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Scheduled pipelines

4 weeks ago4 min read
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Scheduled pipelines allow you to trigger pipelines periodically based on a schedule. Scheduled pipelines retain all the features of pipelines:

  • Control the actor (yourself, or the scheduling system) associated with the pipeline, which can enable the use of Restricted contexts.

  • Use Dynamic configuration via setup workflows.

  • Modify the schedule without having to edit .circleci/config.yml.

  • Take advantage of auto-cancelling.

  • Specify Pipeline parameters associated with a schedule.

  • Manage common schedules, for example, across workflows.

Scheduled pipelines are configured through the API, or through the project settings in the CircleCI web app.

Introduction

Scheduled pipelines allow you to trigger pipelines periodically based on a schedule, from either the CircleCI web app or API. Schedules can range from daily, weekly, monthly, or on a very specific timetable. To set up basic scheduled pipelines, you do not need any extra configuration in your .circleci/config.yml file. However, more advanced usage of the feature will require extra .circleci/config.yml configuration (for example, workflow filtering, or using parameters).

Pipeline parameters are typed pipeline variables in the form of a string, integer, or boolean. Adding a parameter to a scheduled pipeline can be done in the web app in the triggers form while setting up a schedule. Any parameters set up in this manner must be added to your configuration file using the parameters key.

Scheduled pipelines are set to run by an "actor", either the CircleCI scheduling system, or a specific user (for example, yourself). The scheduling actor is important to consider if making use of restricted contexts in workflows. If the user (actor) running the workflow does not have access to the context, the workflow will fail with the Unauthorized status.

You can find a basic how-to guide on the Set a nightly scheduled pipeline page, and more advanced examples on the Schedule pipelines with multiple workflows pages.

Get started with scheduled pipelines

To get started with scheduled pipelines, you have the option of using the API, or using the CircleCI web app. Both methods are described below.

Use project settings in the web app

  1. In the CircleCI web app, navigate to Projects in the sidebar, then click the ellipsis (…​) next to your project and click on Project Settings. You can also find the Project Settings button on each project’s landing page.

  2. Navigate to Triggers.

  3. To create a new schedule, click Add Trigger.

  4. Define the new schedule by filling out the form, then click Save Trigger.

The form also provides the option of adding pipeline parameters, which are typed pipeline variables that you declare at the top level of a configuration.

If you would like to manage common schedules for multiple workflows, you will need to manually set this in your .circleci/config.yml file. See the Schedule pipelines with multiple workflows page for examples.

Use the API

If your project has no scheduled workflows, and you would like to try out scheduled pipelines:

  1. Have your CircleCI token ready, or create a new token by following the steps on the Managing API tokens page.

  2. Create a new schedule using the API. For example:

curl --location --request POST "https://circleci.com/api/v2/project/<project-slug>/schedule" \
--header "circle-token: <PERSONAL_API_KEY>" \
--header "Content-Type: application/json" \
--data-raw '{
    "name": "my schedule name",
    "description": "some description",
    "attribution-actor": "system",
    "parameters": {
      "branch": "main"
      <additional pipeline parameters can be added here>
    },
    "timetable": {
        "per-hour": 3,
        "hours-of-day": [1,15],
        "days-of-week": ["MON", "WED"]
    }
}'

For additional information, refer to the Schedule section under the API v2 docs. Also see the Getting started with the API section of the API Developer’s Guide for more guidance on making requests.

Migrate scheduled workflows to scheduled pipelines

If you have existing scheduled workflows you need to migrate to scheduled pipelines, use the Scheduled pipelines migration guide.

Scheduled pipelines video tutorial

The video offers a short tutorial for the following scenarios:

  • Set a schedule in the web app

  • Set a schedule with the API

  • Migrate from scheduled workflows to scheduled pipelines

For the documentation for these scenarios, visit the following pages: - Set a nightly scheduled pipeline - Schedule pipelines with multiple workflows

FAQs

Can I migrate existing scheduled workflows to scheduled pipelines?

Yes, visit the Scheduled pipelines migration guide for more information.

How do I find the schedules that I have created?

As scheduled pipelines are stored directly in CircleCI, there is a UUID associated with each schedule. You can view schedules that you have created on the Triggers page of the project settings. You can also list all the schedules under a single project:

curl --location --request GET "https://circleci.com/api/v2/project/<project-slug>/schedule" \
--header "circle-token: <PERSONAL_API_KEY>"

Refer to the Getting started with the API section of the API Developer’s Guide for more guidance on making requests.

What time zone is used for scheduled pipelines?

Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) is the time zone in which schedules are interpreted.

Can pipelines be scheduled to run at a specific time of day?

Yes, you can Scheduled pipelines. You can set up scheduled pipelines through the CircleCI web app, or with CircleCI API v2.

If you are currently using Scheduled workflows, please see the Migration guide to update your scheduled workflows to scheduled pipelines.

Are scheduled pipelines guaranteed to run at precisely the time scheduled?

CircleCI provides no guarantees about precision. A schedule will be run as if the commit was pushed at the configured time.

Why did my scheduled pipeline run later than expected?

There is a nuanced difference in the scheduling expression with Scheduled Pipelines, compared to the Cron expression.

For example, when you express the schedule as 1 per-hour for 08:00 UTC, the scheduled pipeline will run once within the 08:00 to 09:00 UTC window. Note that it does not mean that it will run at 08:00 UTC exactly.

However, subsequent runs of the scheduled pipeline will always be run on the same time as its previous run. In other words, if a previous scheduled pipeline ran at 08:11 UTC, the next runs should also be at 08:11 UTC.

Do you support regex?

Not currently. Scheduled pipelines require highly deterministic inputs such as a commit SHA, branch, or tag (fully qualified, no regexes) included in the webhook, API call, or schedule.


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