Get Current Branch Name in GitHub Actions with GITHUB_REF and Bash

Say you need to get current branch name in your GitHub Actions workflow.

You can use the GITHUB_REF variable which contains a full path like refs/heads/feature-branch-1 but you need only the last pah segment i.e feature-branch-1.

You need to add a step for extracting the branch name from the $GITHUB_REF variable and make it the step output as follows:

- name: Extract branch name
  shell: bash
  run: echo "##[set-output name=branch;]$(echo ${GITHUB_REF#refs/heads/})"
  id: extract_branch

Please note that if you are using a pull request trigger to run your GitHub action, the GITHUB_REF variable will contain something like refs/pull/421/merge so if you will try to git push to that name it will most likely fail.

As a solution, you can use references on the GitHub context in your YAML e.g. $.

You can also use the nelonoel/branch-name action as follows:

name: build
on: push

    runs-on: ubuntu-latest
    - uses: actions/checkout@v1
    - run: npm ci
    - uses: nelonoel/branch-name@v1
    # Use branch name for whatever purpose
    - run: echo ${BRANCH_NAME}

This is another example of a workflow for push and pull_request triggers:

name: getBranchName
on: [pull_request, push]

    runs-on: ubuntu-latest
      # extract branch name
      - name: Extract branch name
        if: github.event_name != 'pull_request'
        shell: bash
        run: echo "::set-env name=BRANCH_NAME::$(echo ${GITHUB_REF#refs/heads/})"
        id: extract_branch

      # extract branch name on pull request
      - name: Print branch name
        if: github.event_name == 'pull_request'
        run: echo "::set-env name=BRANCH_NAME::$(echo ${GITHUB_HEAD_REF})"

      # print branch name
      - name: Get branch name
        run: echo 'The branch name is' $BRANCH_NAME


  • Author: Techiediaries Team