at https://github.com/acct/project/settings/branches under “Branch protection rules”.When you click “Add Rule”, you can/must choose WHICH jobs are “required”.

For travis, that’d be those two “master” jobs, but for the new system, every matrix job shows up separately — in fact, if you’ve been messing with job names trying to get it right as I have, you have any job name that was ever used in the last 7 days, and they don’t have the Github workflow name appended to them or anything (another reason to put github workflow name in the job name?).

But the really problematic part is that if you edit your list of jobs in the matrix — adding or removing ruby versions as one does, or even just changing the name that shows up for a job — you have to go back to this screen to add or remove jobs as a “required status check”.

That seems really unworkable to me, I’m not sure how it hasn’t been a major problem already for users. It would be better if we could configure “all the checks in the WORKFLOW, whatever they may be”, or perhaps best of all if we could configure a check as required in the workflow YML file, the same place we’re defining it, just a required_before_merge key you could set to true or use a matrix context to define or whatever.

I’m currently not requiring status checks for merge on most of my projects (even though i did with travis), because I was finding it unmanageable to keep the job names sync’d, especially as I get used to Github Actions and kept tweaking things in a way that would change job names. So that’s a bit annoying.

fail_fast: false

By default, if one of the matrix jobs fails, Github Acitons will cancel all remaining jobs, not bother to run them at all. After all, you know the build is going to fail if one job fails, what do you need those others for?

Well, for my use case, it is pretty annoying to be told, say, “Job for ruby 2.7.0 failed, we can’t tell you whether the other ruby versions would have passed or failed or not” — the first thing I want to know is if failed on all ruby versions or just 2.7.0, so now I’d have to spend extra time figuring that out manually? No thanks.

So I set `fail_fast: false` on all of my workflows, to disable this behavior.

Note that travis had a similar (opt-in) fast_finish feature, which worked subtly different: Travis would report failure to Github on first failure (and notify, I think), but would actually keep running all jobs. So when I saw a failure, I could click through to ‘details’ to see which (eg) ruby versions passed, from the whole matrix. This does work for me, so I’d chose to opt-in to that travis feature. Unfortunately, the Github Actions subtle difference in effect makes it not desirable to me.

Note You may see some people referencing a Github Actions continue-on-error feature. I found the docs confusing, but after experimentation what this really does is mark a job as successful even when it fails. It shows up in all GH UI as succeeeded even when it failed, the only way to know it failed would be to click through to the actual build log to see failure in the logged console. I think “continue on error” is a weird name for this; it is not useful to me with regard to fine-tuning fail-fast; or honestly in any other use case I can think of that I have.

Bundle cache?

bundle install can take 60+ seconds, and be a significant drag on your build (not to mention a lot of load on rubygems servers from all these builds). So when travis introduced a feature to cache: bundler: true, it was very popular.

True to form, Github Actions gives you a generic caching feature you can try to configure for your particular case (npm, bundler, whatever), instead of an out of the box feature “just do the right thing you for bundler, you figure it out”.

The ruby/setup-ruby third-party action has a built-in feature to cache bundler installs for you, but I found that it does not work right if you do not have a Gemfile.lock checked into the repo. (Ie, for most any gem, rather than app, project). It will end up re-using cached dependencies even if there are new releases of some of your dependencies, which is a big problem for how I use CI for a gem — I expect it to always be building with latest releases of dependencies, so I can find out of one breaks the build. This may get fixed in the action.

If you have an app (rather than gem) with a Gemfile.lock checked into repo, the bundler-cache: true feature should be just fine.

Otherwise, Github has some suggestions for using the generic cache feature for ruby bundler (search for “ruby – bundler” on this page) — but I actually don’t believe they will work right without a Gemfile.lock checked into the repo either.

Starting from that example, and using the restore-keys feature, I think it should be possible to design a use that works much like travis’s bundler cache did, and works fine without a checked-in Gemfile.lock. We’d want it to use a cache from the most recent previous (similar job), and then run bundle install anyway, and then cache the results again at the end always to be available for the next run.

