GitHub is currently being acquired by Microsoft. The company is adding to its arsenal of offerings and is now launching a brand new capability that will let developers run their code alongside hosting it on its platform. The addition of Actions is expected to drastically improve the usability of the GitHub platform for developers and let them automate their workflows.

Actions will basically let developers create an action inside a container that will let them augment and connect their workflow. This will also tie-in nicely with the CI/CD approach that companies are taking to app development.

According to GitHub:

Easily build, package, release, update, and deploy your project in any language—on GitHub or any external system—without having to run code yourself.

Some example use cases that developers can put the feature to includes sending a text message through Twilio every time someone uses a particular tag in your repository, or searching your repository with a basic grep command. With this launch, developers can easily turn any code in the repository into an Action by simply writing a Docker file for it.

Labeling Actions as “the biggest shift in the history of GitHub”, Sam Lambert, GitHub’s head of platform told TechCrunch:

Imagine an infinitely more flexible version of shortcut, hosted on GitHub and designed to allow anyone to create an action inside a container to augment and connect their workflow.

He also said that while CI/CD will be one of the use cases for Actions, it will not be the only use case, nor the most important. Stressing the important of this launch for DevOps, Lambert said:

I think it’s going to revolutionize DevOps because people are now going to build best in breed deployment workflows for specific applications and frameworks, and those become the de facto standard shared on GitHub. […] It’s going to do everything we did for open source again for the DevOps space and for all those different parts of that workflow ecosystem.

Actions is currently in in limited public beta however, you can expect a public launch soon. While GitHub will start off by making certain actions available to developers, and allowing others to create and contribute their own actions, eventually Actions could also expand to the GitHub marketplace — where developers could create new revenue streams by creating and selling actions and workflows of their own. For now though, the launch of Actions is certain to increase GitHub’s usability for developers, DevOps engineers, and CI/CD proponents.

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