Commit data for GitHub Actions

How to get correct git commit information when using GitHub Actions

Update Jan 30, 2024

@currents/playwright@0.12.0 and cypress-cloud@1.10.0 better detect Pull Request information when running in GitHub Actions

The recent (Jan 30, 2024) releases of @currents/playwright@0.12.0 and cypress-cloud@1.10.0 better handle git information when running in GitHub Actions triggered by `pull_request` trigger.

  • PR title becomes Run Title (instead of a generic message PR #XX)

  • Effective Branch becomes the PR HEAD branch name - allowing more meaningful usage in analytics and notification filters

  • UI will display a direct link to GitHub Pull Request issue

Temporary commit in GitHub Pull Requests

Running tests using GitHub Actions can generate confusing git information. For example, instead of the last commit message (or pull request title), one can see something like:

Merge de7282540ac30ee4e32a0b1fede4f6391b4cc321 into fa58941d8a807b83ec5a3e5bfb83418ce12173c7

Also, the branch name becomes refs/pull/12/merge instead of the expected branch name. Why is that happening?

That happens when your GitHub Actions workflow is triggered by pull_request.

It changes the behaviour of @actions/checkout - it creates a new merge commit, which is created from merging the base to the head.


  • it performs git checkout to github.ref environment variable

  • it sets the git ref to refs/remotes/pull/##/merge

  • it sets the commit SHA to an arbitrary value that is different from the commit that triggered the workflow

For example, a developer creates a pull request from the feat/login branch to be merged into the main branch with the title "Add new login feature". When the GitHub Actions workflow is triggered, instead of checking out the feat/login branch, the action creates a merge commit. In the GitHub Actions log, the commit message appears as "Merge de7282540ac30ee4e32a0b1fede4f6391b4cc321 into fa58941d8a807b83ec5a3e5bfb83418ce12173c7", which is a merge of the feat/login branch into the main branch. Consequently, the branch name in the CI environment shows as refs/pull/12/merge, not the expected feat/login.

To change the default behaviour and checkout the triggering commit, use the following @actions/checkout configuration

- uses: actions/checkout@v2
    ref: ${{ github.event.pull_request.head.sha }}

The workflow will check out the last commit from the head branch of the pull request that triggered the workflow. Beware, that this approach might not detect issues that could arise when the pull request is eventually merged into the base branch. If the base branch has been updated since the pull request was created, there might be merge conflicts or integration issues that won't be detected with this configuration.

Read more about GitHub Actions and pull_request (by

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