Github Actions

Modern software development typically includes some form of continuous integration and delivery. As such, engineering teams have to detect regressions quickly, as new code continuously gets merged into the build. An essential part of regression detection is automated tests.

What are automated tests?

As the name implies, automated tests are tests that run automatically without manual supervision.

What are Github Actions?

Github Actions enable engineering teams to automate specific parts of the software developement workflow within Github. This includes building, testing, or deploying code. For projects stored on Github, creating a workflow via Github Actions is a quick and easy way to do automated testing.

Github Actions can be added to any project by creating YAML files in .github/workflows/, at the root of the project repository. Workflows have a simple, hierarchical structure made up of events, jobs, and steps. For a more in-depth overview, see the official tutorial.

A Basic Workflow for Automated Tests in Rails 6

This is a “starter” workflow for automatically running tests for a Rails 6 project on Github. It does the following:

  1. Triggers the workflow when code is pushed or a pull request is created
  2. Connects a PostgreSQL service container
  3. Pulls in the relevant branch using the checkout community action
  4. Installs Ruby 2.7.x
  5. Installs project dependencies in Gemfile via bundler
  6. Preps the database and runs the tests
name: Test
on: [push, pull_request]
    runs-on: ubuntu-latest
        image: postgres
          POSTGRES_USER: postgres
          POSTGRES_PASSWORD: postgres
          POSTGRES_DB: postgres
        ports: ['5432:5432']
        options: >-
          --health-cmd pg_isready
          --health-interval 10s
          --health-timeout 5s
          --health-retries 5
      - uses: actions/checkout@v1
      - name: Setup Ruby
        uses: actions/setup-ruby@v1
          ruby-version: 2.7.x
      - name: Build and run tests
          PGHOST: localhost
          PGUSER: postgres
          PGPASSWORD: postgres
          DATABASE_URL: postgres://postgres:@localhost:5432/test
          RAILS_ENV: test
          RAILS_MASTER_KEY: $
        run: |
          sudo apt-get -yqq install libpq-dev
          gem install bundler
          bundle install --jobs 4 --retry 3
          yarn install
          bundle exec rails db:prepare
          bundle exec rails test

Most of the workflow configuration file is self-explanatory, but the official documentation does a great job of breaking down the fundamental parts. It’s worth a quick read!

Happy testing!