Scheduling Github Actions


June 19, 2020

I use Github actions to publish daily articles via Hugo. I had set it up to publish on push, but sometimes I future date articles to have a backlog. This means that they won’t be published until my next commit or manual publish action. To fix this I’ve set up a scheduled action to run just after 8am in UTC+10 (close to my timezone in Melbourne, Australia) every day.

By default Hugo will not publish articles with a future date, so it’s easy to keep a backlog by setting the date in front matter to a future date. By convention I tend to set it to 8am in UTC+10 (e.g. date: "2020-06-20T08:00:00+10:00") for that day. I can still preview these posts locally by passing the --buildFuture flag to hugo serve.

So if I want these articles to automatically be published I need to run the action just after this time. The time 08:00 in UTC+10 is 22:00 in UTC (on the previous day), so I want it to run daily at, say, 22:04. Github scheduled actions use a crontab syntax, so I updated the configuration to run at 4 22 * * *.

    branches: [ master ]
    - cron: '4 22 * * *'

That’s all there is to it. Of course it would be straightforward to set this up on a Raspberry Pi with cron and a git server with a post-receive hook. But it’s convenient to use managed services to not have to worry about maintaining, and especially securing, the server.