I'm Robrt, a robot that listens to GitHub events and deploys stuff
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robrt

README.md

Robrt

Robrt is a simple, automated and configurable build system for projects hosted on GitHub.

Hi, I'm Robrt! I'm a robot that listens to GitHub events and deploys stuff.

It's main purpose is to provide flexible automated builds – and even deployments – for projects where using Travis is either too expensive, or somewhat unpractical.

Robrt runs each build – either a pushed commit or updated pull request – in a Docker container; the thing is, each build can choose, or even create, the Docker image it will run in.

There's no UI. Yeah, Robrt is (still?) geeky like that. On the other hand, it can post customizable messages on Slack and add customizable commit statuses on GitHub (commit statuses are shown in the branch list and in each pull request).

Usage

Security considerations

Security has not been solved yet.

Mainly, we want Robrt to allow arbitrary Docker images – actually, arbitrary Dockerfiles – and, at the same time, support GitHub pull requests; we are still working on isolating each build request from the repository, the host, and other builds, while maintaining this much flexibility. We welcome any contributions.

For the time being, we strongly advise anyone trying out Robrt to do so without exposing sensitive data to it. Or, at the very least, untrusted users should not be allowed push access, and pull requests should thus be disabled in public repositories.

On the repository

Similarly to Travis – and other CI systems out there – Robrt expects each tree to have a settings file called .robrt.json. This file will give it instructions on which Docker image to use (or, more specifically, on how to build it) and which commands should be executed in that image.

A very simple example:

{
	"prepare" : {
		"dockerfile" : { "type" : "path", "data" : ".robrt.Dockerfile" }
	}, "build" : {
		"cmds" : [
			"cd $ROBRT_REPOSITORY_DIR",
			"echo 'I'm a build, test or export command' > .out",
			"cp -r .out $ROBRT_OUTPUT_DIR/echo"
		]
	}
}

First, in the preparation stage, .robrt.Dockerfile will be used to build a corresponding Docker image. For now, let's assume that it is a simple clone of a recent Linux image:

FROM ubuntu:latest

Then, in the build phase, the following will be executed:

  • cd into the repository directory; ROBRT_REPOSITORY_DIR is a standard environment variable that will always point to where in that container has the repository been mounted to.
  • echo a constant string to file .out
  • export the .out file to the world, by placing it where, if so configured, Robrt will let the host see it (and the host can then serve it via HTTP, for instance); ROBRT_OUTPUT_DIR is another standard environment variable pointing to where in the container has Robrt reserved some space for exported data

The undocumented (we're sorry about that!) structure of .robrt.json can be seen in robrt.repository.RepoConfig.

On the server

TODO: server stuff (/etc/robrt and environment variables)

A running Robrt instance will read from /etc/robrt (or from the path specified in the ROBRT_CONFIG_PATH environment variable) to know which repositories to listen to and to proceed on each push or pull_request event.

Notifications

TODO: GitHub commit statuses, Slack posts.

The log viewer

Robrt logs need to carry lots of instrumental information and are thus not the of the friendliest kind.

To improve that we've created a log viewer. It's a web app than parses the raw log and generates a user-friendly view for it, with fences, timing and exit code information and, with ANSI escape sequences, support for colors.

Build and run

Building

Robrt is written in Haxe and, to build, requires both Haxe and some additional libraries:

Since we're targeting Node.js, the easiest way to have an runnable Robrt is to execute npm pack. This will compile the Haxe project into a JS file and generate a local NPM package with a pseudo-executable robrt.

Alternatively, you can simply run the Haxe compiler with haxe build.hxml.

Dependencies

Besides the Haxe dependencies, Robrt requires Node.js (4+) and some NPM packages: dockerode, docopt remove, mkdir-p, ncp and source-map-support.

Builds execute in Docker containers, so that is another dependency; it's minimum required version is yet to be determinated.

Finally, some common executables are also required at runtime: git and tar.

Testing locally during developing

TODO: checkout the docs/testing folder; also, ngrok might be very convenient for inspecting and replaying requests.

Running in production

TODO: ssl, proxy, run as service