Triggers are Gofer's way of automating pipeline runs. Triggers are registered to your pipeline on creation and will alert Gofer when it's time to run your pipeline (usually when some event has occurred).

The most straight-forward example of this, is the event of passing time. Let's say you have a pipeline that needs to run every 5 mins. You would set your pipeline up with the interval trigger set to an interval of 5m.

On startup, Gofer launches the interval trigger as a long-running container. When your pipeline is created, it "subscribes" to the interval trigger with an interval of 5m. The interval trigger starts a timer and when 5 minutes have passed an event is sent from the trigger to Gofer, causing Gofer to run your pipeline.

Gofer Provided Triggers

You can create your own triggers, but Gofer provides some provided triggers for use.

How do I install a Trigger?

Triggers must first be installed by Gofer administrators before they can be used. They can be installed by the CLI. For more information on how to install a specific trigger run:

gofer triggers install -h

How do I configure a Trigger?

Triggers allow for both system and pipeline configuration1. This is what makes them so dynamically useful!

Pipeline Configuration

Most Triggers allow for some user specific configuration usually referred to as "Parameters" or "Pipeline configuration".

These variables are passed by the pipeline configuration file into the Trigger when the pipeline is registered.

System Configuration

Most Triggers have system configurations which allow the administrator or system to inject some needed variables. These are defined when the Trigger is installed.


See a specific Trigger's documentation for the exact variables accepted and where they belong.

How to add new Triggers?

Just like tasks, triggers are simply docker containers! Making them easily testable and portable. To create a new trigger you simply use the included Gofer SDK.

The SDK provides an interface in which a well functioning GRPC service will be created from your concrete implementation.

// TriggerServiceInterface provides a light wrapper around the GRPC trigger interface. This light wrapper
// provides the caller with a clear interface to implement and allows this package to bake in common
// functionality among all triggers.
type TriggerServiceInterface interface {
	// Watch blocks until the trigger has a pipeline that should be run, then it returns. This is ideal for setting
	// the watch endpoint as an channel result.
	Watch(context.Context, *proto.TriggerWatchRequest) (*proto.TriggerWatchResponse, error)

	// Info returns information on the specific plugin
	Info(context.Context, *proto.TriggerInfoRequest) (*proto.TriggerInfoResponse, error)

	// Subscribe allows a trigger to keep track of all pipelines currently
	// dependant on that trigger so that we can trigger them at appropriate times.
	Subscribe(context.Context, *proto.TriggerSubscribeRequest) (*proto.TriggerSubscribeResponse, error)

	// Unsubscribe allows pipelines to remove their trigger subscriptions. This is
	// useful if the pipeline no longer needs to be notified about a specific
	// trigger automation.
	Unsubscribe(context.Context, *proto.TriggerUnsubscribeRequest) (*proto.TriggerUnsubscribeResponse, error)

	// Shutdown tells the trigger to cleanup and gracefully shutdown. If a trigger
	// does not shutdown in a time defined by the gofer API the trigger will
	// instead be Force shutdown(SIGKILL). This is to say that all triggers should
	// lean toward quick cleanups and shutdowns.
	Shutdown(context.Context, *proto.TriggerShutdownRequest) (*proto.TriggerShutdownResponse, error)

	// ExternalEvent are json blobs of gofer's /events endpoint. Normally
	// webhooks.
	ExternalEvent(context.Context, *proto.TriggerExternalEventRequest) (*proto.TriggerExternalEventResponse, error)

For an commented example of a simple trigger you can follow to build your own, view the interval trigger:

// Trigger interval simply triggers the subscribed pipeline at the given interval.
// This package is commented in such a way to make it easy to deduce what is going on, making it
// a perfect example of how to build other triggers.
// What is going on below is relatively simple:
//   - We create our trigger as just a regular program, paying attention to what we want our variables to be
//     when we install the trigger and when a pipeline subscribes to this trigger.
//   - We assimilate the program to become a long running trigger by using the Gofer SDK and implementing
//     the needed sdk.TriggerServiceInterface.
//   - We simply call NewTrigger and let the SDK and Gofer go to work.
package main

import (

	// The proto package provides some data structures that we'll need to return to our interface.
	proto ""

	// The plugins package contains a bunch of convenience functions that we use to build our trigger.
	// It is possible to build a trigger without using the SDK, but the SDK makes the process much
	// less cumbersome.
	sdk ""

	// Golang doesn't have a standardized logging interface and as such Gofer triggers can technically
	// use any logging package, but because Gofer and provided triggers use zerolog, it is heavily encouraged
	// to use zerolog. The log level for triggers is set by Gofer on trigger start via Gofer's configuration.

// Triggers have two types of variables they can be passed.
//   - They take variables called "config" when they are installed.
//   - And they take variables called parameters for each pipeline that subscribes to them.

