Using the Helm Chart-Releaser GitHub Action with Chart Dependencies

A four-line fix helped me use my new favorite GitHub Action.

TL;DR - you should helm repo add any Helm repositories required by your charts before running chart-releaser.

My new favorite GitHub Action is Helm Chart Releaser. This Action makes the functionality of helm/chart-releaser available as a GitHub Workflow. When triggered, the Action will check for updated version numbers of Helm charts in a specified directory. When a new version is detected, the Action will build the chart.

Here’s the best part: once the chart has been built, the Action will push a commit to the gh-pages branch, adding an entry to index.yaml for the new chart release. It will also create a git tag and a GitHub release corresponding to the chart version. The end result is your very own Helm repository, self-hosted using the GitHub Pages environment for the repository.

I wanted to try this out immediately on a personal project which is packaged using Helm charts. However, the first time I triggered the GitHub workflow, it failed with the following error:

Run helm/chart-releaser-action@v1.2.1
Looking up latest tag...
Discovering changed charts since 'v0.4.0'...
Installing chart-releaser...
Adding cr directory to PATH...
Packaging chart 'kubernetes/helm/glortho'...
Error: no repository definition for

I was pretty confused for a moment, as the Bitnami repository was present in the Chart.lock file I submitted. My application uses PostgreSQL as an optional database, and my Chart.yaml file includes Bitnami’s PostgreSQL chart as an optional dependency, in case the user doesn’t want to provision their own external PostgreSQL instance:

  - name: postgresql
    version: "10.9.0"
    repository: ""
    condition: postgres.enabled

The solution

The fix was pretty simple: I needed to helm repo add the Bitnami Helm repository as part of my Chart Releaser workflow, so that chart-releaser would have everything it needed to build my Chart. I added the following step to my helm_release.yaml workflow file, directly after the Install Helm step:

- name: Add Helm dependency repos
  run: |
    helm repo add bitnami
    helm repo update

With this change, the Workflow ran perfectly! The most recent version of my Chart was added to the Helm repository served from GitHub Pages, and a new GitHub Release was created.

Here is the full helm_release.yaml workflow file.

Software Engineer

My interests include Computer Science and Data Visualization.