GitHub Actions

The following sections describe the tasks you need to complete to set up a CI/CD process for a Python project with GitHub, GitHub Actions, and the ActiveState Platform. For information specific to Perl, see the blog post.

Gathering environment variable settings

Before you begin:

  • You need an ActiveState Platform account. If you do not currently have an account you can sign up for free at:
  • You need to have the State Tool installed on your computer, and authorized with the Platform using the state auth command, in order to run the command to retrieve the API key, and to access your private.key file if you are using secrets.

The State Tool will use the following environment variables if they are defined:

  • ACTIVESTATE_API_KEY: This API key is used to authenticate the State Tool with the ActiveState Platform, as required, to download language projects, update packages, etc. If you use ActiveState Platform secrets in your build process or scripts run by the build process, you must also configure the ACTIVESTATE_PRIVATE_KEY.
  • ACTIVESTATE_PRIVATE_KEY: Optional. The private key to use for decrypting secrets.

Obtaining your API Key

You can obtain an API key by opening a command prompt and running the following State Tool command:

state export new-api-key APIKeyForCI

Example response:

Note that this key is not stored by ActiveState. Please store the value for later use as you cannot retrieve it again.

In this example, you would copy the token value on the second line to use as the ACTIVESTATE_API_KEY environment variable in your CI/CD application.

Obtaining your Private Key

You can find the private key value at <configdir>/activestate/cli-release/private.key.

The configdir varies per platform, but in most cases will be at one of:

  • Windows: %HOME%\AppData\Roaming\activestate\cli-release\
  • Linux: ~/config/activestate/cli-release/
  • macOS: ~/Library/Application\ Support/activestate/cli-release/

The private key environment variable expects the contents of the private.key file, not the filepath.

GitHub setup

  1. Sign in to GitHub and navigate to the repository where you want to add the GitHub Action.
  2. Click Settings.
  3. Click Secrets and then click Add a new secret.
  4. In the Secrets page, click Add a new secret enter the name and value for each environment variable and click Add secret. For information on the required values, see Obtaining your API key and, if applicable, Obtaining your private key.

The ACTIVESTATE_API_KEY is used to authenticate the State Tool automatically whenever required by the CI/CD build steps.

GitHub Action Secrets

If you’re adding the ACTIVESTATE_PRIVATE_KEY environment variable, you need to open the private.key file and copy the contents.


ActiveState Platform project setup

You can use either the Dashboard or the State Tool to create a new project and add the language, platforms, and packages your project requires. Set up your project by:

Configure activestate.yaml

After you create an ActiveState project, complete the following steps to activate your project and add the configuration file to your code repository, so that the CI/CD has access to it.

  1. Open your command prompt and navigate to the top level folder where you want to create your ActiveState Platform project.
  2. Enter state activate <owner/project_name>. For example: state activate acmetech/python-3-6-6.
  3. Copy the activestate.yaml configuration file to the root directory of your code repository.
  4. Edit the activestate.yaml to add any scripts, variables, or secrets you want CI/CD to run or have access to.
  5. Add activestate.yaml to the repository and check in your changes.

GitHub Action setup

  1. Click the Actions tab.

  2. Click Set up a workflow yourself. Setup a workflow yourself

  3. Replace the default script with State Tool specific configuration settings. The following example demonstrates how to install the State Tool on both Linux and Windows, and how to run scripts for linting the code and for tests using the State Tool.

    # This is a basic workflow to help you get started with GitHub CI using ActivePython
    name: ActivePython application on GitHub CI
    # Setting up Cache directory and ActiveState Platform API key
      ACTIVESTATE_CLI_CACHEDIR: ${{ github.workspace }}/.cache
    # Controls when the action will run. Triggers the workflow on push events on the default branch 
    on: [push]
    # A CI workflow  is made up of one or more jobs that can run sequentially or in parallel
      # This workflow contains a single job called "build"
        # The type of runner that the job will run on (this one is a matrix build)
        runs-on: ${{ matrix.os }}
            # Building on both Windows and Linux(Ubuntu) simultaneously 
            os: [windows-latest, ubuntu-latest]
        # Checks-out your repository under $GITHUB_WORKSPACE, so your job can access it
        - uses: actions/checkout@v2
        # Installing State Tool on Windows via Powershell 
        - name: Install State Tool (Windows)
          if: matrix.os == 'windows-latest'
          run: |
            (New-Object Net.WebClient).DownloadFile('', 'install.ps1'); 
            Invoke-Expression -Command "$Env:GITHUB_WORKSPACE\install.ps1 -n -t $Env:GITHUB_WORKSPACE"
            echo "::add-path::$Env:GITHUB_WORKSPACE"
        # Installing State Tool on Linux with default shell behavior
        - name: Install State Tool (Linux)
          if: matrix.os != 'windows-latest'
          run: sh <(curl -q -n
        # Checking ActiveState Platform for project updates
        - name: Update project
          run: state pull
        # Caching downloaded build using GitHub CI cache
        - name: Cache state tool cache
          uses: actions/cache@v1
            cache-name: cache-platform-build
            path: ${{ env.ACTIVESTATE_CLI_CACHEDIR }}
            key: ${{ runner.os }}-build-${{ env.cache-name }}-${{ hashFiles('activestate.yaml') }}
            restore-keys: |
              ${{ runner.os }}-build-${{ env.cache-name }}
        # Execute linting of the project on ActivePython
        - name: Lint with flake8
          run: state run lints
        # Running project tests using pytest on ActivePython
        - name: Test with pytest
          run: state run tests

    This setup should work for most Python projects with slight modifications. The YAML elements that could be tweaked include:

    • Update the name setting on line 2 to match your application
    • Update the on setting on line 10 to modify the triggers running the build (including setting the branch)
    • Update the operating systems in the matrix section based on your target OS(es)
    • Replace the last two steps (lint and test) to match the specific script(s) to run for your project. The scripts you add must reference scripts defined in your activestate.yaml file.
  4. Click Start a Commit and commit the Action configuration file to your repository. Each time you push changes to your code repository the CI/CD process install and launch the State Tool activated environment and run the scripts you have specified.

You can view details for each time the workflow runs in GitHub by clicking the Actions tab, selecting the workflow, and then choosing clicking the title of the event to view. The logs for that event are then displayed.

GitHub Actions logs