// This trigger has a single parameter called "every".
const (
	// "every" is the time between pipeline runs.
	// Supports golang native duration strings:
	// Examples: "1m", "60s", "3h", "3m30s"
	ParameterEvery = "every"

// And a single config called "min_duration".
const (
	// The minimum duration pipelines can set for the "every" parameter.
	ConfigMinDuration = "min_duration"

// Triggers are subscribed to by pipelines when that pipeline is registered. Gofer will call the `subscribe`
// function for the trigger and pass it details about the pipeline and the parameters it wants.
// This structure is to keep details about those subscriptions so that we may perform the triggers duties on those
// pipeline subscriptions.
type subscription struct {
	pipelineTriggerLabel string
	pipeline             string
	namespace            string
	quit                 context.CancelFunc

// SubscriptionID is simply a composite key of the many things that make a single subscription unique.
// We use this as the key in a hash table to lookup subscriptions. Some might wonder why label is part
// of this unique key. That is because, when relevant triggers should be expected that pipelines might
// want to subscribe more than once.
type subscriptionID struct {
	pipelineTriggerLabel string
	pipeline             string
	namespace            string

// Trigger is a structure that every Gofer trigger should have. It is essentially the God struct. It contains
// all information about our trigger that we might want to reference.
type trigger struct {
	// The limit for how long a pipeline configuration can request a minimum duration.
	minDuration time.Duration

	// During shutdown the trigger will want to stop all intervals immediately. Having the ability to stop all goroutines
	// is very useful.
	quitAllSubscriptions context.CancelFunc

	// The events channel is simply a store for trigger events.
	// It keeps them until Gofer calls the Watch function and requests them.
	events chan *proto.TriggerWatchResponse

	// The parent context is stored here so that we have a common parent for all goroutines we spin up.
	// This enables us to manipulate all goroutines at the same time.
	parentContext context.Context

	// Mapping of subscription id to actual subscription. The subscription in this case also contains the goroutine
	// cancel context for the specified trigger. This is important, as when a pipeline unsubscribes from a this trigger
	// we will need a way to stop that specific goroutine from running.
	subscriptions map[subscriptionID]*subscription

// NewTrigger is the entrypoint to the overall trigger. It sets up all initial trigger state, validates any config
// that was passed to it and generally gets the trigger ready to take requests.
func newTrigger() (*trigger, error) {
	// The GetConfig function wrap our `min duration` config and retrieves it from the environment.
	// Trigger config environment variables are passed in as "GOFER_PLUGIN_CONFIG_%s" so that they don't conflict
	// with any other environment variables that might be around.
	minDurationStr := sdk.GetConfig(ConfigMinDuration)
	minDuration := time.Minute * 1
	if minDurationStr != "" {
		parsedDuration, err := time.ParseDuration(minDurationStr)
		if err != nil {
			return nil, err
		minDuration = parsedDuration

	ctx, cancel := context.WithCancel(context.Background())

	return &trigger{
		minDuration:          minDuration,
		events:               make(chan *proto.TriggerWatchResponse, 100),
		quitAllSubscriptions: cancel,
		parentContext:        ctx,
		subscriptions:        map[subscriptionID]*subscription{},
	}, nil

// startInterval is the main logic of what enables the interval trigger to work. Each pipeline that is subscribed runs
// this function which simply waits for the set duration and then pushes a "WatchResponse" event into the trigger's main channel.
func (t *trigger) startInterval(ctx context.Context, pipeline, namespace, pipelineTriggerLabel string, duration time.Duration) {
	for {
		select {
		case <-ctx.Done():
		case <-time.After(duration): <- &proto.TriggerWatchResponse{
				Details:              "Triggered due to the passage of time.",
				PipelineTriggerLabel: pipelineTriggerLabel,
				NamespaceId:          namespace,
				PipelineId:           pipeline,
				Result:               proto.TriggerWatchResponse_SUCCESS,
				Metadata:             map[string]string{},
			log.Debug().Str("namespaceID", namespace).Str("pipelineID", pipeline).
				Str("trigger_label", pipelineTriggerLabel).Msg("new tick for specified interval; new event spawned")

// Gofer calls subscribe when a pipeline configuration is being registered and a pipeline wants to subscribe to this trigger.
// The logic here is simple:
//   - We retrieve the pipeline's requested parameters.
//   - We validate the parameters.
//   - We create a new subscription object and enter it into our map.
//   - We call the `startInterval` function in a goroutine for that specific pipeline and return.
func (t *trigger) Subscribe(ctx context.Context, request *proto.TriggerSubscribeRequest) (*proto.TriggerSubscribeResponse, error) {
	interval, exists := request.Config[strings.ToUpper(ParameterEvery)]
	if !exists {
		return nil, fmt.Errorf("could not find required configuration parameter %q; received config params: %+v", ParameterEvery, request.Config)

