The new Workflow system

The final step of the series of major user experience revisions we announced at the end of last year is now complete. The new Workflow system is more capable, more flexible and hopefully easier to use than ever before.

The final step of the series of major user experience revisions we announced at the end of last year is now complete. The new Workflow system is more capable, more flexible and hopefully easier to use than ever before.

It wasn't easy to include all the features of our vision of the Workflow editor into a single page, pleasing to the eye. We'll probably do a couple of refinements in the future but it now represents what we think a great Workflow editor should look like.

And as we promised the revision was not just about beauty, it was at least as much about making the Workflow system capable of the things we originally planned. Below you can find the more significant new features of the new Workflow system.

Import and Export Workflows

After you prepare your Workflow you can export it in both JSON and YAML formats. For this you should click on the Show More option at the top right corner of the Workflow in editor mode.

You can store your Workflow in your app's repository, modify it in your text editor, share it with others or use it as a template for new apps you add on Bitrise. It's all up to you, and it's all yours!

Some of you requested that if you create a workflow file in your repository Bitrise should use that for builds. We're still considering this option but we think that it is more flexible to separate the build workflow from the repository - check out the Specify different Workflows for separate branches section for a detailed description.

Step: Icons, Rename and Duplicate

These are mainly utility functions but were requested by you and we found these incredibly helpful in creating and maintaining more complex Workflows.

First of all Steps now have their own icons which make it easier to find the one you're looking for.

After you add a Step to your Workflow you can change it's title to anything you want to. It's especially useful if you use the same Step multiple times in your Workflow, which is a common case if you use your own scripts but want to separate them instead of including all the scripts in a single script step.

Finally you can now duplicate Steps with just one click so you don't have to add and configure the same step again. It can be useful in situations like sending a Slack message right when the build starts and one more when the build finishes.

Specify different Workflows for separate branches

We had a similar feature in our previous system too but the new one is more customizable and more obvious to work with.

When you create a new app on Bitrise you'll get a base Workflow with just a couple of base testing steps. This Workflow is your primary workflow, you can edit it but you can't delete it and it'll be used for every build where no other Workflow is specified.

As a best practice you should have a base testing Workflow which performs tests for every code push in your repository - this is the purpose of the primary workflow.

After the testing you probably want to deploy your app for your testers. With the new Workflow system you can now create new Workflows for as many branch as you like and configure it the way you want to.

Let's say you want to deploy your app for your internal testers every time you push code to the master branch and maybe for another set of testers if you push code to your production branch.

You can now do that by creating two new Workflows for your app, one for master and one for production, setting up the deployment steps and customizing any other parameter you want to (the list of testers for example) and you don't have to anything else.

With a setup like this you don't have to do anything manually, everything just works, all you have to do is work on your code and Bitrise will do the rest. You control the whole process with your repository.

Overwrite default Environment Variables and change default settings

Workflows can have their own set of environment variables as well, you can manage these if you click on the Preparing the Build Environment step in the Workflow editor.

You can define your own environment variables and you can overwrite default build environments too. Bitrise passes every build parameter as an environment variable so you can change or use those the way you want to.

You can now set the Xcode Project's path and the Scheme to be used for the build in your app's Settings tab but you can overwrite those in your Workflows.

For example your default, primary workflow can build with the default Scheme you picked when you registered the app on Bitrise but you might want to use another Scheme if the code was pushed to a special branch.

In this case you can create a new Workflow for the special branch, click on the Preparing the Build Environment step, select the Overwrite a Default option and select the $BITRISE_SCHEME from the default environments list and define a new value which will overwrite the default value (which you can change on the Settings tab).

You can even use the default environment's value and just change it. For example if you would like to append "-test" to the app's title you can do it by clicking on the Overwrite a Default option, selecting the $BITRISE_APP_TITLE environment and specifying ${BITRISE_APP_TITLE}-title as it's value. You just have to make sure that the Replace variables in input? option under the variable's key is enabled so it will resolve the environment variables in the input before storing it as a new environment, available for all Steps in the Workflow.

Create and use your own, custom steps

Another important thing we wanted to solve is to make it easier for you to create your own steps and to share it with others through the Open Step Library.

With the new Workflow system adding your own Step is as easy as clicking on the plus sign at the left side of the editor and selecting the Custom Step option.

There you can just copy-paste your Step's description (which you should store in your step's repository as step.yml) and it's done. You can try it with any of the Steps you can find in the Step Libraries (you know that you can see the code of any Step in your Workflow by clicking on the View source code link right? ;), copy-paste the raw content of a step.yml file and it'll just work.

Create the Workflow you want

The new Workflow system is way more powerful than the one we had before. We hope that with these improvements you can now create the build and automation configurations you wanted to and maybe even more.

We would love to hear what other use cases you can find for Bitrise, what development automations you can think of and what are the things we can improve to provide the feature support you need to make your app development as painless as possible.

We're always happy to help you to setup your Workflows and to create your own Step.

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