Branch configuration

You can use branch patterns to ensure pipelines are only built when necessary. This guide shows you how to set up branch patterns for whole pipelines and individual build steps.

In step-level and pipeline-level branch filtering, you can use * as a wildcard, and ! for not, as shown in the examples. If you want a full range of regular expressions that operate on more than branch names, take a look at the conditionals page.

Pipeline-level branch filtering

By default, a pipeline triggers builds for all branches (* or blank). In your pipeline settings, you can set specific branch patterns for the entire pipeline. If a commit doesn't match the branch pattern, no build is created.

Pipeline-level branch filtering

Additional branch filtering for pull request builds

Builds created for pull requests ignore any pipeline-level branch filters. If you want to limit the branches that can build pull requests, add an additional branch filter in your pipeline's source control settings.

Find this filter under 'Build pull requests' if you have chosen the 'Trigger builds after pushing code' option.

Pull request-level branch filtering

Step-level branch filtering

As with pipeline-level branch filtering, you can set branch patterns on individual steps. Steps that have branch filters will only be added to builds on branches matching the pattern.

For example, this pipeline.yml file demonstrates the use of different branch filters on its steps:

  - label: "🔨 Build"
      - "npm install"
      - ""
    branches: "main feature/* !feature/beta release/*"
  - block: "Release notes"
    prompt: "Please add notes for this release"
      - text: "Notes"
        key: "notes"
    branches: "release/*"
  - label: "Deploy Preparation"
    command: ""
    branches: "main"
  - wait
  - trigger: "app-deploy"
    label: ":shipit:"
    branches: "main"

The branches attribute cannot be used at the same time as the if attribute. See more in Conditionals in steps.

Step-level branch filters will only affect the step that they are added to. Subsequent steps without branch filters will still be added to the pipeline.

Branch pattern examples

When combining positive and negative patterns, any positive pattern must match, and every negative pattern must not match.

The following are examples of patterns, and the branches that they will match:

  • main will match main only
  • !production will match any branch that's not production
  • main features/* will match main and any branch that starts with features/
  • *-test will match any branch ending with -test, such as rails-update-test
  • stages/* !stages/production will match any branch starting with stages/ except stages/production, such as stages/demo
  • v*.0 will match any branch that begins with a v and ends with a .0, such as v1.0
  • v* !v1.* will match any branch that begins with a v unless it also begins with v1., such as v2.3, but not v1.1

For more advanced step filtering, see the Using conditionals guide.

Alternative methods

Queues are another way to control what work is done. You can use queues to determine which pipelines and steps run on particular agents.