Accessing GitHub in Tekton Tasks on OpenShift

This article explains how to access GitHub repositories from Tekton tasks on behalf of specific users via ssh.

In my application modernization example I use Tekton pipelines to deploy the modernized cloud-native application. In order to access GitHub, you need to follow these four steps:

  1. Key Creation
  2. GitHub Configuration
  3. Kubernetes Secret Creation
  4. Usage in Tasks

Key Creation

First you need to create the public and private ssh keys.

$ ssh-keygen -t rsa -b 4096 -C ""

Enter the file name, for example ‘/Users/niklasheidloff/.ssh/tekton’ and define no password.

GitHub Configuration

The public key needs to be defined in your GitHub settings.

Get the public key via a command like this and copy the key to the clipboard:

$ cat /Users/niklasheidloff/.ssh/ 

Open your GitHub settings, create a new SSH key and paste it. Call the entry ‘tekton’.

Kubernetes Secret Creation

The private key needs to be put in a Kubernetes secret.

$ cat /Users/niklasheidloff/.ssh/tekton \| base64
$ export GITHUB_SSH_KEY_PRIVATE=your_private_key

This is a template yaml file for the secret:

apiVersion: v1
kind: Secret
  name: git-ssh-key
  namespace: app-mod-argocd-pipelines
  ssh-privatekey: <base64data>

Next the resource in the yaml file needs to be applied.

$ sed "s/<base64data>/${GITHUB_SSH_KEY_PRIVATE}/g" ${ROOT_FOLDER}/scripts-openshift-argocd/argocd-config/tekton-git-ssh-secret.yaml.template > ${ROOT_FOLDER}/scripts-openshift-argocd/argocd-config/tekton-git-ssh-secret.yaml
$ oc apply -f ${ROOT_FOLDER}/scripts-openshift-argocd/argocd-config/tekton-git-ssh-secret.yaml

Usage in Tasks

Check out the sample tasks:

The following snippet shows how to write changes to GitHub. The trick is to use the two lines ‘eval …’ and ‘ssh-add …’ which refer to the private key in the secret. Read the Tekton documentation for more details.

- name: commit-push-changes-gitops
    image: alpine/git:v2.30.2
    workingDir: "$(workspaces.config-source.path)"
    script: |
      #!/usr/bin/env sh
      set -e

      eval $(ssh-agent)
      ssh-add ~/.ssh/id_*

      git config --global ""
      git config --global "Tekton Pipeline"
      git add .
      git commit --allow-empty -m "[Tekton] updating $(params.environment)"
      git push origin main

Note: The working directory needs to be the root path, for example “$(workspaces.config-source.path)”. Other directories cause some weird behaviour and access issues.

Next Steps

To learn more about Tekton, ArgoCD and application modernization, check out my repo.