Quickstart: Deploy Bicep files by using GitHub Actions

GitHub Actions is a suite of features in GitHub to automate your software development workflows. In this quickstart, you use the GitHub Actions for Azure Resource Manager deployment to automate deploying a Bicep file to Azure.

It provides a short introduction to GitHub actions and Bicep files. If you want more detailed steps on setting up the GitHub actions and project, see Deploy Azure resources by using Bicep and GitHub Actions.


Create resource group

Create a resource group. Later in this quickstart, you'll deploy your Bicep file to this resource group.

az group create -n exampleRG -l westus

Generate deployment credentials

Your GitHub Actions run under an identity. Use the az ad sp create-for-rbac command to create a service principal for the identity. Grant the service principal the contributor role for the resource group created in the previous session so that the GitHub action with the identity can create resources in this resource group. It is recommended that you grant minimum required access.

az ad sp create-for-rbac --name {app-name} --role contributor --scopes /subscriptions/{subscription-id}/resourceGroups/exampleRG --json-auth

Replace the placeholder {app-name} with the name of your application. Replace {subscription-id} with your subscription ID.

The output is a JSON object with the role assignment credentials that provide access to your App Service app similar to below.

    "clientId": "<GUID>",
    "clientSecret": "<GUID>",
    "subscriptionId": "<GUID>",
    "tenantId": "<GUID>",

Copy this JSON object for later. You'll only need the sections with the clientId, clientSecret, subscriptionId, and tenantId values. Make sure you don't have an extra comma at the end of the last line, for example, the tenantId line in the preceding example, or else it will result in an invalid JSON file. You will get an error during the deployment saying "Login failed with Error: Content is not a valid JSON object. Double check if the 'auth-type' is correct."

Configure the GitHub secrets

Create secrets for your Azure credentials, resource group, and subscriptions. You will use these secrets in the Create workflow section.

  1. In GitHub, navigate to your repository.

  2. Select Settings > Secrets and variables > Actions > New repository secret.

  3. Paste the entire JSON output from the Azure CLI command into the secret's value field. Name the secret AZURE_CREDENTIALS.

  4. Create another secret named AZURE_RG. Add the name of your resource group to the secret's value field (exampleRG).

  5. Create another secret named AZURE_SUBSCRIPTION. Add your subscription ID to the secret's value field (example: 90fd3f9d-4c61-432d-99ba-1273f236afa2).

Add a Bicep file

Add a Bicep file to your GitHub repository. The following Bicep file creates a storage account:

param storagePrefix string

param storageSKU string = 'Standard_LRS'

param location string = resourceGroup().location

var uniqueStorageName = '${storagePrefix}${uniqueString(resourceGroup().id)}'

resource stg 'Microsoft.Storage/storageAccounts@2021-04-01' = {
  name: uniqueStorageName
  location: location
  sku: {
    name: storageSKU
  kind: 'StorageV2'
  properties: {
    supportsHttpsTrafficOnly: true

output storageEndpoint object = stg.properties.primaryEndpoints

The Bicep file requires one parameter called storagePrefix with 3 to 11 characters.

You can put the file anywhere in the repository. The workflow sample in the next section assumes the Bicep file is named main.bicep, and it's stored at the root of your repository.

Create workflow

A workflow defines the steps to execute when triggered. It's a YAML (.yml) file in the .github/workflows/ path of your repository. The workflow file extension can be either .yml or .yaml.

To create a workflow, take the following steps:

  1. From your GitHub repository, select Actions from the top menu.

  2. Select New workflow.

  3. Select set up a workflow yourself.

  4. Rename the workflow file if you prefer a different name other than main.yml. For example: deployBicepFile.yml.

  5. Replace the content of the yml file with the following code:

    name: Deploy Bicep file
    on: [push]
        runs-on: ubuntu-latest
        - name: Checkout code
          uses: actions/checkout@main
        - name: Log into Azure
          uses: azure/login@v1
            creds: ${{ secrets.AZURE_CREDENTIALS }}
        - name: Deploy Bicep file
          uses: azure/arm-deploy@v1
            subscriptionId: ${{ secrets.AZURE_SUBSCRIPTION }}
            resourceGroupName: ${{ secrets.AZURE_RG }}
            template: ./main.bicep
            parameters: 'storagePrefix=mystore storageSKU=Standard_LRS'
            failOnStdErr: false

    Replace mystore with your own storage account name prefix.


    You can specify a JSON format parameters file instead in the ARM Deploy action (example: .azuredeploy.parameters.json).

    The first section of the workflow file includes:

    • name: The name of the workflow.
    • on: The name of the GitHub events that triggers the workflow. The workflow is triggered when there's a push event on the main branch.
  6. Select Commit changes.

  7. Select Commit directly to the main branch.

  8. Select Commit new file (or Commit changes).

Updating either the workflow file or Bicep file triggers the workflow. The workflow starts right after you commit the changes.

Check workflow status

  1. Select the Actions tab. You'll see a Create deployBicepFile.yml workflow listed. It takes 1-2 minutes to run the workflow.
  2. Select the workflow to open it, and verify the Status is Success.

Clean up resources

When your resource group and repository are no longer needed, clean up the resources you deployed by deleting the resource group and your GitHub repository.

az group delete --name exampleRG

Next steps