I've spent a fair amount of time lauding Travis as an excellent go-to CI tool. But, when I wanted to use Travis for a private repo, I balked at the minimum $129/mo price tag. Add onto that the cost of using Coveralls Pro and I realized that using Travis and Coveralls for private repos is not financially feasible. Even if I had millions in funding to burn, it would be cheaper in the long run to bite the bullet and set up my own hosted CI using Strider or some other open-source CI server.

Thankfully, before I got around to setting up my own, I stumbled across a company called Shippable when they commented on a mongoose GitHub issue. Shippable positions itself as a Docker-ized hosted CI. But, if you don't ignore the buzzword bingo, you'll miss four of its key advantages over Travis:

Setting Up Shippable

Shippable has a NodeJS startup guide and sample repo. For the benefit of Travis users, I set up a simple fizzbuzz repo that's integrated with Shippable that's analagous to my fizzbuzz example for Travis.

A Shippable config file, shippable.yml, looks an awful lot like a .travis.yml file. As a matter of fact, you can run Shippable with your existing .travis.yml file (unless you use io.js) - Shippable will look for a .travis.yml if it can't find a shippable.yml. Here's the shippable.yml for the fizzbuzz-coverage-shippable repo:

# language setting
language: node_js

  - 0.10.33
  - 0.12.2

# Create directories for test and coverage reports
  - npm install
  - mkdir -p shippable/testresults
  - mkdir -p shippable/codecoverage

  - npm run-script test-shippable

  - npm run-script test-coverage
  - npm run-script shippable-cobertura

There are two key differences from Travis above:

  • It looks like you need to run npm install in your before_script. Maybe I'm doing something wrong, but Shippable didn't automatically do that for me.
  • The after_script runs test coverage using the test-coverage script and then converts the coverage output to cobertura format, which is the format Shippable prefers for code coverage output.

The package.json is identical to the Travis-based fizzbuzz-coverage repo, except for the fact that the coveralls module is no longer necessary for code coverage, and the slightly modified scripts:

  "scripts": {
    "shippable-cobertura": "istanbul report cobertura --dir shippable/codecoverage/",
    "test": "mocha ./test/*",
    "test-shippable": "mkdir -p shippable/testresults && mocha --reporter xunit ./test/* > shippable/testresults/result.xml",
    "test-coverage": "istanbul cover ./node_modules/mocha/bin/_mocha -- -R spec ./test/*"
  • The shippable-cobertura script converts the output from test-coverage into cobertura format for Shippable's built-in test coverage reporting.
  • The test-shippable script runs tests and outputs the results using mocha's xunit reporter, because Shippable provides better test reporting (rather than simply console output) if you provide it Xunit-compatible output.
  • The test-coverage script is just your standard code coverage script with istanbul.


Shippable looks pretty awesome. I look forward to trying it out on my private repos - it has all the features I love in Travis (pull request support, etc.), a couple extra useful features, and free as in beer. My experience so far is overall positive, although it does look like it takes its time running tests on pull requests. If you're looking for a hosted CI tool for private repos, Shippable seems like a good choice.

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