Migrate from GitHub Actions
This document provides an overview of how to migrate from GitHub Actions to CircleCI.
Jobs and workflows
Both GitHub Actions and CircleCI share similar concepts around "jobs" and "workflows". A workflow is an end-to-end flow of connected jobs, which in turn consist of commands to achieve an atomic task (e.g. "run unit tests" or "build a Docker image").
CircleCI differs primarily in configuration syntax, setting up workflow and job dependencies in a separate section as opposed to inline in the job.
Actions vs. orbs
CircleCI offers similar functionality in our orbs. The primary difference is that CircleCI orbs are just packaged, reusable YAML, so you can orbify reusable jobs, executors, or commands, and use them however you see fit in any of your jobs or workflows.
GitHub offers browsing of Actions in their Marketplace; CircleCI has an Orb Registry as well as an Integrations Page containing numerous Certified, Partner, and community orbs / integrations.
Runners vs. executors
In GitHub, you can specify your builds to run in Linux, macOS, and Windows environments via a
runs-on key in the YAML, and if you want to run anything in a container, you specify an additional
In CircleCI, you have the same choice of environments (called Executors), with additional options and features for Docker.
For each of the executor types, you have a choice of different versions which will subsequently have various versions of base software installed.
See the table in the next section to compare configuration.
|GitHub Config||CircleCI Config|
Specifying execution environment. While container execution is specified separately in GitHub,
Specifying dependencies/services. All images specified after the first in CircleCI are treated as dependencies.
Specifying steps to run in a job. Similar functionality, different syntax.
Using shared tasks (Actions for GitHub, orbs for CircleCI). In CircleCI, you declare orbs at the top level
Using conditional steps in the workflow. CircleCI offers basic conditions on steps (e.g., on_success [default],
For more configuration examples on CircleCI, visit our Examples and Guides Overview and Example Projects pages.
Since the configuration between GitHub Actions and CircleCI is similar, it should be fairly trivial to migrate your jobs and workflows. However, for best chances of success, we recommend migrating over items in the following order:
Help make this document better
This guide, as well as the rest of our docs, are open source and available on GitHub. We welcome your contributions.
- Suggest an edit to this page (please read the contributing guide first).
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