Steampunk Spotter

How to Add Spotter to Your CI/CD Process for Enhanced Security

September 28, 2023 - Words by  The Spotter team - 3 min read

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Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) have become cornerstone practices in modern DevOps, streamlining code from development into production. However, the speed and automation of CI/CD can sometimes introduce security vulnerabilities if not handled carefully. That’s where tools like Steampunk Spotter come into play, serving as an added layer of security within your CI/CD pipeline.

The Importance of Code Analysis Tools in CI/CD

Challenges in Modern Development

Today’s codebases are dynamic and increasingly complex. While CI/CD pipelines facilitate rapid development, they can also introduce code vulnerabilities if there is a lack of proper analysis.

The Cost of Negligence

Ignoring code quality can result in security vulnerabilities, increased maintenance costs, and a decline in development agility.

Shift Left

The concept of “Shift Left” emphasizes the importance of introducing code analysis as early as possible in the development cycle.

The Role of Code Analysis Tools

Integrating code analysis tools like Spotter into your CI/CD pipeline allows for early detection of potential issues. These tools help maintain code quality and compliance with industry standards, making them indispensable in today’s fast-paced development environments.

Why Steampunk Spotter?

Steampunk Spotter stands out for its exceptional ability to identify hard-to-catch errors and time-consuming issues in your Ansible Playbooks. With Spotter, you can guarantee the quality, reliability, and security of your playbooks.


Before you can integrate Spotter into your CI/CD pipeline, make sure you meet the following system requirements:

  • Python >= 3.7 installed

  • Access to a CI/CD tool like Jenkins, GitLab CI, or GitHub Actions

  • A Spotter account

An API token that can be generated in the user settings of Spotter App’s web application

Step-by-Step Guide to Integration

Step 1: Installing Spotter CLI Tool

Install the Spotter CLI tool as a Python package using pip:

pip install steampunk-spotter

Step 2: Configuring the CI/CD Environment

Set up Spotter in your CI/CD environment by adding a new build step to your Jenkins, GitLab CI, or GitHub Actions pipeline. Here, it is also important that you provide Steampunk Spotter credentials as secrets (i.e., pipeline-protected and masked variables).

Step 3: Adding Spotter Scans to the Pipeline

Incorporate Spotter scan into your pipeline. For example, if we pick GitHub Actions we could do this with the following YAML configuration:

name: Steampunk Spotter 
on: push 
    runs-on: ubuntu-22.04 
      - name: Checkout this repository 
        uses: actions/checkout@v3 

      - name: Setup Python 
        uses: actions/setup-python@v3 
          python-version: 3.11 

      - name: Install steampunk-spotter 
        run: pip install steampunk-spotter 

      - name: Run Spotter scan 
        run: spotter scan . 
          SPOTTER_API_TOKEN: ${{ secrets.SPOTTER_API_TOKEN }} 

Step 4: Reviewing Scan Reports

Spotter provides detailed reports that highlight any vulnerabilities or issues within your playbooks. Make sure to thoroughly review these reports to understand what needs to be addressed.

Other flexible Spotter CI/CD integration options

Spotter can also be integrated with GitHub Actions natively via Steampunk Spotter GitHub Action that enables scanning of Ansible content within the GitHub CI/CD workflows. In your CI/CD pipeline you can specify the name of the Spotter GitHub Action xlab-steampunk/spotter-github-actions@master with a tag number as a step within your YAML workflow file. For comprehensive usage and more examples refer to Steampunk Spotter on GitHub Marketplace and Steampunk Spotter GitHub Action repository.

For other CI/CDs, we currently only support using the steampunk-spotter Python package and setting it up as a regular shell command. You can also use the spotter-cli Docker image that is available in our GitLab Registry (use image path and select the appropriate tag). You can use the spotter scan CLI command along with the --junit-xml <path-junit-xml> optional argument to export the scan result in JUnit XML format, which is consumed by some CI tools such as GitLab CI, Jenkins or Bamboo. You can find more information on how to integrate Spotter with CI/CD pipelines in Spotter’s CLI documentation .

Best Practices

Keep in mind the following activities to abide by the best practices:

  • Establish and run multiple CI/CD pipelines (e.g., branch, staging, production, nightly) to scan your Ansible content regularly.

  • Always define rules and security policies tailored to your organization’s specific needs.

  • Regularly update Spotter to benefit from the latest security checks and features.


In summary, integrating Spotter into your CI/CD process can substantially reduce the risk of introducing vulnerabilities into your production environment. Don’t leave your codebase unprotected; act today.

Interested in Spotter, but don’t know how to start? Explore our Getting started guide.

Additional Resources

By integrating Spotter into your CI/CD pipeline, you can take a significant step towards securing your code and automating it with confidence.