This is the final out of three posts where I will explain how to hook up Hubot to Github’s API. The goal of these posts is to get notified in Slack when your pull request becomes unmergeable.
Connect to Github’s API to check the merge status of a pull request
Is your pull request event set up and your bot listening to your webhook? Great! Let’s do something with that data.
Here you can find an example of the data you’ll receive on pull request events. As you can see there’s a
mergeablekey. This is either
false. You want to send a notification to Slack when the value is
Hubot has built-in event listener methods:
on. With these methods, you can create your own event that Hubot will listen to. You define an event with
emitand you listen to it with
You can use these methods to handle errors. Wrap your data assignment in a
try/catchblock and create an
errorevent if there is one:
Then somewhere in your script you can add:
Now that you have that sorted, you can set the values you need to work with. In this case: the Slack room name to post in and the pull request url, id and status. Add the following above the
The room is needed for the Slack notification. The
numberare needed for the
GETrequest you’ll send to Github’s API in order to check the pull request’s
merge status. The pull request’s
stateis needed to filter events on pull requests that are not open. Let’s do that first, because there’s no point in checking for a possible merge conflict in closed ones.
Tip: throw a
console.log()in your code to see what data you have available and know what you’re working with.
When someone pushes to a branch that has a pull request, the payload is sent immediately. The result is that the initial value of
mergeablein the data object is
unknown. The main reason is that it takes a few seconds until the merge status is known because the code has to be compared to the master branch. In order to know if the pull request has a merge conflict, therefore unable to merge with the master branch, you have to check its merge status via the Github API.
You can use Hubot’s
httpcall methods, that enable you to send
GETrequests. In this case to the Github API. Let’s create a method that takes care of this and add it at the top in
github.coffee, above the
The method accepts 3 arguments: the
Notice that the
data.pullId. These come from the
pull_requestobject that you pass as the
dataargument. There’s also an
access_tokenvariable at the end. This is needed in case of a private repository. You can set one here. If your repo is public, you do not have to include the token in the url. What follows is the
GETrequest to that url.
Create another method underneath called
This method uses your
getRequestmethod and stores the
mergeablevalue. Now, if
false, you want to send a notification to your Slack channel. If it is
trueyou do not have to do anything. If it is still
unknown, you want to re-check. Add the following to the
checkMergeStatusmethod, inside the
As you can see, if the second condition evaluates to
checkMergeStatuswill keep calling itself with 1000ms (1sec) intervals, until it changes.
Send a notification to your Slack channel on a merge conflict
Here’s where the previously mentioned
emitmethod comes in handy again. You can create a
merge_conflictevent for when the status is
false. Make sure it has the values you need in your Slack notification:
All that you have to do now, is to get Hubot to take action as soon as the
merge_conflictevent happens. You can let Hubot ‘listen’ to it by using the
onmethod. I moved the code for this to a separate script called
In order to post a message to a room via Slack’s API, you need to have the room’s id.
robot.adapter.client.rtm.dataStore.getChannelByName(<your room name>).idwill get that for you.
The message is formatted according to Slack’s requirements. More information about message formatting can be found on their website.
But what happens if someone is going to commit several fixes to their branch but the merge conflict does not get resolved right away? You do not want to spam your Slack channel because that is super annoying. Therefore it would be a good idea to keep a list of the pull requests that have a merge conflict and remove them if they are resolved.
At the top of the
github.coffee, add an empty array called
unmergeablePulls. Now you can add some code to keep track of them. Add the following above the
Now you can use these methods in the
if/elseblock within the
checkMergeStatusmethod and add the
idof the pull request when there’s a merge conflict. When the
idhas already been added, the notification is skipped. When there is no longer a merge conflict, the
idis removed from the list:
Hubot has a
robot.brainmethod that lets you store key-values to Redis. This could also be used to keep track of the id’s, but for now this is how I made it work.
You can deploy your Hubot to Heroku. Hubot provides documentation on how to do that.
I hope these 3 posts have helped you get an idea of how Hubot works, the advantages of a chatbot in general and how it can enhance your productivity/workflow.
Happy hacking :)Read more
As a product-y person, you are usually required to communicate often and with many people. How do you make sure you still have time for “deep work”?
