Building a CI/CD pipeline for a Google App Engine site using CircleCI

In this article, we will build a CI/CD pipeline for a Google App Engine Site using CircleCI.
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Building a CI/CD pipeline for a Google App Engine site using CircleCI

In this article, we will build a CI/CD pipeline for a Google App Engine Site using CircleCI.

In this article, we will build a CI/CD pipeline for a Google App Engine Site using CircleCI.


  • Python installed on your system
  • Google Cloud CLI installed

What we are building

  • Documentation site and connect it to GCP (Google Cloud Platform)
  • Using CircleCI for automation

What is CircleCI?

CircleCI is a popular choice for software engineers, particularly DevOps engineers when working on automation and overall CI/CD integrations. The CI/CD platform helps software teams automate the process of building, testing, and deploying code. As a cloud-based platform, CircleCI allows you to seamlessly integrate with any version control system you choose, such as GitHub, Bitbucket, or GitLab. However, we will be working with GitHub on this article.

One cool thing about CircleCI is that it lets developers define pipelines that automate the process of building, testing, and deploying code. Pipelines are composed of jobs, which are individual steps in the CI/CD process. Jobs can be configured to run on various platforms, including Linux, macOS, and Windows.

Why Circle CI?

CircleCI is a friendly tool for teams of all sizes, ranging from small startups to large enterprises. No wonder the tool is usually “top of the ladder” during CI/CD integrations. It is a powerful tool that can help teams improve the quality and speed of their software development process.

  • Improved code quality: CircleCI can help enhance code quality by automating the testing process.
  • Reduced deployment time: CircleCI can help reduce the time it takes to deploy code by automating the process of building and deploying.
  • Increased confidence in releases: CircleCI can help increase confidence in releases by ensuring that code is thoroughly tested before deployment.
  • Improved team communication: CircleCI can help to improve team communication by providing a central location for monitoring the progress of builds and tests.

Relevant CircleCI features

Some of the core features of CircleCI include:

  • Parallelism: Jobs can be run in parallel to improve the speed of the CI/CD process.
  • Caching: CircleCI can cache build artifacts and test results to improve the speed of subsequent builds.
  • Notifications: CircleCI can notify team members when builds fail or pass.
  • Monitoring: CircleCI provides a dashboard that allows teams to monitor the progress of their builds and tests.

Getting started

To get started, we first need to create a free GitHub repo (I assume you already know how to do that). The next step is to clone the empty repo. After this, let’s create a Python virtual environment by running the following command on your terminal:

pipenv shell

This is what it should look like after a successful installation:

Next is to run the command:

pip install sphinx

Sphinx is a popular documentation generator written in Python that is widely used for creating high-quality documentation for Python projects. It is known for its ease of use, comprehensive features, and extensive support for various output formats.

The next step is to get a Sphinx quick start. To do this, head over to the get started section of Sphinx’s official site and run this command:


Once you run the command, you get asked a series of questions, exactly the ones in the image below:

Respond to these questions until the whole process is complete.

This whole process creates a build and source directory. We are also going to install Sphinx make files by running this command:

make html

After running the command, your project should look like this in your code editor:

Within the build directory, we have our website files, which look this:

 ┣ 📂doctrees
 ┃ ┣ 📜environment.pickle
 ┃ ┗ 📜index.doctree
 ┗ 📂html
 ┃ ┣ 📂_sources
 ┃ ┃ ┗ 📜index.rst.txt
 ┃ ┣ 📂_static
 ┃ ┃ ┣ 📜alabaster.css
 ┃ ┃ ┣ 📜basic.css
 ┃ ┃ ┣ 📜custom.css
 ┃ ┃ ┣ 📜doctools.js
 ┃ ┃ ┣ 📜documentation_options.js
 ┃ ┃ ┣ 📜file.png
 ┃ ┃ ┣ 📜language_data.js
 ┃ ┃ ┣ 📜minus.png
 ┃ ┃ ┣ 📜plus.png
 ┃ ┃ ┣ 📜pygments.css
 ┃ ┃ ┣ 📜searchtools.js
 ┃ ┃ ┗ 📜sphinx_highlight.js
 ┃ ┣ 📜.buildinfo
 ┃ ┣ 📜genindex.html
 ┃ ┣ 📜index.html
 ┃ ┣ 📜objects.inv
 ┃ ┣ 📜search.html
 ┃ ┗ 📜searchindex.js

When we run our project on localhost:8000, this is what it looks like on the browser:

Congratulations, we have our documentation site live!

Creating a GCP project

In this section, we will create a brand new GCP project to figure out which settings need to be tweaked or updated from the base. The next thing is to create our app engine app.yaml. Google provides a walkthrough on how to host a static website using GAE. Here, we can copy this YAML file:

runtime: python27
api_version: 1
threadsafe: true

- url: /
  static_files: www/index.html
  upload: www/index.html

- url: /(.*)
  static_files: www/1
  upload: www/(.*)

Create an app.yaml file on your editor and paste this code. We then have to edit the YAML file to point it to the proper location where the website files live. To point your Gcloud command line install to this project, use this command:

gcloud init --project=<"project ID">

Here, you will prompted to log in to Google Cloud like this:

Follow the link provided to get your authorization code.

On the GCP dashboard, navigate to “App Engine” and run the command shown there on your terminal:

glcloud app deploy

You will get a prompt asking you to choose the location you would like your app to be deployed:

Choose anyone! and your app will successfully deploy. It’s time to push our code to Github! Alternatively, you can clone my GitHub repo here.

Link Github repo to CircleCI

The first thing you need to do is create a CircleCI account and link your Github to it. The process is pretty straightforward. Our dashboard should look like this after creating and connecting our project to CircleCI.

Next, in our code editor, we will create a folder named .circleci and a config.yaml file inside it which contains a code that works like this: first, it defines a workflow, then, the workflow will say; each time we push to the main branch, run this set of jobs. We will also define that job, which will contain the logic of where we build our documentation site and deploy it to the Google App engine.

  version: 2
      - build_and_deploy:
              - main

CircleCI will only run this workflow when we push to the main branch. Now, to define the job:

      - image: busybox
      - run:
          name: hello world
          command: |
            echo "Hello world"

You can check our formatting with CircleCI. To do this, first install CircleCI CLI and run this command:

circleci config validate


In our CircleCI, you can see the tests, processes, and workflows whenever we push to the main branch on GitHub:

Awesome! We have successfully created a CI/CD pipeline. Now, whenever we make changes to our code base or documentation, we can just push to the main, and CircleCI will pick up that change (as demonstrated in the image above) and the job or workflow and make deployments a few minutes later.


This article provided a step-by-step guide on building a CI/CD pipeline for a Google App Engine site using CircleCI. We covered setting up a Python environment, using Sphinx for documentation, and integrating the project with Google Cloud Platform.

The process demonstrated the benefits of automating deployments via CircleCI, including enhanced code quality, reduced deployment time, and improved team communication. This guide highlights the efficiency and effectiveness of CircleCI in streamlining development processes, making it an invaluable tool for modern software development teams.

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Aviator automates tedious developer workflows by managing git Pull Requests (PRs) and continuous integration test (CI) runs to help your team avoid broken builds, streamline cumbersome merge processes, manage cross-PR dependencies, and handle flaky tests while maintaining their security compliance.

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