GitHub Secrets

GitHub secrets are intended for use by GitHub Actions workflows. If you want a workflow to interact with something that requires authentication, you will likely need to create a secret which will allow authentication to happen securely without making any private information available to anybody having access to the repositories.

There are three levels that GitHub secrets can exist at: organization, repo, and environment.

An organization secret belongs to the eclipse-pass organization and is available to workflows that are part of any repository that exists under the eclipse-pass organization. Secrets that will be used across many repositories should be placed here to prevent duplication.

A repository secret exists within that repository and can only be used by workflows belonging to that repository.

An environment secret exists within a specific environment within a repository. It can only be used by workflows belonging to that repository and the workflow must specify the environment that it’s using.

Creating Secrets

GitHub offers two mechanisms for creating secrets: UI and API.

The GitHub UI requires that a person creating a secret have admin privileges for that entity (either org or repo). Since members of the PASS project don’t have admin privileges at any level, we need to open a ticket with Eclipse to add secrets through the UI.

Oddly, the GitHub API allows the creation of repository secrets with repo privileges. All members of the PASS project should have sufficient privileges to do so.

To create a repository or environment secret, use the script in this repo like so:

python -u <username> -t <token> -r <repo> -n <name> -v <value> [-e <environment>]

To create an organization secret, a ticket must be opened with the Eclipse Help Desk.

Reading Secrets

The value of a secret can only be read by GitHub Actions workflows.

The metadata associated with a secret can be retrieved with the script by omitting the value. The returned data includes the secret’s name, created_at, and updated_at. This is primarily useful for verifying that a secret exists where you expect it to be.

Secrets in GitHub Actions workflows

To access a GitHub secret from a top-level workflow, you can reference it from within the secrets context like this:


If you want to use a secret in a reusable or “called” workflow, you must pass the secrets that will be used. To do this, when you reference the workflow you additionally provide a secrets property containing a list of the secrets that must be passed.

In this example two secrets, KUBE_CONFIG and DIGITALOCEAN_ACCESS_TOKEN are being passed to the html-app-publish.yml workflow:

    name: Build and Publish Docker image
    uses: eclipse-pass/playground/.github/workflows/html-app-publish.yml@main

Within the called workflow, you must declare the secrets that can be expected like this:

        required: true
        description: Configuration info for test k8s cluster
        required: true
        description: Access token for Digital Ocean

The secret can now be referenced within the workflow as it would be from a top-level workflow: