edit on github

Deploy to GitHub pages from Travis CI

Imagine that you have open-source project, which site is hosting on github pages and you have "edit on github" button on this site. It’s great, because if you are lucky, you will get few pull-requests every week. On the other side you will need laptop every time, you want to deploy changes and, you know, it’s a bit annoying.

In this article will show how travis can help you with deploying your project’s site. I’ll not teach you how to build your site or how to use travis, I’m assuming, that you already have build step and deploy steps, which are working properly on your machine, and you know Travis CI basics.

First of all, you will discover that Travis has no support for github pages deployment. Okay. But we have deploy step, which are working fine, let’s try it. Unfortunately it will not work this way. For understanding this, why this happening, we need some travis intro.

Travis will clone your repository, then test, build and deploy. And there are some pitfalls in the way Travis clone projects. First of all, travis doing it by git protocol and this protocol only for cloning (not pushing). Second problem is that Travis CI have no permissions to push anything to your repos. Let’s fix it. Also, travis cannot commit anything because of non-configured git environment, but it’s a minor problem.

Travis CI

Deploying

Basically deploy step is pretty simple: commit build folder in another branch, and push it. Why it works on your machine and will not work on Travis? It is because you have configured git and proper permissions on your machine.

git environment

Let’s configure git on travis first. By this I mean, you need to provide credentials with with travis will commit build folder.

git config --global user.email "[email protected]"
git config --global user.name "your name"

Add this lines to before_script section of your .travis.yml.

Fixing git protocol in remote

This part is easy, we need to switch original origin remote with new appropriate one.

git remote rm origin
git remote add origin https://github.com/user/repo.git

Yep, Add this lines to before_script section of your .travis.yml too.

Permission to push

It’s a tricky part, you need find out a secure way to pass your github credentials to travis. God bless GitHub—you can get your access token from GitHub access token page.

Personal access tokens function like ordinary OAuth access tokens. They can be used instead of a password for Git over HTTPS, or can be used to authenticate to the API over Basic Authentication.
from the tokens page

Ok, you have your credential, but storing them in plaintext is bad idea, and you need more secure way to use it. God bless Travis—you can use travis gem to encrypt github token and it to your travis config.

gem install travis
travis encrypt GH_TOKEN="github-token" --add

After this step you will find new lines in your travis config:

env:
  global:
    secure: "encrypted-github-token"

Now you need to use this token in origin remote. It’s simple:

https://user:[email protected]/user/repo.git

Other pitfalls

Failed builds for deployed branch

Once you deploy something travis will try to run tests there and will fail, because there is no travis config there. Go to settings and turn on "Build only if .travis.yml is present" option or you can also copy travis config to build folder, but I don’t like it.

travis options

You will face this problem only if your "deploy" branch differs from gh-pages, e.g. you want to build site for your github user (repo user.github.io), in this case you need to push to master branch, unlike gh-pages branch in most cases, which is already ignored by travis.

Commits in branches will also be deployed

Yep, all the branches except deployed have .travis.yml. This issue can be easily resolved with branches whitelisting.

branches:
  only:
    - your-branch

Final solution

It’s all about .travis.yml. It should look like this in the end:

branches:
  only:
    - your-branch
before_script:
  - git config --global user.email "[email protected]"
  - git config --global user.name "your name"
  - git remote rm origin
  - git remote add origin https://user:[email protected]/user/repo.git
script: npm run deploy
env:
  global:
    secure: encrypted-github-token

Relax and take a beer—travis will be deploying for you!

Spend time on creating stuff, not deploying,
your Vladimir Starkov