But I haven’t had time to work that out, so for now my gem builds are simply not using bundler caching. (my gem builds tend to take around 60 seconds to do a bundle install, so that’s in every build now, could be worse).

update nov 27: The ruby/ruby-setup action should be fixed to properly cache-bust when you don’t have a Gemfile.lock checked in. If you are using a matrix for ruby version, as below, you must set the ruby version by setting the BUNDLE_GEMFILE env variable rather than the way we did it below, and there is is a certain way Github Action requires/provides you do that, it’s not just export. See the issue in ruby/ruby-setup project.

Notifications: Not great

Travis has really nice defaults for notifications: The person submitting the PR would get an email generally only on status changes (from pass to fail or fail to pass) rather than on every build. And travis would even figure out what email to send to based on what email you used in your git commits. (Originally perhaps a workaround to lack of Github API at travis’ origin, I found it a nice feature). And then travis has sophisticated notification customization available on a per-repo basis.

Github notifications are unfortunately much more basic and limited. The only notification settings avaialable are for your entire account at https://github.com/settings/notifications, “GitHub Actions”. So they apply to all github workflows in all projects, there are no workflow- or project-specific settings. You can set to receive notification via web push or email or both or neither. You can receive notifications for all builds or only failed builds. That’s it.

The author of a PR is the one who receives the notifications, same as in travis. You will get notifications for every single build, even repeated successes or failures in a series.

I’m not super happy with the notification options. I may end up just turning off Github Actions notifications entirely for my account.

Hypothetically, someone could probably write a custom Github action to give you notifications exactly how travis offered — after all, travis was using public GH API that should be available to any other author, and I think should be usable from within an action. But when I started to think through it, while it seemed an interesting project, I realized it was definitely beyond the “spare hobby time” I was inclined to give to it at present, especially not being much of a JS developer (the language of custom GH actions, generally). (While you can list third-party actions on the github “marketplace”, I don’t think there’s a way to charge for them). .

There are custom third-party actions available to do things like notify slack for build completion; I haven’t looked too much into any of them, beyond seeing that I didn’t see any that would be “like travis defaults”.

A more complicated gem: postgres, and Rails matrix

Let’s move to a different example workflow file, in a different gem. You can see I called this one ci.yml, matching it’s name: CI, to have less friction for a developer (including future me) trying to figure out what’s going on.

This gem does have rails as a dependency and does test against it, but isn’t actually a Rails engine as it happens. It also needs to test against Postgres, not just sqlite3.

Scheduled Builds

At one point travis introduced a feature for scheduling (eg) weekly builds even when no PR/commit had been made. I enthusiastically adopted this for my gem projects. Why?

Gem releases are meant to work on a variety of different ruby versions and different exact versions of dependencies (including Rails). Sometimes a new release of ruby or rails will break the build, and you want to know about that and fix it. With CI builds happening only on new code, you find out about this with some random new code that is unlikely to be related to the failure; and you only find out about it on the next “new code” that triggers a build after a dependency release, which on some mature and stable gems could be a long time after the actual dependency release that broke it.

So scheduled builds for gems! (I have no purpose for scheduled test runs on apps).

Github Actions does have this feature. Hooray. One problem is that you will receive no notification of the result of the scheduled build, success or failure. :( I suppose you could include a third-party action to notify a fixed email address or Slack or something else; not sure how you’d configure that to apply only to the scheduled builds and not the commit/PR-triggered builds if that’s what you wanted. (Or make an custom action to file a GH issue on failure??? But make sure it doesn’t spam you with issues on repeated failures). I haven’t had the time to investigate this yet.

Also oops just noticed this: “In a public repository, scheduled workflows are automatically disabled when no repository activity has occurred in 60 days.” Which poses some challenges for relying on scheduled builds to make sure a stable slow-moving gem isn’t broken by dependency updates. I definitely am committer on gems that are still in wide use and can go 6-12+ months without a commit, because they are mature/done.

I still have it configured in my workflow; I guess even without notifications it will effect the “badge” on the README, and… maybe i’ll notice? Very far from ideal, work in progress. :(

Rails Matrix

OK, this one needs to test against various ruby versions AND various Rails versions. A while ago I realized that an actual matrix of every ruby combined with every rails was far too many builds. Fortunately, Github Actions supports the same kind of matrix/include syntax as travis, which I use.

     matrix:
        include:
          - gemfile: rails_5_0
            ruby: 2.4

          - gemfile: rails_6_0
            ruby: 2.7

I use the appraisal gem to handle setting up testing under multiple rails versions, which I highly recommend. You could use it for testing variant versions of any dependencies, I use it mostly for varying Rails. Appraisal results in a separate Gemfile committed to your repo for each (in my case) rails version, eg ./gemfiles/rails_5_0.gemfile. So those values I use for my gemfile matrix key are actually portions of the Gemfile path I’m going to want to use for each job.

