My First Github Action

Recently I wrote a simple nodejs script to parse YAML front matter in Markdown files, and convert them into JSON. In the spirit of automation, I wanted to find a way to automate running the script.

I have used GitHub Actions a lot, but have never written my own, so I thought this might be a good time to learn. Luckily for me, GitHub has great docs so I didn't really run into many issues.

First, I just took my script and instead of writing to a file, just print out the results. I tried to see if it would run as an action. It did, but it couldn't find the directory I was pointing to. I had to use the actions/checkout@v2 in a step before to get access to the files in my repo. I ran it again, this time it worked.

I changed the script to take input from the action, ran it again, and it worked.

I then tried to write to a file instead of printing the result. No luck, I couldn't figure it out, by this GitHub Communtiy Post helped me figure it out. Instead of writing to the file system with node, I had to either use another action or run use git commands in my workflow. I chose the latter.

Before I could do that, instead of returning the result from my script, I had to send it to the action output. A bit of fiddling with shell commands later, It worked! This is the step I added:

run: | echo '${{ steps.demo1.outputs.output }}' > 'res.json' git config "" git config "hehe" git add --all git commit -m "Update json" || echo "No changes to commit" git push

I did some additional configuration to add features to the action, so it was more generic and not only useful for my needs, and added a demo to the repo. I noticed at the top it was prompting me to publish the action so I did!

However I realised my documentation was awful, and it would probably be really hard to use it even if you wanted to, so I spent some time looking at other actions documentation and wrote my own. I also kept flip flopping between 'Front Matter to JSON' and 'Markdown Metadata to JSON', I decided on 'Front Matter to JSON' becauce you can have yaml front matter in files other than markdown, so I thought it'd be more general.

Please check out the action here!. I'm real keen to improve it so please do open issues, create PRs :smile:.