Automate deployment via Github actions and Git
At FlexMeasures headquarters, we implemented a specific workflow to automate our deployment. It uses the Github action workflow (see the
.github/workflows directory), which pushes to a remote upstream repository. We use this workflow to build and deploy the project to our staging server.
Documenting this might be useful for self-hosters, as well. The GitHub Actions workflows are triggered by commits being pushed to the repository, but it can also inspire your custom deployment script.
We’ll refer to Github Actions as our “CI environment” and our staging server as the “deployment server”.
lint-and-test.yml, we set up the app, then run the tests and linters. If testing succeeds and if the commit was on the
deploy.ymldeploys the code from the CI environment to the deployment server.
Of course, the CI environment needs to properly authenticate at the deployment server.
With the hooks functionality of Git, a post-receive script can then (re-)start the FlexMeasures app on the deployment server.
Let’s review these three steps in detail:
Using git to deploy code (remote upstream)
We support deployment of the FlexMeasures project on a staging server via Git checkout.
The deployment uses git’s ability to push code to a remote upstream repository. This repository needs to be installed on your staging server.
We trigger this deployment in
deploy.yml and it’s being done in
DEPLOY.sh. There, we add the remote and then push the current branch to it.
We thus need to tell the deployment environment two things:
Add the setting
STAGING_REMOTE_REPOas an environment variable on the CI environment (e.g.
deploy.ymlexpects it in the Github repository secrets). An example value is
firstname.lastname@example.org:/home/seita/flexmeasures-staging/flexmeasures.git. So in this case,
ssh.our-server.comis the deployment server, which we’ll also use below. seita needs to become your ssh username on that server and the rest is the path to where you want to check out the repo.
Make sure the env variable
BRANCH_NAMEis set, e.g. to “main”, so that the CI environment knows what exact code to push to your deployment server.
Authenticate at the deployment server (with an ssh key)
For CI environment and deployment server to interact securely, we of course need to put in place some authentication measures.
First, they need to know each other. Let the deployment server know it’s okay to talk to the CI environment, by adding an entry to
~/.ssh/known_hosts. Similarly, you might need to let the CI environment know it’s okay to talk to the deployment server (e.g. in our Github Actions config,
deploy.yml expects this entry in the Github repository secrets as
You can create these entries with
ssh-keyscan -t rsa <your host>, where host might be github.com or ssh.our-server.com (see above).
Second, the CI environment needs to authenticate at the deployment server using an SSH key pair.
ssh-keygen to create one, using no password.
Add the private part of this ssh key pair to the CI environment, so that the deployment server can accept the pushed code. (e.g. as
deploy.yml, we expect it as the secret
SSH_DEPLOYMENT_KEY, which adds the key for us.
Finally, the public part of the key pair should be in
~/.ssh/authorized_keyson your deployment server.
(Re-)start FlexMeasures on the deployment server (install Post-Receive Hook)
Only pushing the code will not actually deploy the updated FlexMeasures into a usable web app on the deployment server. For this, we need to trigger a script.
Log on to the deployment server (via SSH) and install a script to (re-)start FlexMeasures as a Git Post Receive Hook in the remote repo where we deployed the code (see above). This hook will be triggered whenever a push is received from the deployment environment.
The example script below can be a Post Receive Hook (save as
hooks/post-receive in your remote origin repo and update paths).
It will force a checkout of the main branch into our working directory, update dependencies, upgrade the database structure and finally touch the wsgi.py file.
Note that we are not installing FlexMeasures itself (that would require
make install-flexmeasures, which essentially is
python setup.py develop), as that is not needed for our base requirement here: to run this checked-out code with a web server that uses a WSGI file to define the app. Running CLI commands will not work without installation. Also, installing FlexMeasures requires a version, which is gotten from the git status (via setuptool_scm). We are working on a checked-out copy of the git code here without git meta information, so installing would fail anyways.
The last step, touching a wsgi.py file, is often used as a way to soft-restart the running application ― here you need to adapt to your circumstances.
echo "CHECKING OUT CODE TO GIT WORK TREE ($PATH_TO_GIT_WORK_TREE) ..."
GIT_WORK_TREE=$PATH_TO_GIT_WORK_TREE git checkout -f
echo "INSTALLING DEPENDENCIES ..."
echo "UPGRADING DATABASE STRUCTURE ..."
echo "RESTARTING APPLICATION ..."
A WSGI file can do various things, as well, but the simplest form is shown below.
from flexmeasures.app import create as create_app
application = create_app()
The web server is told about the WSGI script, but also about the object which represents the application. For instance, if this script is called
wsgi.py, then the relevant argument to the gunicorn server is