What is the Checks API?
As the leading code repository provider, GitHub houses code from 24 million people spanning across 200 countries. Creating custom integrations is a paramount feature for developers who require more control over what happens at the integration level of the CI (Continuous Integration) process when committing code to GitHub.
The new Checks API – a public beta was released this week – provides this desired functionality.
GitHub has traditionally provided a binary output for the status of a build: in short, either it is passing, or failing. However, with the Checks API, developers can present more contextual build statuses and can create custom build tools directly via the API.
The GitHub team explained: “You can create apps that perform continuous integration, code linting, or code scanning services and provide detailed feedback on commits.”
Restful at the moment, but support for GraphQL coming soon
As a chief proponent of GraphQL (the graph-based data querying language), it is not surprising to learn of Github’s impending decision to support it within the Checks API.
However, at present, the API is available via the well-established REST, meaning that it can be used by the majority of developers who can decide whether to make the switch to GraphQL in the future.
As the Most Popular Development Environment, based on this year’s latest Stack Overflow survey, GitHub’s Checks API’s support for VSCode is likely to be well received by the developer community; primarily this enables integration of the API from the comfort of VSCode!
Co-Founder and VP of Product at Travis CI, Josh Kalderimis yesterday also announced Checks API support for TravisCI: “We’re thrilled to support the GitHub Checks API, which launches today. This is the first feature built specifically for repositories with our GitHub Apps integration enabled. It is available to private and open source projects using travis-ci.com.”
Microsoft maintains hundreds of open source projects on GitHub, including Visual Studio Code, which had the most community participants among any project last year, and TypeScript, one of the fastest growing languages in 2017.
GitHub announced yesterday that it is partnering with Microsoft to integrate Azure’s DevOps services with GitHub, starting with Azure’s Mobile CI service. With App Center installed, users can automate builds on every commit, test apps on real devices in the cloud, and monitor usage with crash and analytics data, GitHub said.
And because the App Center integration uses the Checks API, mobile developers will be able to see the results directly within GitHub’s interface.
The platform is also integrating GitHub with Microsoft Outlook using Adaptive Cards.
“Over the next several weeks, Outlook users will be able to comment on issues from their inbox—and soon after, be able to merge pull requests, too.”
Beyond the beta
As a leading CI platform provider, this is good news for the developer community and as this only the beta release, it will be interesting to see how the API is received and evolves.