Then we just need to tell bundler, in a given matrix job, to use the gemfile we specified in the matrix. The old-school way to do this is with the BUNDLE_GEMFILE environmental variable, but I found it error-prone to make sure it stayed consistently set in each workflow step. I found that the newer (although not that new!) bundle config set gemfile worked swimmingly! I just set it before the bundle install, it stays set for the rest of the run including the actual test run.

steps:
    # [...]
    - name: Bundle install
      run: |
        bundle config set gemfile "${GITHUB_WORKSPACE}/gemfiles/${{ matrix.gemfile }}.gemfile"
        bundle install --jobs 4 --retry 3

Note that single braces are used for ordinary bash syntax to reference the ENV variable ${GITHUB_WORKSPACE}, but double braces for the github actions context value interpolation ${{ matrix.gemfile }}.

Works great! Oh, note how we set the name of the job to include both ruby and rails matrix values, important for it showing up legibly in Github UI: name: ${{ matrix.gemfile }}, ruby ${{ matrix.ruby }}. Because of how we constructed our gemfile matrix, that shows up with job names rails_5_0, ruby 2.7.

Still not using bundler caching in this workflow. As before, we’re concerned about the ruby/setup-ruby built-in bundler-cache feature not working as desired without a Gemfile.lock in the repo. This time, I’m also not sure how to get that feature to play nicely with the variant gemfiles and bundle config set gemfile. Github Actions makes you put together a lot more pieces together yourself compared to travis, there are still things I just postponed figuring out for now.

Postgres

This project needs to build against a real postgres. That is relatively easy to set up in Github Actions.

Postgres normally by default allows connections on localhost without a username/password set, and my past builds (in travis or locally) took advantage of this to not bother setting one, which then the app didn’t have to know about. But the postgres image used for Github Actions doesn’t allow this, you have to set a username/password. So the section of the workflow that sets up postgres looks like:

jobs:
   tests:
     services:
       db:
         image: postgres:9.4
         env:
           POSTGRES_USER: postgres
           POSTGRES_PASSWORD: postgres
         ports: ['5432:5432']

5432 is the default postgres port, we need to set it and map it so it will be available as expected. Note you also can specify whatever version of postgres you want, this one is intentionally testing on one a bit old.

OK now our Rails app that will be executed under rspec needs to know that username and password to use in it’s postgres connection; when before it connected without a username/password. That env under the postgres service image is not actually available to the job steps. I didn’t find any way to DRY the username/password in one place, I had to repeat it in another env block, which I put at the top level of the workflow so it would apply to all steps.

And then I had to alter my database.yml to use those ENV variables, in the test environment. On a local dev machine, if your postgres doens’t have a username/password requirement and you don’t set the ENV variables, it keeps working as before.

I also needed to add host: localhost to the database.yml; before, the absence of the host key meant it used a unix-domain socket (filesystem-located) to connect to postgres, but that won’t work in the Github Actions containerized environment.

Note, there are things you might see in other examples that I don’t believe you need:

  • No need for an apt-get of pg dev libraries. I think everything you need is on the default GH Actions images now.
  • Some examples I’ve seen do a thing with options: --health-cmd pg_isready, my builds seem to be working just fine without it, and less code is less code to maintain.

allow_failures

In travis, I took advantage of the travis allow_failures key in most of my gems.

Why? I am testing against various ruby and Rails versions; I want to test against *future* (pre-release, edge) ruby and rails versions, cause its useful to know if I’m already with no effort passing on them, and I’d like to keep passing on them — but I don’t want to mandate it, or prevent PR merges if the build fails on a pre-release dependency. (After all, it could very well be a bug in the dependency too!)

There is no great equivalent to allow_failures in Github Actions. (Note again, continue_on_error just makes failed jobs look identical to successful jobs, and isn’t very helpful here).

I investigated some alternatives, which I may go into more detail on in a future post, but on one project I am trying a separate workflow just for “future ruby/rails allowed failures” which only checks master commits (not PRs), and has a separate badge on README (which is actually pretty nice for advertising to potential users “Yeah, we ALREADY work on rails edge/6.1.rc1!”). Main downside there is having to copy/paste synchronize what’s really the same workflow in two files.

