GitHub Actions Workflow Functions: Understanding always with Examples

GitHub Actions Workflow Functions: Understanding always with Examples

Hello, GitHub enthusiasts! Today, we’ll be exploring a key function used in GitHub Actions workflows – always. This function enables us to control workflow progression, ensuring certain steps are executed regardless of the status of prior steps or jobs.

Understanding the always Function

In GitHub Actions, the always function is used in conditional checks to ensure that a step or a job always runs, no matter the outcome of the previous operation.

The syntax is straightforward:

  • always(): Returns true, ensuring that the step or job it’s placed in will always run.

This function is typically used with the if conditional keyword to manage the execution of steps or jobs within your workflows.

Let’s dig into some examples to see how this function can be applied in practical scenarios.

Using always in a Step

Suppose you have a workflow where, regardless of the outcome of the previous step, you want to run a clean-up operation. Here’s how you can achieve that:

In this case, the Cleanup step will run irrespective of whether the Run tests step was successful or failed, due to the if: always() condition.

Using always in a Job

The always function can also manage the execution of an entire job, irrespective of the outcome of a prior job. For example:

Here, the cleanup job will run regardless of whether the build job was successful or failed, as indicated by the if: always() condition.


The always function in GitHub Actions provides you with a means to ensure certain operations are performed in your workflows, regardless of the success or failure of preceding steps or jobs. By mastering this function, you can design more resilient and controlled CI/CD pipelines.

Remember, GitHub Actions offers a wide array of functions to make your workflows more powerful and flexible. By learning how to use these effectively, you can create workflows that are more robust and can adapt to your project’s unique requirements. Happy coding!