Publishing apps to the OpenStore with GitLab CI
Recently UBports completed a migration of the click based core apps to GitLab. You can find them all in our GitLab organization. The reason we moved the click base apps over to GitLab was to take advantage of their awesome CI solution. With the GitLab CI we have each app building a click for each commit and each merge request. On top of this we can also easily publish new version directly to the OpenStore without needing to log into open-store.io. With this setup it allows each core app maintainer to have control over their own releases while being able to release the apps under the UBports account on the OpenStore without ever needing to login. I have also been using this setup in my own apps and have written this tutorial to help others get setup with GitLab CI and their click apps.
What you will need
- A GitLab account
- An OpenStore account
- A click app built with Clickable (If you don’t, start with the section title “Start a new project”)
Start a new project
If you are familiar with Clickable or already have an app setup feel free to skip this section.
Once you have Clickable installed, run
clickable create to start a new click project.
Clickable will then walk you through several options to get you setup. Once you have a new app created, move to the project’s root directory.
From there you can run
clickable to compile, package, and install the app on your device for testing.
Once the app is ready to be published, create a new GitLab repo
for pushing your code.
After that log into your OpenStore account and navigate to the submission page.
Enter the app’s name and title. It is very important to use the same app name as in your manifest.json or you will not be able to publish your app.
Setting up the GitLab repo
In your GitLab repo you will need to setup a few things before you can publish to the OpenStore.
First, navigate to “Settings” > “Repository” and find the “Protected Tags” section.
Add a wildcard tag,
v*, and set Maintainers as the ones allowed to create these.
This allows you to publish the app whenever a new tag starting with
v is pushed (ex:
Once that is done navigate to “Settings” > “CI / CD” and find the “Environment variables” section. Add the variable
and enter your OpenStore api key. You can find your api key on the manage apps page by
clicking the “API Key” button. It is vitally important that you toggle the “Protected” switch to ON when adding the variable.
By keeping the api key a protected variable it is only available on protected branches / tags
(And only maintainers will have access to protected tags as was previously setup).
This means that someone making a merge request to your application can not make a malicious update to your app on the OpenStore.
After the project is setup in GitLab you can add this
.gitlab-ci.yml to the root directory of your app:
build: image: clickable/ci-16.04-armhf except: - tags script: - clickable clean build click-build artifacts: paths: - build/*.click expire_in: 1 week publish: image: clickable/ci-16.04-armhf only: - tags script: - clickable clean build click-build - clickable publish "$CI_COMMIT_MESSAGE" artifacts: paths: - build/*.click expire_in: 1 week
What does this file do? It directs GitLab’s CI to build the app in two stages, one for releases and one for just testing.
The first stage is
build, which uses clickable to build your app.
This will run any time you push commits to GitLab and for every merge request made against your project.
It will not get run when you push new tags to GitLab as they will be used for publishing new releases.
build uses the
image, this image comes prebuilt with Clickable setup in
As mentioned previously, this stage will not build new tags, as specified in the
script section runs a standard Clickable build to produce a click package.
If you need to add anything more to your build script you can add additional lines here
(for example, the weather app injects an OpenWeatherMap api key from a GitLab CI variable).
build section keeps the built click file as an
artifact that GitLab will only keep for 1 week
(this can be configured by changing the
On the CI job page for each completed
build stage you can find the click package for download and testing.
Since this also happens for every merge request it is simple to download and test a click from a merge request.
The second stage is
publish, this uses Clickable’s OpenStore integration to publish new git tags as new versions in the OpenStore.
It is mostly identical to the
build stage, using the same
only run when a new git tag is pushed.
And as was setup in the previous section, these tags must match the pattern
v* so you can use the OpenStore api key that was setup as a CI variable.
script part of the
publish stage uses the same clean build as the
but once the click file has been built it will run
clickabe publish to send the new version to the OpenStore.
The argument passed to
clickable publish will get added to the OpenStore changelog.
In this case the special GitLab CI variable called
CI_COMMIT_MESSAGE is used. This variable will hold the value of the last commit message.
With this setup the an app can be built and published without ever needing to log into the OpenStore.
Now that the project is setup and the
.gitlab-ci.yml configuration has been committed
you can use the following workflow to publish a new release of your app.
1) Commit changes
Once all the changes you want to make in your next version are completed you can commit them as you normally would using
2) Update the version
Next you can update the version of the app in your
(sometimes this file will be called
manifest.json.in because it gets modified during the build process).
3) Commit version change
Commit the update to your manifest file with
git commit -a.
The commit message that you write will become the changelog in the OpenStore.
Here is an example commit message:
v1.2.3 - Fixed keyboard bug #31 - Added cool new features
4) Tag version
Having completed the version update commit, the next step is to tag that commit using
git tag v1.2.3, where
v1.2.3 is your version number.
5) Push changes and tags
Push both your commits and the new tag to GitLab using
git push && git push --tags.
Once GitLab receives the commits and tags it will start building your app and publish it to the OpenStore.