Dockstore GitHub App


The Dockstore GitHub App is currently only used for Dockstore Services, which are in beta mode. Usage of Dockstore GitHub App will be expanded in future releases to encompass workflows and tools, so the concepts here will eventually apply to all Dockstore entities.


This document gives a high level overview of the GitHub Apps and the Dockstore GitHub App in particular. For details on configuring and using the Dockstore GitHub App with services, please walk through the Getting Started with Services tutorial.

With the Dockstore GitHub App, authors do not need to manually refresh their services on Dockstore to get the latest changes from GitHub. Dockstore will automatically update whenever the service is updated on GitHub.

GitHub Apps

GitHub apps are a GitHub feature used to improve the interaction between external applications and GitHub. Users can grant a GitHub app specific permissions on the repos and/or organizations of their choosing. When events occur on the GitHub repos, e.g., creating a new release, the GitHub App issues notifications.

Why have a Dockstore GitHub App?

Without a GitHub App, Dockstore does not know when you have modified a GitHub repository.

For example, take the case when you first add a tool or workflow to Dockstore from GitHub. Dockstore indexes the repository – it reads the the relevant repository content, branches, and releases from GitHub. When you subsequently make changes to your GitHub repo, such as push new commits, create new branches and/or publish new releases, Dockstore is unaware of those changes. You are responsible for going to Dockstore, finding the tool/workflow that corresponds to the GitHub repo, and manually refreshing the tool/workflow by either clicking the Refresh button or making an API call to the Dockstore API.

Due to the manual nature of this process, it is easy for Dockstore to get out of sync with the linked GitHub repository.

How the Dockstore GitHub App works

With the Dockstore GitHub App, the synchronization is done automatically. When you publish a new release of a service on GitHub, Dockstore is notified, and Dockstore updates its copy of the service. After you publish a new release of a service on GitHub, a new version of the service will be present in Dockstore shortly afterwards.