None other than David Allen, creator of the Getting Things Done Time Management method, opened the evening. He made an entertaining plea for you to not attempt to store all your new ideas in your brain. That thing is already busy enough dealing with the 50.000 conscious and subconscious decisions you make each day. “Your mind is a crappy office.” Tough to argue with.
David also gave the crowd a sense of how his company has been running on Holacracy –an operating system for organizations– for the past 6 years.
This served as a nice bridge to Jaap-Willem Mol from VergaderVerkalking (“if you’re not Dutch and you manage to pronounce that, I’ll buy you a beer”). Jaap-Willem talked about the three basic principles that lie central to effective meetings: rules, roles and feedback. He had a good tip: find inspiration for more effective meetings in the Holacracy Tactical & Governance meeting at Springest video produced by VergaderVerkalking.
Dennis Paagman, Product Owner & Developer at Springest, closed the round of presentations. He showed how GTD & Holacracy help us be productive and aligned on our goals, from the whole company down to each circle and individual role. Some concrete examples included quick peeks at our publicly visible & continuously evolving Holacratic structure at roles.springest.com, and an example of our actual current OKRs (Objectives and Key Results).
ProductTank organizer Iris van de Kieft closed the event by hosting a nice panel session with the three speakers and an engaged audience.
Thanks to the audience, the speakers and ProductTank. We love hosting meetups at our Springest HQ (with a view over the IJ river!). For example, we’re actively involved in the Amsterdam & Netherlands communities for Product, Holacracy and Ruby. So, reach out to Dennis if you’re interested! We’re also hiring backend/frontend/full-stack developers, spread the word!
Photo’s taken by Mark Mulder, Developer at Springest.Read more
This is the second out of three posts where I will explain how to hook up Hubot to Github’s API. The goal of these posts is to get notified in Slack when your pull request becomes unmergeable.
If you have never worked with Hubot in Slack before, read the first post: “Hubot: get it running locally in Slack”
Github offers an extensive API to connect to your repositories and automate your daily development workflow. Their documentation is very detailed and extensive and they have excellent guides to help you get started. For the goal of this post, I’ll focus on Pull Request events.
Enable Github’s Pull Request events
As said above, the goal of this project is to get notified in Slack when a merge-conflict occurs. Luckily, Github supports webhooks. That means you can get them to notify you whenever an event, like a push or a commit, happens, which in turn enables you to check the status of your pull request. Read more about all the events at https://developer.github.com/webhooks/
Send events to a webhook.
When an event happens on a pull request, Github gathers all relevant data and sends that event (a payload) to the URL of your choosing. This is called a webhook.
To set this up, go to the settings page of your repository. Select
Webhooks. Then click the
add webhookbutton. You have to provide a so called payload URL which is the webhook URL. Since you are running everything locally, you do not yet have a public URL.
Set up ngrok
Ngrok is a tool that enables you to expose your local webserver to the internet. Download it here. Unzip it from your bot’s directory. This will install a small executable in your bot’s root directory:
Run it on port 8080, which is Hubot’s default port:
You should see something like this:
You can use the
http://URL for now, you can open that in your browser to see a nifty web interface.
Set up the webhook.
Copy and paste the entire URL, ending with
.iointo the Payload URL field of the form. Append
/hubot/github/generalto the URL. The
/hubotpart is important because it is a requirement. The next part, in this example
/github, can be anything you like and
/generalis the room’s name in Slack (which you are free to change as well).
Make sure the content type is set to
application/jsonand skip the secret field for now. The secret is used to protect your endpoint so we know that messages are coming from Github, but for brevity we’ll leave this up to you, the reader.
Let me select individual events. In this case you only want to receive
pull requestevents. Click
Note: Every time you restart ngrok, you’ll get a new URL. Make sure to update it in your Github repo settings.
Test the webhook.
You will see a list of recent payload deliveries underneath your webhook form right after you save it. There is also a red error mark next to the first delivery.
Now check ngrok in your console. You should see this:
This means 2 things:
- The request was received by your local server. Yay!
- The endpoint it’s routed to, doesn’t exist yet.
Note: If you do not have your bot running, you’ll see a 502 Bad Gateway error.
Make Hubot listen to the webhook
In order to get rid of the 404 error, you have to setup an endpoint in your bot that will execute your code when a payload is received. In your favorite editor (I use Vim), create a new coffeescript file called
github.coffeeinside your bot’s
First things first, export a function:
This is a requirement and part of the anatomy of a Hubot script. The robot parameter is an instance of your bot.