	duration, err := time.ParseDuration(interval)
	if err != nil {
		return nil, fmt.Errorf("could not parse interval string: %w", err)

	if duration < t.minDuration {
		return nil, fmt.Errorf("durations cannot be less than %s", t.minDuration)

	subctx, quit := context.WithCancel(t.parentContext)
	}] = &subscription{request.PipelineTriggerLabel, request.NamespaceId, request.PipelineId, quit}

	go t.startInterval(subctx, request.PipelineId, request.NamespaceId, request.PipelineTriggerLabel, duration)

	log.Debug().Str("namespace_id", request.NamespaceId).Str("trigger_label", request.PipelineTriggerLabel).Str("pipeline_id", request.PipelineId).Msg("subscribed pipeline")
	return &proto.TriggerSubscribeResponse{}, nil

// Gofer continuously calls the watch endpoint to receive events from the Trigger. Below we simply block until we
// are told to shutdown or we have an event to give.
func (t *trigger) Watch(ctx context.Context, request *proto.TriggerWatchRequest) (*proto.TriggerWatchResponse, error) {
	select {
	case <-ctx.Done():
		return &proto.TriggerWatchResponse{}, nil
	case event := <
		return event, nil

// Pipelines change and this means that sometimes they will no longer want to be executed by a particular trigger or maybe
// they want to change the previous settings on that trigger. Because of this we need a way to remove pipelines that were
// previously subscribed.
func (t *trigger) Unsubscribe(ctx context.Context, request *proto.TriggerUnsubscribeRequest) (*proto.TriggerUnsubscribeResponse, error) {
	subscription, exists := t.subscriptions[subscriptionID{
		pipelineTriggerLabel: request.PipelineTriggerLabel,
		pipeline:             request.PipelineId,
		namespace:            request.NamespaceId,
	if !exists {
		return &proto.TriggerUnsubscribeResponse{},
			fmt.Errorf("could not find subscription for trigger %s pipeline %s namespace %s",
				request.PipelineTriggerLabel, request.PipelineId, request.NamespaceId)

	delete(t.subscriptions, subscriptionID{
		pipelineTriggerLabel: request.PipelineTriggerLabel,
		pipeline:             request.PipelineId,
		namespace:            request.NamespaceId,
	return &proto.TriggerUnsubscribeResponse{}, nil

// Info is mostly used as a health check endpoint. It returns some basic info about a trigger, the most important
// being where to get more documentation about that specific trigger.
func (t *trigger) Info(ctx context.Context, request *proto.TriggerInfoRequest) (*proto.TriggerInfoResponse, error) {
	return sdk.InfoResponse("")

// The ExternalEvent endpoint tells the trigger what to do if they get messages from Gofer's external event system.
// This system is set up to facilitate webhook interactions like those that occur for github
// (A user pushes a branch, Gofer gets an event from github).
// The ExternalEvent will come with a payload which the trigger can then authenticate, process, and take action on.
func (t *trigger) ExternalEvent(ctx context.Context, request *proto.TriggerExternalEventRequest) (*proto.TriggerExternalEventResponse, error) {
	return &proto.TriggerExternalEventResponse{}, nil

// A graceful shutdown for a trigger should clean up any resources it was working with that might be left hanging.
// Sometimes that means sending requests to third parties that it is shutting down, sometimes that just means
// reaping its personal goroutines.
func (t *trigger) Shutdown(ctx context.Context, request *proto.TriggerShutdownRequest) (*proto.TriggerShutdownResponse, error) {

	return &proto.TriggerShutdownResponse{}, nil

// InstallInstructions are Gofer's way to allowing the trigger to guide Gofer administrators through their
// personal installation process. This is needed because some triggers might require special auth tokens and information
// in a way that might be confusing for trigger administrators.
func installInstructions() sdk.InstallInstructions {
	instructions := sdk.NewInstructionsBuilder()
	instructions = instructions.AddMessage(":: The interval trigger allows users to trigger their pipelines on the passage"+
		" of time by setting a particular duration.").
		AddMessage("First, let's prevent users from setting too low of an interval by setting a minimum duration. "+
			"Durations are set via Golang duration strings. For example, entering a duration of '10h' would be 10 hours, "+
			"meaning that users can only run their pipeline at most every 10 hours. "+
			"You can find more documentation on valid strings here:").
		AddQuery("Set a minimum duration for all pipelines", ConfigMinDuration)

	return instructions

// Lastly we call our personal NewTrigger function, which now implements the TriggerServerInterface and then we
// pass it to the NewTrigger function within the SDK.
// From here the SDK will use the given interface and run a GRPC service whenever this program is called with the
// positional parameter "server". Ex. "./trigger server"
// Whenever this program is called with the parameter "installer" then it will print out the installation instructions
// instead.
func main() {
	trigger, err := newTrigger()
	if err != nil {
	sdk.NewTrigger(trigger, installInstructions())