Quickstart: Create a test validation GitHub workflow

In this quickstart, you will learn how to create a GitHub workflow to test your .NET source code. Automatically testing your .NET code within GitHub is referred to as continuous integration (CI), where pull requests or changes to the source trigger workflows to exercise. Along with building the source code, testing ensures that the compiled source code functions as the author intended. More often than not, unit tests serve as immediate feedback-loop to help ensure the validity of changes to source code.

Prerequisites

Create a workflow file

In the GitHub repository, add a new YAML file to the .github/workflows directory. Choose a meaningful file name, something that will clearly indicate what the workflow is intended to do. For more information, see Workflow file.

Important

GitHub requires that workflow composition files to be placed within the .github/workflows directory.

Workflow files typically define a composition of one or more GitHub Action via the jobs.<job_id>/steps[*]. For more information, see, Workflow syntax for GitHub Actions.

Create a new file named build-and-test.yml, copy and paste the following YML contents into it:

name: build and test

on:
  push:
  pull_request:
    branches: [ main ]
    paths:
    - '**.cs'
    - '**.csproj'

env:
  DOTNET_VERSION: '5.0.301' # The .NET SDK version to use

jobs:
  build-and-test:

    name: build-and-test-${{matrix.os}}
    runs-on: ${{ matrix.os }}
    strategy:
      matrix:
        os: [ubuntu-latest, windows-latest, macOS-latest]

    steps:
    - uses: actions/checkout@v2
    - name: Setup .NET Core
      uses: actions/setup-dotnet@v1
      with:
        dotnet-version: ${{ env.DOTNET_VERSION }}

    - name: Install dependencies
      run: dotnet restore
      
    - name: Build
      run: dotnet build --configuration Release --no-restore
    
    - name: Test
      run: dotnet test --no-restore --verbosity normal

In the preceding workflow composition:

  • The name: build and test defines the name, "build and test" will appear in workflow status badges.

    name: build and test
    
  • The on node signifies the events that trigger the workflow:

    on:
      push:
      pull_request:
        branches: [ main ]
        paths:
        - '**.cs'
        - '**.csproj'
    
    • Triggered when a push or pull_request occurs on the main branch where any files changed ending with the .cs or .csproj file extensions.
  • The env node defines named environment variables (env var).

    env:
      DOTNET_VERSION: '5.0.301' # The .NET SDK version to use
    
    • The environment variable DOTNET_VERSION is assigned the value '5.0.301'. The environment variable is later referenced to specify the dotnet-version of the actions/setup-dotnet@v1 GitHub Action.
  • The jobs node builds out the steps for the workflow to take.

    jobs:
      build-and-test:
    
        name: build-and-test-${{matrix.os}}
        runs-on: ${{ matrix.os }}
        strategy:
          matrix:
            os: [ubuntu-latest, windows-latest, macOS-latest]
    
        steps:
        - uses: actions/checkout@v2
        - name: Setup .NET Core
          uses: actions/setup-dotnet@v1
          with:
            dotnet-version: ${{ env.DOTNET_VERSION }}
    
        - name: Install dependencies
          run: dotnet restore
          
        - name: Build
          run: dotnet build --configuration Release --no-restore
        
        - name: Test
          run: dotnet test --no-restore --verbosity normal
    
    • There is a single job, named build-<os> where the <os> is the operating system name from the strategy/matrix. The name and runs-on elements are dynamic for each value in the matrix/os. This will run on the latest versions of Ubuntu, Windows, and macOS.
    • The actions/setup-dotnet@v1 GitHub Action is used to setup the .NET SDK with the specified version from the DOTNET_VERSION environment variable.
    • The dotnet restore command is called.
    • The dotnet build command is called.
    • The dotnet test command is called.

Create a workflow status badge

It's common nomenclature for GitHub repositories to have a README.md file at the root of the repository directory. Likewise, it's nice to report the latest status for various workflows. All workflows can generate a status badge, which are visually appealing within the README.md file. To add the workflow status badge:

  1. From the GitHub repository select the Actions navigation option.

  2. All repository workflows are displayed on the left-side, select the desired workflow and the ellipsis (...) button.

    • The ellipsis (...) button expands the menu options for the selected workflow.
  3. Select the Create status badge menu option.

    GitHub: Create status badge

  4. Select the Copy status badge Markdown button.

    GitHub: Copy status badge Markdown

  5. Paste the Markdown into the README.md file, save the file, commit and push the changes.

For more, see Adding a workflow status badge.

Example test workflow status badge

Passing Failing No status
GitHub: test passing badge GitHub: test failing badge GitHub: test no-status badge

See also

Next steps