Using Codeship Basic to Test and Deploy Node Express Applications

Written by: Taylor Jones

Codeship offers developers a vast array of possibilities when creating a continuous integration and deployment pipeline for their applications. I want to focus today on how to build a solid CI/CD pipeline for any kind of JavaScript-based application with Codeship.

Setting Up Your Local Environment

We’ll kick things off by configuring our local application. Once downloaded, we can test out the Docker build process by running:

With our application downloaded locally, we can test out the build process by running docker-compose build ..

This command will tell Docker to pull in all our dependencies and build our container ecosystem. Once the container build is finished, we’ll be able to run commands from within the container. More specifically, a successful container build allows us to run our test suite by using the following command:

docker-compose -p tests run -p 3000 --rm web npm run test -- --forceExit

Our containers will then boot up, run our test suite, and exit. All of the tests should pass with flying colors. With a passing test suite in hand, we’ll now be able to move on to translating our setup for Codeship.

Setting Up Your Codeship Basic Project

With a local instance of our Dockerized application set up, we now can start building our Codeship build and deployment process.

First, we’ll log into Codeship, navigate to the Projects tab, and create a new project. We’ll then select our method of Source Control (GitHub, Bitbucket, GitLab) and point Codeship toward our application. After our application connects, we’ll be presented with the option of making our project a Codeship Pro or Codeship Basic project. For this example, we’ll be running with Codeship Basic.

Next up is the formulation of Setup Commands. Our setup for Node Express applications is formulated almost exactly as if were configuring our application locally without Docker.

psql -p 5432 -c 'create database todos;'
npm install
npm run migrate

With our Setup Commands formulated, we’ll move on to creating the Test Pipeline. With Codeship Basic, we only have one pipeline at our disposal. Each of these setups will run in sequence, instead of parallel. For our application, this won’t come too much into play since we only have one pipeline command needed:

npm test -- --forceExit

This command will run our NPM tests for our application on Codeship.

Finally, we’ll navigate over to the Environment tab and set two variables for our project.


Setting these variables gives two important pieces of information to our Codeship application. One is the database URL. We need to tell our application information about the database we’ve created. We also need to set the test environment of the application.

With our Codeship CI pipeline in place, we can now save our setup steps and move on to testing the configuration! We can trigger a new build by committing new changes to your local project.

git add --all
git commit -m "my first codeship build"
git push origin master

This process should trigger our Codeship build pipeline and yield a successful build on Codeship.

Mixing In Heroku Deployment

With our passing Codeship build, we’ll now set up the Heroku deployment step in our pipeline. On our Codeship Project page, we’ll select Project Settings and click on the Deploy tab.

To start things off, we’ll need to add our Codeship project’s SSH key to the application. We can find our project’s SSH key under the General tab in project settings. Create a .pub file locally and add it to Heroku via the command line:

heroku keys:add

This will allow Codeship to communicate and push to Heroku if our test suite passes.

Next, we’ll configure the deployment pipeline on Codeship’s side. To start this, we need to grab our Heroku API Key:

  • Click on your avatar in the upper right, then click Account Settings.

  • Near the bottom of the settings page, you will find an API key. Click Reveal.

  • Copy the API key.

With the API key copied, navigate to the Deploy tab under project settings. Find the Heroku tile and click on it. You’ll then be asked for your application name (as in, what it's named on Heroku) and your API key. Fill out those fields and click Create Deployment.

To test out our new deployment step, make a quick code change to the README of the application and commit the results. This should trigger our pipeline that should follow this pattern:

  • Download and configure your project on Codeship.

  • If configuration is successful, run tests on project.

  • If tests pass, deploy the application to Heroku.

Once this process fully completes without any errors, you then will have a successful Codeship CI/CD pipeline!

Wrapping Up

With a rock-solid testing and deployment pipeline in place, we can now rapidly develop and deploy in record time. While Codeship Basic is incredibly effective for accomplishing this, Codeship Pro offers even more possibilities and potential for our processes.

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