Run pipelines locally

This tutorial describes how to trigger pipelines locally

Run a pipeline locally

This topic provides a step-by-step tutorial for running a Dispatchfile locally powered by KIND. Local runner is a handy way to run a Dispatchfile on a git repository locally. The runners handles the end to end flow of a creating a kubernetes cluster (using KIND), installing Dispatch on to the cluster and then running the tests on the cluster. Optional flags exist to teardown the KIND cluster at the end of the run.


  • Some basic knowledge of git.
  • Dispatch CLI installed in the environment.
  • Docker daemon running in the environment.

Use Dispatch CLI to run the Dispatchfile on a user’s machine:

  1. Run the dispatch ci run local ... command on a locally cloned repository.
  2. Dispatch CLI starts a KIND cluster (or --kind-context can be used to specify the name of an existing KIND cluster to reuse).
  3. Dispatch CLI installs Dispatch in the KIND cluster.
  4. The local repository is mounted into the KIND cluster and is used for running Dispatchfile as tekton pipelineruns.

Set up a repository

Do a dispatch --version and ensure that the CLI is at least 1.2.0 or above. Clone the repository of interest to a local working directory. For the purpose of this tutorial, we will use the hello world application described in hello-world tutorial. Start with an empty directory and add the following files. Skip this step if you already have a repository with a valid Dispatchfile:

Note: Skip the following if you are cloning a git repository. Create an empty directory and add the following files:

cat <<EOF | > main.go
package main

import "fmt"

func main() {
	fmt.Printf("Hello %v!", World())

func World() string {
	return "World"
cat <<EOF | > main_test.go
package main

import (

func Test_World(t *testing.T) {
	actual := World()
	if actual != "World" {
cat <<EOF | > Dispatchfile
# vi:syntax=python

load("", "git_resource", "git_checkout_dir")

git = git_resource("helloworld-git")

        command=["go", "test", "-v", "./..."])])

Ensure that the go test works on the code manually:

go test ./...

The results should look like the following:

=== RUN   Test_World
--- PASS: Test_World (0.00s)

This is completely optional and is intended to get a feel of how the output would look. Next, lets make sure that the Dispatchfile renders correctly using the Dispatch CLI:

dispatch ci render -f Dispatchfile

The results should look like the following:

# vi:syntax=yaml

      revision: $(context.git.commit)
      url: $(context.git.url)
    type: git
    - command:
      - go
      - test
      - ./...
      image: golang:1.15.7-buster
      name: unit-test-simple
      resources: {}
      workingDir: $(resources.inputs.helloworld-git.path)

Now that the source code is setup correctly, run the Dispatchfile locally.

Run the tests with local files

The local runner can be used as follows to run the unit-test-simple task from Dispatchfile:

dispatch ci run local --task unit-test-simple
  • This command assumes that the git repo (directory containing .git folder) exists in the current working directory. You can override it using the --git-repo flag.
  • To retain the cluster (for debugging, reuse etc.,) pass --skip-cluster-delete flag.
  • To install certain manifests into the cluster, the --with-file flag can be specified.
  • Both --task flag and --with-file flag can be specified multiple number of times.

Note These commands take a while if you are running for the first time, but the subsequent runs are faster.

Running tests on unstaged or untracked files

By default, the local runner consumes all the unstaged files (changes exist in your working directory, but Git hasn’t recorded them into its version history yet) in the given directory and runs the specified tasks on them.

To run the tests on a specific revision (e.g.: a specific branch or tag or event a commit SHA), the --revision flag can be specified. Example:

dispatch ci run local --task unit-test-simple --revision HEAD

Or, in order to run the tests on ALL local changes (untracked - file exists locally, but isn’t a part of the Git repository) --untracked flag can be exercised:

dispatch ci run local --task unit-test-simple --untracked

This would run the tests on all local files including those that are not tracked by git.