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Using the AZ CLI for managing CI/CD in Azure DevOps

Once upon a time there was VSTS and with VSTS was the VSTS CLI. Microsoft has since then evolved and with evolution comes a new CLI! The AZ CLI now has a DevOps extension and although it isn't as feature-rich as the UI, it's still great to use. Let's have a look.

The first thing you'll need to do is confirm you have AZ CLI with at least version v2.0.49, the DevOps extension, and Visual Studio Code.

To install the AZ CLI:

To install the AZ CLI DevOps Extension:

Once you have those two components installed we're now ready to move on.

First things first - What can we do with the DevOps extension? Let's have a look at the help.

As you can see we can do a few things managerial/configuration tasks. The key thing I want us to take a look at is the "Related Groups". The key thing here is the pipelines portion of the extension:

You can find a ton of information at the above Microsoft link on every option there is. Let's take a look at the command line.

We have a ton of good information here. Let's first take a look at the help for "build".

Let's get some build information by using the "list" command. I'm going to run az pipelines build list --org --project TheLifeOfAnEngineerBlog but of course you will need to specify your org and specific project. Once I run this, I'm able to see a ton of output (this will vary based on how many builds you have).

This output is a bit verbose. What if I want specific info? Maybe specify a branch? Let's try it by running az pipelines build list --org --project TheLifeOfAnEngineerBlog --branch master and seeing the output.

How about we want to get even MORE granular and search for builds that have failed? We can use the --result flag by running az pipelines build list --org --project TheLifeOfAnEngineerBlog --branch master --result failed and this will print out a JSON formatted list of all builds that failed for master.

So now we can list builds and we can get pretty granular, but what about if we want to CREATE builds? The first thing we'll need to do is figure out the right line of code for the job. The following will as always need to be edited to match your environment.

 az pipelines create --name 'TheLifeOfAnEngineerBlogANSIBLE' --description 'Pipeline for Ansible' --repository TheLifeOfAnEngineerBlog --branch master --repository-type tfsgit --org --project TheLifeOfAnEngineerBlog

Once you run the above you will get an output of possible environments you can build with. This is very similar to what you would see in the UI.

I'm going to choose option 1 then at the next screen choose option 2 to view/edit my YAML. As soon as you do that, VSCode will open to a default YAML pipeline. Notice that in your command prompt where you kicked off your AZ command that the engine is still running.

For my pipeline I chose to use the CopyFiles@2 task to copy files from my repo in Azure Repos and publish the artifact based on the code. The below is what I put in VSCode;

- master

name: Hosted VS2017

- task: CopyFiles@2
displayName: 'Copy Files'
SourceFolder: Ansible
TargetFolder: '$(Build.ArtifactStagingDirectory)'

- task: PublishBuildArtifacts@1
displayName: 'Publish Artifact: drop'

After that go ahead and save then return back to your command prompt and hit the enter key. After that you'll have two options 1) Commit to master 2) Create a new branch. I'm going to go ahead and create a new branch.

Then I'm going to enter a new branch name.

You'll see some JSON output on your command prompt. Let's head over to Azure DevOps and check on your new build.

As you can see from the above my build has succeeded and used my new branch.


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