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InfoQ Homepage News Actionforge is a VS Code Extension to Build GitHub Workflows Visually

Actionforge is a VS Code Extension to Build GitHub Workflows Visually

Actionforge provides a visual, node-based interface to create and maintain GitHub Action workflows masking their underlying YAML textual definition. Packaged as an extension for Visual Studio Code, the tool does not require any external services and is now available in beta.

Actionforge offers a custom node system runtime and a visual interface for GitHub Actions. With a user-friendly drag-and-drop system, you can seamlessly design and implement your development workflows. Simplify automation, enhance productivity.

According to Actionforge creator, using the tool it is possible to create a complex workflow in just minutes, including dependency installation, unit and integration testing, and publishing packages and releases, with a significant advantage in terms of efficiency and developer experience: "Knowing my past experience with traditional workflows, this would have cost me hours and dozens of commits called fix workflow wip".

Actionforge is not just a visual wrapper around GitHub Actions. Indeed, when you create a workflow, Actionforge generates two files: a GitHub Action yaml file defining a plain-vanilla single-step workflow running the Actionforge action, and the action graph itself that is edited using the VS Code extension. This approach makes it possible to go beyond GitHub Action inherent linear structure and to embrace a more flexible paradigm that includes flow nodes like if-conditions, for-loops, and switches.

The tool is architected around several core components, including a graph-runner, which provides a CLI to execute action graphs; a graph-editor, which is Actionforge's most visible part; the GitHub action to read an action graph and start the graph runner; a playground for testing and experimenting; and more.

Actionforge is not able to transpile existing GitHub Actions into action graphs, which would simplify the tool adoption process for organizations that have already built a library of actions. Actionforge creator says there are some challenges and obstacles to that, but they are considering this possibility. Additionally, since the node system underlying Actionforge is platform independent, they are working on a desktop app for action graphs that can be built and executed outside the context of GitHub.

Actionforge is free for non-commercial public GitHub repositories, while commercial and private repositories will be required to pay for its use.

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