With the GitHub Pages, the GitHub team has been offering websites specifically for users of this service for almost 15 years. Now it has announced that all sites created in this way will be created and offered with the help of GitHub Actions. GitHub Actions is a platform provided by GitHub where developers can find tools to automate their continuous integration and continuous delivery processes.
From Jekyll to GitHub Pages
The ability to use GitHub Pages to publish web content to a github.com subdomain named after the username was first offered in 2008. The developers at GitHub then released Jekyll, a comprehensive static website generator. Above all, it should be used to enable the creation of more complex websites. As Jekyll grew in popularity, it received many different plugins that offered more possibilities. Eventually, a version of Jekyll appeared that was incompatible with some of the core plugins provided by the GitHub Pages platform.
The Pagesworker, which enabled the creation and deployment of Pages websites, was a system that did not support versioning. This made it impossible to update to new Jekyll versions or add more plugins without impacting users.
To make matters worse, many other website generators have been developed over time. Therefore, users asked more and more often that these should also be supported. By bringing the power of GitHub Actions to the GitHub Pages platform, they should now be able to build their static websites using any framework that exists today or will be developed in the future.
Better customize workflow for publishing
GitHub Pages pages for public repositories have been built and deployed with GitHub Actions since December 2021. The development team at GitHub made some adjustments and improvements to the overall flow. It is now possible to use GitHub Actions for creating and providing private and internal repositories.
In addition, GitHub Actions is supported by a large community with over 14,000 GitHub Actions in the GitHub Marketplace that provide many features and help developers customize their website publishing workflow. For example, they can now have deployments approved before publication or add a build check to prevent erroneous commits from being deployed.
The makers behind GitHub Pages emphasize that users generally don’t need to do anything extra to take advantage of the changes: As with creating GitHub Pages sites with GitHub Actions for public repositories, this change should be completely transparent to them.
However, like any normal workflow, creating and deploying a GitHub Pages site to a private or internal repository consumes GitHub Actions minutes. All GitHub accounts and orgs have a number of GitHub Actions minutes for private repositories, while public repositories have unlimited Actions minutes. If you want to take full advantage of GitHub Actions, you also need to set up a workflow in your repository. More information can be found in the changelog.
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