Earthly 0.7

Part 8a: Using Earthly in your current CI

Earthly was designed to be used as the main CI build specification. It can be integrated with any CI system and used instead of the CI's own native syntax.
The main benefit of using Earthly in CI is that it provides consistency between local and CI builds. This allows you to debug, test, and iterate on your builds locally, before pushing them to the CI. The fact that Earthly uses containers underneath provides a level of guarantee that the build behaves the same no matter where it is run from. This is what we call repeatability.
In this section, we will explore how to use Earthly in a traditional CI system, such as GitHub Actions. If you would like an introduction to using Earthly CI, see Part 8b of this tutorial.
For more information on how to use Earthly in other CIs such as GitLab, Jenkins, or CircleCI, you can check out the CI Integration page.

Using Earthly in Your Current CI

To use Earthly in a CI, you typically encode the following steps in your CI's build configuration:
  1. 1.
    Download and install Earthly
  2. 2.
    Log in to image registries, such as DockerHub
  3. 3.
    Run Earthly
For example, here is how this would work in GitHub Actions:
# .github/workflows/ci.yml
name: CI
branches: [ main ]
branches: [ main ]
runs-on: ubuntu-latest
- uses: earthly/actions/setup-[email protected]
version: v0.7.0
- uses: actions/[email protected]
- name: Put back the git branch into git (Earthly uses it for tagging)
run: |
if [ -n "$GITHUB_HEAD_REF" ]; then
git checkout -b "$branch" || true
- name: Docker Login
run: docker login --username "$DOCKERHUB_USERNAME" --password "$DOCKERHUB_TOKEN"
- name: Run build
run: earthly --ci --push +build
Here is an explanation of the steps above:
  • The action earthly/actions/[email protected] downloads and installs Earthly. Running this action is similar to running the Earthly installation one-liner sudo /bin/sh -c 'wget -O /usr/local/bin/earthly && chmod +x /usr/local/bin/earthly'
  • The command docker login performs a login to the DockerHub registry. This is required, to prevent rate-limiting issues when using popular base images.
  • The command earthly --ci --push +build executes the build. The --ci flag is used here, in order to force the use of --strict mode. In --strict mode, Earthly prevents the use of features that make the build less repeatable and also disables local outputs -- because artifacts and images resulting from the build are not needed within the CI environment. Any outputs should be pushed via RUN --push or SAVE IMAGE --push commands.

Using Earthly Satellites in CI (optional)

Many CI systems are based on ephemeral sandboxes - meaning that when the build finishes, the environment is thrown away, and subsequent runs will have to start again from scratch, including downloading and reinstalling dependencies. This is the case for CIs such as GitHub Actions, GitLab CI, and CircleCI. This characteristic results in many steps being repeated on every run despite the fact that nothing related to those steps has changed.
Earthly Satellites are a great way to mitigate this issue. As satellites have persistent cache that is instantly available, pipelines can execute much faster, when running together with the warmed-up cache of the remote instance. This alone typically results in a 2-20X speedup, depending on setup.
To use a satellite in your CI, you need to:
  1. 1.
    Generate an Earthly token and set it as an environment variable in your CI
  2. 2.
    Specify the satellite name to use as part of the earthly command.
To generate an Earthly token, assuming that you are logged in, you can use the command...
earthly account create-token my-ci-token
You would then set the produced token as a secret in your CI of choice, and then use that secret to set an environment variable. In GitHub Actions, this looks like this:
Then, to use the satellite, you would use the flag --sat my-satellite in your earthly command. For example:
earthly --sat my-satellite --ci --push +build
For more information on how to use Earthly Satellites, you can check out the Satellites page.
For more information about integrating Earthly with other traditional CI systems, you can check out the CI Integration page.