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How to easily disable a CircleCI workflow

Sometimes it’s useful to only run a subset of CircleCI jobs after each commit to a pull request branch. For instance, if you’re working on packaging step of your test-package-deploy pipeline, it’s helpful to create a faster feedback loop by only running the packaging jobs after each push.

This can be done by adding a temporary commit that disables the main workflow and adds a custom one running only the jobs you care about.

You can disable a CircleCI workflow using the when attribute:

# .circleci/config.yml

version: 2.1

workflows:

    # Define a custom workflow that only runs the jobs you're interested in.
    temp_workflow:
        jobs:
            - build_job_1
            - build_job_2

    # The standard (but slow) workflow that normally runs on each push.
    test_build_deploy;
        # Temporarily disable this workflow
        when: false

        ...

Make sure you rebase out this commit before requesting review or merging the pull request; it’s just a crutch to speed up development.

See CircleCI’s docs on using when in workflows.