Create the endpoint:
robot.routeris a built-in Hubot method. By adding
.postyou create a route for POST requests. Naturally, if you want to create a route for GET request, you simply call
'/hubot/github/:room'is the webhook URL you set up in your Github repo, where
:roomis a variable you have to define. The callback,
(req, res)is called when a POST request comes in. Save the room name and the JSON object that contains all data in 2 variables:
data. Then, to check that it works, the pull request’s number is printed out and will show up in your terminal.
Finally, you want to tell Github you’ve successfully processed the request. You can do that by sending a success response:
That’s it! Your Hubot is now listening to pull request events from Github. You can now move on to do stuff with the data you receiveRead more
This is the first out of three posts where I will explain how we hooked up Hubot to Github’s API. The goal of this is to get notified in Slack when your pull request becomes unmergeable.
A Springest Hackday idea
At Springest we hold regular hackdays. The purpose of these days is to learn, have fun together and work on something that is related to Springest, but isn’t part of our daily work-routine. It can be anything from hanging a swing in the office to building the company’s internal Facebook app called Sputr.
Starting the day, we all share our ideas during stand-up and we get to work. Either solo or in a team.
‘Get slack notifications when a pull request becomes unmergeable’ was one of the ideas on our hackday-list that I thought was interesting to work on.
In this post, I’ll explain how to run Hubot locally in Slack, so you can test-drive your code.
So what is Hubot, anyway?
Hubot is a chat bot by Github. It is open source and written in CoffeeScript and Node.js. You can automate processes with Hubot through scripts, or just add some flavor to your team’s culture. At Springest, our bot is called ‘Ingrid’. She notifies us about all sorts of things that happen on the Springest website and we can tell her to do stuff for us, like deploying, share support ticket info or give someone karma. All by messaging in Slack.
Slack is a messaging app for teams. Messaging is categorized in channels that everyone is free to follow or not. It enables us to easily communicate with each other.
To install Hubot, you need to follow these instructions:
Node.js and npm
Open your console and check if you have installed node.js and npm:
If nothing exists, install node.js by downloading it here. This will also install npm.
Make sure you have the latest version of npm installed, by running:
If you have never installed hubot before, you need to install its generator. Otherwise you can skip this step.
Let’s run it!
Now that you have the generator, add a directory for your bot and create it. I asked my six-year-old son what name he would give a robot, if he would have one. He said ‘Stone’ because robots are hard like stone. So I called it Stone for this example, no questions asked.
Create your bot (just hit ‘enter’ for all questions) :
Check if it is alive and kicking by running:
If all went well, you should now be able to chat with your bot in the console. Type ‘your-bot-name the rules’ and see if you get a reply.
Move from console to Slack
Create an account on Slack if you do not have one yet. I’ve created my own personal channel, to test this bot before implementing the code in Ingrid, our company bot. Once you have your own channel set up, go to
https:// yourslackchannel .slack.com/apps/A0F7XDU93-hubotand click on the green button, ‘Add Configuration’.
Add your bot’s username and hit ‘Add Hubot Configuration’.
Keep this page open, because you need to copy the environment variable in order to run your bot in Slack.
Now that you’ve configured your bot in Slack, and got your token, you have to install the Slack adapter and your bot is setup to run locally:
Open Slack on your computer and restart your bot with Slack’s environment variable, followed by a call to hubot’s scripts, plus the adapter flag:
Invite your bot to your #random Slack channel (
/invite @botname) and test it out by typing
@botname pug me
Congratulations! You are now ready to hook up Github’s pull request events.Read more
This is the third and last post in this Vim series. You might be interested in reading through my previous posts before you continue reading (especially if you are a real beginner):
In this post we will talk about buffers, tabs, windows and the different modes that you can find in Vim. Let’s jump in!
Buffers, windows and tabs
If you are moving to Vim from another editor like SublimeText or Atom, you are used to working with tabs in a certain way. Specifically, a tab represents an open file, and as soon as you close it, it goes away. A web browser follows this same principle as well.
Vim has a system for tabs too, but it works in a completely different way from what you are used to. I got quite confused by this when I first started with Vim, so don’t panic if that’s the case for you as well. You are not alone!
