Organization Workflows

Need to centrally manage and run Actions workflows across multiple repositories? This app does it for you.
Screenshot of Organization Workflows app
Screenshot of Organization Workflows app






June 30, 2022

Used By

Santandersecurityresearch octodemo kleeadrian visibilitysaurus RohitDemo nike-cis-automation Bunnings-Engineering MyOrgLab edisonsolutions dockerbuilds

Organization workflows app

This GitHub app allows you to centrally manage and run multiple GitHub Actions workflows across multiple repositories. Currently this is a limitation in GitHub Actions, as it only allows you to configure and manage Actions workflows on a repository level. This app helps you - for example - to centrally define central workflows for linting, compliance checks, and more.


You can install the app by clicking here. Make sure you install it on all repositories:

Screenshot 2020-12-18 at 17 12 00

If you don't want to install it on all repositories, then make sure to at least include the .github repository of your organization.

Screenshot 2020-12-18 at 17 14 27

After you install the app, you can create a centrally managed workflow. There are a couple of things to keep in mind when you do this:

Listening to the right event

This app dispatches workflow runs with the repository_dispatch event and the org-workflow-bot type. Create a new workflow in the .github/workflows directory of your organization's .github repository with the yml definition below:

name: compliance-check 

    types: [org-workflow-bot]  # <-- requirement to trigger central workflows 

Registering the run

To let this app keep track of Action runs and expose this information back to the original commit in the source repository it needs to register the workflow run. Like in the example below, start the workflow by registering the run. After this you can add your steps and jobs like you would in a typical Actions workflow.

name: compliance-check 

    types: [org-workflow-bot]  
    runs-on: ubuntu-latest
    - uses: SvanBoxel/organization-workflow@main
        id: $
        callback_url: $
        sha: $
        run_id: $
        name: $ # Default: name of workflow. This name is shown with the check, but can be changed.

# ... the checks and jobs that need to happen in your workflow.

Make sure to not change the id, callback_url, sha, and run_id. The name argument is shown next to the check on the original commit and can be changed. (default is the name of the workflow)

Screenshot 2020-12-22 at 10 05 34

(☝ source repository)

You have the possibilty to show the user specific documentation or enforce specific checks, see Action inputs for more information about this.

👀 Optional: If you don't register the run, the workflow is triggered without providing information to the user that pushed the commit like in the image above. You can still manually provide this information using one of the Check Actions that is available in the GitHub Marketplace.

Checking out code

Because the GITHUB_SECRET is scoped to the repository it is running in, you need to leverage the GitHub App to get access to the repository that triggered the workflow. You can use the repository, ref, and token that is supplied in the dispatch payload by the app for this:

    - name: Checkout
      uses: actions/checkout@v2.3.4
        repository: $
        ref: $
        token: $
    - name: Markdown Lint  

❗ The token in the dispatch payload is redacted in the workflow logs and cannot be used by users that only have read access to the .github repository. Any user who has push access to the main branch of the .github repository can however use this token in a workflow and execute commands that are within the scope of this application. (See App permissions)

🚀 Ready to go

You're ready to go! Two examples of centralized workflow can be found here, an example organization that uses this app here, and this video explains from start to end how to set it up yourself.

App permissions

This app needs the following permissions:

  • Repository admimistration: To set or enforce protected branch settings.
  • Checks: To interact with the checks API.
  • Contents: To checkout the code in a workflow run.
  • Metadata: To retrieve repository metadata information.

How it works

When installed in an organization, the app's logic is triggered by any push event. When this happens, the app collects all relevant information and dispatches this to the .github repository of your organization. Here, all central workflow files configured with the repository_dispatch event and org-workflow-bot type are triggered.

To map commits, checks, and workflow run, and to make sure workflows can rerun without any problem, some data persistence is needed. Because of this you need to register the run at the start of a workflow. When the workflow finishes the app retrieves what source repository and commit triggered the central workflow, and exposes the workflow results back to the original commit. This data (source repository, check id, sha, and run id) is automatically removed after 90 days.

Action inputs

  • id (required): ID of run (provided by GitHub app via
  • run_id (required): ID of workflow run (provided via GitHub syntax github.run_id)
  • name (required): Name of check (Use github.workflow to use the name of the workflow)
  • callback_url (required): Callback url for register call (provided by GitHub app via github.event.client_payload.callback_url)
  • sha (required): Sha of original commit (provided by GitHub app via github.event.client_payload.sha)
  • enforce: Enforce required status check. Default: false
  • enforce_admin Enforce required status check for admins. Default: false
  • documentation: Link to documentation of this check. This is shown with the status check on the original commit. (eg .github/workflows/ Default: null
    - uses: SvanBoxel/organization-workflow@main
        id: $
        callback_url: $
        sha: $
        run_id: $
        name: $
        enforce: true
        enforce_admin: true
        documentation: ""



A Codespaces environment is defined so you can get started right away. Open this repository in the codespace and run npm run dev to start the app in development mode. It will prompt you to follow a couple of instruction to configure your GitHub app and set your .env values.

Screenshot 2020-12-22 at 13 29 01

This codespaces comes and configured installed with:

  • A local MongoDB environment
  • Localtunnel for webhook and request forwarding
  • NodeJS

Setup locally

This app depends on NodeJS to run the application and MongoDB for data persistence. Follow the following steps to run this app locally:

# Install dependencies
npm install

Then, copy .env.example to .env and populate it with your MongoDB host and credentials and your proxy url. Make sure to run a tool like ngrok or localtunnel to expose your application to the internet. is not supported, as it is a webhook proxy service and cannot forward Express endpoint calls

Now you can run the app with the following command:

npm run build:watch

This will prompt you to visit http://localhost:3000 and configure the app on the GitHub side. After you do this it will automatically populate the APP_ID, WEBHOOK_SECRET and PRIVATE_KEY field in the .env file.

Build, test, and run

npm run build
npm test
npm run start


You can find a Terraform definition in the ./infra directory for deployments to Azure.


If you have suggestions for how this GitHub app could be improved, or want to report a bug, open an issue! We'd love all and any contributions.

For more, check out the Contributing Guide.


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