Adding Test Coverage Badge on GitHub Without Using Third-party Services by@drakulavich

Adding Test Coverage Badge on GitHub Without Using Third-party Services

GitHub doesn’t provide the test coverage badges. There are many third-party services that are paid for the private repos. The article describes how to add the badges to any repo on GitHub with a minimum setup.
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Anton Yakutovich

SDET, MoT Meetup organizer. Automating routine with Java and Python

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It’s easy to add test coverage on GitLab using the built-in feature. One line in .gitlab-ci.yml to rule them all:

  coverage: /\d+.\d+ \% covered/

On the opposite side, GitHub doesn’t provide an option to add the test coverage badge. There are many third-party services for this purpose: codeclimate, codecov, codacy, coveralls. It’s not a problem for an open-source project to use these services, cause they mostly provide a free tier for the open-source.

It hurts if you want to add the coverage badge to a private repository. All 3rd party options are paid. Samurai has two choices:

  1. Use a service to draw a badge based on provided JSON (;
  2. Generate a badge during CI/CD run and store it in the repository.

Both options work. In the first case, you'll have to use an intermediate GitHub Gist, where you'll send the fresh coverage as a JSON file. Not an elegant approach.

You must commit the SVG image to the repository in the second case. I've often seen recipes on the Internet where the badge was committed directly to the main branch. I think this is a bad practice: you'll clog up the history with garbage commits, which are useless by nature.

There is a better choice. GitHub provides Pages service, where you can publish a coverage report for example. Technically, you can publish any static set of HTML files placed in a special gh-pages branch. Looks like an ideal place for storing badges because it will not clog up the history of the main branch.

Take a look at the snippet with URLs below. If you are using a private repository, you will probably want to make the published report on GitHub Pages closed behind authorization as well. In that case, you won't be able to add a badge reference (1) inside your README. Instead, provide a link to the RAW file in the repository. GitHub will redirect the request (2) to something like (3). The token parameter is generated for a closed repository for authorization purposes. The token is temporary — after several hours the link will become a 🎃. To avoid such behavior you may add a parameter raw=true to the file’s link: (1) GitHub Pages link (2) RAW link (3) Permalink to the file in the private repo

Let's put all the requirements together:

  1. You need to generate a badge using a command-line tool or a GitHub Action;
  2. It’s better to place the resulting badge in the gh-pages branch;
  3. In order to display the picture in the README even in a closed repository, you must use a direct link to the file with the raw=true parameter.

Practice time! I forked spring-boot-realworld-example-app repository. This is one of the implementations of the Conduit App ( clone).

  1. We’ll use jacoco-badge-generator Action.

    Add a new step to the GitHub Workflow config:

        - name: Generate JaCoCo Badge
    #      if: ${{ github.ref == 'refs/heads/master' }}
          uses: cicirello/[email protected]
            jacoco-csv-file: build/reports/jacoco/test/jacocoTestReport.csv
            badges-directory: build/reports/jacoco/test/html/badges

We are specifying paths to JaCoCo CSV report and the resulting badge's directory. Uncomment the second line if you’d like to execute the step only in the main branch.

  1. The next step is to publish the report along with badges. I choose github-pages-deploy-action.
    - name: Publish coverage report to GitHub Pages
#      if: ${{ github.ref == 'refs/heads/master' }}
      uses: JamesIves/[email protected]
        folder: build/reports/jacoco/test/html

We need to set the path to the HTML report. Just a reminder, the generated badge will also be inside this directory. After the commit you’ll need to open the repository Settings → Pages and select the branch you want to publish the site from:

Configure GitHub Pages

Configure GitHub Pages

  1. The last piece to add is the link to the badge in README. Don't forget about the raw=true parameter, so that the picture will be displayed for private repositories as well:

    [![Test Coverage](](

Hooray! All steps have been completed, you can check the result.

Test coverage from JaCoCo

Test coverage from JaCoCo

By clicking on the badge you’ll open the coverage report:

JaCoCo coverage report published on GitHub Pages

JaCoCo coverage report published on GitHub Pages

Please share in the comments your favorite GitHub Actions to prepare and publish the badges. Thank you for reading!

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