In Vim, there are three levels of view abstraction: buffers, windows, and tabs. Let’s look at each of them from the ground up, since it’s the best way to understand the differences in concept and learn how to use them properly.
A buffer in Vim is an open instance of a file. This means that the file may not be visible on the current screen, but it is saved somewhere in memory.
Whenever you open a file in Vim, that file gets put into a buffer that will remain in memory until you explicitly delete it with a call to
:bdelete. You can list all buffers currently open within a Vim session by typing
Let’s look at some other useful commands:
zz- Center the current line within the window
zt- Bring the current line to the top of the window
zb- Bring the current line to the bottom of the window
Although files in Vim’s buffer may not be visible at all times, its functionality is analogous to how you use tabs in familiar text editors.
A window in Vim is a viewport onto a single buffer. You can open a new window with
:vsplit, including a filename in the call. This opens your file as a new buffer (again, similar to a tab in a traditional editor) and opens a new window to display it.
This is what a Vim session with multiple windows open (horizontally and vertically) looks like:
Windows are also referred to as Splits.
Let’s look at some useful commands:
:new [filename]- Open a new window above the current window
:vnew [filename]- Open a new window beside the current window
:split <filename>- Edit the specified file in new window above the current window
:vsplit <filename>- Edit the specified file in a new window beside the current window
<Ctrl-w>h,j,k,l- Navigate to the window in the given direction
Finally, a tab in Vim is a collection of one or more windows. This allows you to group windows in a useful way.
Let’s look at some related commands:
:tabnew- Open a new tab
:tabedit <filename>- Edit the file with the provided name in a new tab
gt- Go to next tab open
gT- Go to previous tab
<Ctrl-w>T- Break the current window out to a new tab
Enough about navigation for now. Let’s move on and talk about the different modes that you will find in Vim’s world!
Vim is a “modal” editor, which means it has various modes that change its behavior in response to your key presses. This modal nature is at the core of Vim’s power, so it’s very important to understand it in order to use Vim in the most efficient way.
Vim has three different modes: insert, normal and visual. Let’s now look at them one at a time.
When you use other editors like SublimeText or Atom, you’re always working in insert mode. In this mode, characters appear immediately in the buffer as you type them. You can enter insert mode by pressing
iin normal mode.
However, Vim prioritizes moving through a file and making targeted edits, which are done in normal mode.
Normal mode is the default mode Vim starts in. You are expected to be in this mode the most of your time, while using all motions and operations that we saw in the previous post.
This fits with the idea that we, as developers, spend the majority of our time moving and editing within a document, rather than simply adding long blocks of text.
In more familiar text editors, a block of text can be selected by clicking the mouse and dragging over a number of lines or characters. Vim introduces Visual model, which allows you to reuse all motion commands and operators that there are to manipulate blocks of text.
Enter Visual mode by pressing
vin normal mode. Move the cursor using all the normal motions, and Vim will highlight from where you started to where you move the cursor. You can use a number of keys such as
cto operate on the visual selection, similar to how these keys would operate in normal mode.
Sometimes you will need to operate on entire lines. Visual Line Mode turns out to be very useful in these cases, and it can be started by pressing
Vfrom normal mode.
But what about selecting a column of text? Vim’s got you covered too, enter Visual Block Mode by pressing
<Ctrl-v>from normal mode. Here is a list of the common visual block operations and their mapping:
x- Delete the visual block selection
c- Change the visual block selection
r- Replace all characters in the block with the next character you type
I- Insert text before the block
A- Insert text after the block
Be aware that when you change or add any new text, Vim will only show the change happening in the first line of the block. After you complete the change/insertion and hit
<esc>, it will replicate to all lines.
If you only take one thing away from reading this blog post, let it be this: Normal mode is your best friend!
Avoid staying in insert mode for extended periods of time. And also, don’t move along the file while in insert mode. It might be difficult in the beginning, but once you get used to it, you will see how much faster you become. ;)
This series is a quick introduction to the infinite world of Vim. It is a tool help you get started, but remember that learning Vim is a nonstop continuous process. Stay on it, make it part of your daily life, and every time that you find yourself doing something in a very inefficient way, you know what to do… Go online, look for a friend and ask for help!Read more
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