Application Services Build and Publish Pipeline

This document provides an overview of the build-and-publish pipeline used to make our work in this repo available to consuming applications. It's intended both to document the pipeline for development and maintenance purposes, and to serve as a basic analysis of the integrity protections that it offers (so you'll notice there are notes and open questions in place where we haven't fully hashed out all those details).

The key points:

  • We use "stable" Rust. CI is pinned to whatever version is currently used on mozilla-central to help with vendoring into that repository. You should check what current values are specified for CircleCI and for TaskCluster
  • We use Cargo for building and testing the core Rust code in isolation, Gradle with rust-android-gradle for combining Rust and Kotlin code into Android components and running tests against them, and XCframeworks driving XCode for combining Rust and Swift code into iOS components.
  • TaskCluster runs on every pull-request, release, and push to main, to ensure Android artifacts build correctly and to execute their tests via gradle.
  • CircleCI runs on every branch, pull-request (including forks), and release, to execute lint checks and automated tests at the Rust and Swift level.
  • Releases are made by manually creating a new release via github, which triggers various CI jobs:
    • CircleCI is used to build an iOS binary release on every release, and publish it as GitHub release artifacts.
    • TaskCluster is used to:
  • Notifications about build failures are sent to a mailing list at
  • Our Taskcluster implementation is almost entirely maintained by the Release Engineering team. The proper way to contact them in case of emergency or for new developments is to ask on the #releaseduty-mobile Slack channel. Our main point of contact is @mihai.

For Android consumers these are the steps by which Application Services code becomes available, and the integrity-protection mechanisms that apply at each step:

  1. Code is developed in branches and lands on main via pull request.
    • GitHub branch protection prevents code being pushed to main without review.
    • CircleCI and TaskCluster run automated tests against the code, but do not have the ability to push modified code back to GitHub thanks to the above branch protection.
      • TaskCluster jobs do not run against PRs opened by the general public, only for PRs from repo collaborators.
    • Contra the github org security guidelines, signing of individual commits is encouraged but is not required. Our experience in practice has been that this adds friction for contributors without sufficient tangible benefit.
  2. Developers manually create a release from latest main.
    • The ability to create new releases is managed entirely via github's permission model.
    • TODO: the github org security guidelines recommend signing tags, and auditing all included commits as part of the release process. We should consider some tooling to support this. I don't think there's any way to force githib to only accept signed releases in the same way it can enforce signed commits.
  3. TaskCluster checks out the release tag, builds it for all target platforms, and runs automated tests.
    • These tasks run in a pre-built docker image, helping assure integrity of the build environment.
    • TODO: could this step check for signed tags as an additional integrity measure?
  4. TaskCluster uploads symbols to Socorro.
    • The access token for this is currently tied to @eoger's LDAP account.
  5. TaskCluster uploads built artifacts to
    • Secret key for uploading to maven is provisioned via TaskCluster, guarded by a scope that's only available to this task.
    • TODO: could a malicious dev dependency from step (3) influence the build environment here?
    • TODO: talk about how TC's "chain of trust" might be useful here.
  6. Consumers fetch the published artifacts from

For iOS consumers the corresponding steps are:

  1. Code is developed in branches and lands on main via pull request, as above.
  2. Developers manually create a release from latest main, as above.
  3. CircleCI checks out the release tag, builds it, and runs automated tests.
    • TODO: These tasks bootstrap their build environment by fetching software over https. could we do more to ensure the integrity of the build environment?
    • TODO: could this step check for signed tags as an additional integrity measure?
    • TODO: can we prevent these steps from being able to see the tokens used for publishing in subsequent steps?
  4. CircleCI builds a binary artifact:
    • An XCFramework containing just Rust code and header files, as a zipfile, for use by Swift Packags.
    • TODO: could a malicious dev dependency from step (3) influence the build environment here?
  5. CircleCI uses dpl to publish to GitHub as a release artifact.
  6. Consumers add Application services as a dependency from the Rust Components Swift repo using Apple's Swift Package Manager.

For consuming in mozilla-central, see how to vendor components into mozilla-central

This is a diagram of the pipeline as it exists (and is planned) for the Nimbus SDK, one of the libraries in Application Services: (Source:

Nimbus SDK Build and Publish Pipeline

Authentication and secrets

@appsvc-moz account

There's an appsvc-moz github account owned by one of the application-services team (currently markh, but we should consider rotating ownership). Given only 1 2fa device can be connected to a github account, multiple owners doesn't seem practical. In most cases, whenever a github account needs to own a secret for any CI, it will be owned by this account.


CircleCI config requires a github token (owned by @appsvc-moz). This is a "personal access token" obtained via github's Settings -> Developer Settings -> Personal Access Tokens -> Classic Token. This token:

  • Should be named something like "circleci"
  • Have "no expiration" (XXX - this seems wrong, should we adjust?)

Once you have generated the token, it must be added to as the environment variable GITHUB_TOKEN