Orbs FAQ

This document describes various questions and technical issues that you may find helpful when working with orbs.

Private orbs

  • Question: Can orbs be made private?

  • Answer: Currently, all orbs published to the Orb Registry are open source. Please subscribe to this feature request for updates: Feature Request: private orbs.

    Consider using orbs for importing code hosted on private package registries such as npm, or GitHub.

Difference between commands and jobs

  • Question: What is the difference between commands and jobs?

  • Answer: Both commands and jobs are elements that can be used within orbs. Commands contain one or many steps, which contain the logic of the orb. Commands generally execute some shell code (bash). Jobs are a definition of what steps/commands to run and the executor to run them in. Commands are invoked within jobs. Jobs are orchestrated using Workflows.

Using orbs on CircleCI server

  • Question: Can orbs be used on a private installation of CircleCI server?

  • Answer: CircleCI Server does not yet support orbs natively. However, if you process your config prior to committing, orbs can be translated and used. Follow this guide on using git pre-commit hooks to use orbs on server.

Report an issue with an orb

  • Question: How can I report a bug or issue with an orb?

  • Answer: All orbs are open source projects. Issues, bug reports, or even pull requests can be made against the orb’s git repository. Orb authors may opt to include a link to the git repo on the Orb Registry.

    If the git repo link is unavailable, contact support and we will attempt to contact the author. Alternatively, consider forking the orb and publishing your own version.

Using uncertified orbs

  • Question: Why do I receive an error message when trying to use an uncertified orb?

  • Answer: To enable usage of uncertified orbs, go to your organization’s settings page, and click the Security tab. Then, click yes to enable Allow Uncertified Orbs.

Note: Uncertified orbs are not tested or verified by CircleCI.

How to use the latest version of an orb

  • Question: How do import an orb always at the latest version?

  • Answer: Orbs utilize semantic versioning, meaning if you set the major version (example: 3), you will receive all minor and patch updates, where if you statically set the version (example: 3.0.0), no updates will apply, this is the most deterministic and recommended method.

Note: NOT RECOMMENDED - It is possible to use @volatile to receive the last published version of an orb. This is not recommended as breaking changes are expected.

Build error when testing locally

  • Question: Why do I get the following error when testing locally:
circleci build -c .circleci/jobs.yml --job test
Error:
You attempted to run a local build with version 2.1 of configuration.
  • Answer: To resolve this error, run circleci config process on your configuration and then save that configuration to disk. You then should run circleci local execute against the processed configuration.

See also

  • Refer to Orbs Concepts for high-level information about CircleCI orbs.
  • Refer to Orb Publishing Process for information about orbs that you may use in your workflows and jobs.
  • Refer to Orbs Reference for examples of reusable orbs, commands, parameters, and executors.
  • Refer to Configuration Cookbook for more detailed information about how you can use CircleCI orb recipes in your configurations.