A Rails app

I have many more number of projects I’m a committer on that are gems, but I spend more of my time on apps, one app in specific.

So here’s an example Github Actions CI workflow for a Rails app.

It mostly remixes the features we’ve already seen. It doesn’t need any matrix. It does need a postgres.

It does need some “OS-level” dependencies — the app does some shell-out to media utilities like vips and ffmpeg, and there are integration tests that utilize this. Easy enough to just install those with apt-get, works swimmingly.

        - name: Install apt dependencies
          run: |
            sudo apt-get -y install libvips-tools ffmpeg mediainfo

Update 25 Nov: My apt-get that worked for a couple weeks started failing for some reason on trying to install a libpulse0 dependency of one of those packages, the solution was doing a sudo apt-get update before the sudo apt-get install. I guess this is always good practice? (That forum post also uses apt install and apt update instead of apt-get install and apt-get update, that I can’t tell you much about, I’m really not a linux admin).

In addition to the bundle install, a modern Rails app using webpacker needs yarn install. This just worked for me — no need to include lines for installing npm itself or yarn or any yarn dependencies, although some examples I find online have them. (My yarn installs seem to happen in ~20 seconds, so I’m not motivated to try to figure out caching for yarn).

And we need to create the test database in the postgres, which I do with RAILS_ENV=test bundle exec rails db:create — typical Rails test setup will then automatically run migrations if needed. There might be other (better?) ways to prep the database, but I was having trouble getting rake db:prepare to work, and didn’t spend the time to debug it, just went with something that worked.

    - name: Set up app
       run: |
         RAILS_ENV=test bundle exec rails db:create
         yarn install

Rails test setup usually ends up running migrations automatically is why I think this worked alone, but you could also throw in a RAILS_ENV=test bundle exec rake db:schema:load if you wanted.

Under travis I had to install chrome with addons: chrome: stable to have it available to use with capybara via the webdrivers gem. No need for installing chrome in Github Actions, some (recent-ish?) version of it is already there as part of the standard Github Actions build image.

In this workflow, you can also see a custom use of the github “cache” action to cache a Solr install that the test setup automatically downloads and sets up. In this case the cache doesn’t actually save us any build time, but is kinder on the apache foundation servers we are downloading from with every build otherwise (and have gotten throttled from in the past).

Conclusion

Github Aciton sis a really impressively powerful product. And it’s totally going to work to replace travis for me.

It’s also probably going to take more of my time to maintain. The trade-off of more power/flexibility and focusing on almost limitless use cases is more things th eindividual project has to get right for their use case. For instance figuring out the right configuration to get caching for bundler or yarn right, instead of just writing cache: { yarn: true, bundler: true}. And when you have to figure it out yourself, you can get it wrong, which when you are working on many projects at once means you have a bunch of places to fix.

The amazingness of third-party action “marketplace” means you have to figure out the right action to use (the third-party ruby/setup-ruby instead of the vendor’s actions/setup-ruby), and again if you change your mind about that you have a bunch of projects to update.

Anyway, it is what it is — and I’m grateful to have such a powerful and in fact relatively easy to use service available for free! I could not really live without CI anymore, and won’t have to!

Oh, and Github Actions is giving me way more (free) simultaneous parallel workers than travis ever did, for my many-job builds!

3 thoughts on “Deep Dive: Moving ruby projects from Travis to Github Actions for CI

  1. Thank you for writing this!
    It would be great to update the blog post based on recent fixes in ruby/setup-ruby, since all this Gemfile and bundler-cache stuff is solved now.

  2. Added: update nov 27: The ruby/ruby-setup action should be fixed to properly cache-bust when you don’t have a Gemfile.lock checked in. If you are using a matrix for ruby version, as below, you must set the ruby version by setting the BUNDLE_GEMFILE env variable rather than the way we did it below, and there is is a certain way Github Action requires/provides you do that, it’s not just export. See the GH Issue in ruby/ruby-setup.

    (I still think ruby/ruby-setup could use some more docs on the matrix issue; testing under multiple ruby versions is standard in CI for most gems I’ve seen. I’ll see if i can find time to PR).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s