Share variables across definitions in Azure Pipelines by using variable groups

It is easy to create variables in the Azure Pipelines and they make the pipelines more generic in nature. Therefore, we can customize the release steps as per the context of the stage used. Same goes for the build definitions. Now sometimes, it may happen that the variables are common across multiple build and release definitions. In such a case, instead of defining them again and again, we can use a variable group. A variable group allows us to store values that we want to make available across multiple build and release pipelines. It also prevent duplication of values, making it easier to update all occurrences as one operation.
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Updated: Upcoming dark theme changes

In order with the latest trend of dark theme, which is growing popular for many good reasons, this site will also switch to true dark theme starting December 25, 2018 0000 HRS UTC. You can find the associated good reasons at this, this and this links, which summarizes the benefits quite well.

A preview of the same can be accessed using below url:

https://metavrse.wordpress.com/?customize_changeset_uuid=f3caa97c-ae28-4066-bb00-7746a35c5ae6

Hopefully, this should not mess up with other content on this site. Please feel free to share your feedback by filling the contact form associated with this blog, in case of any issues.

Working with remotes in Git, GitHub and Visual Studio

In previous post, we discussed about how to work with remotes in Git at command line. In this post, we are going to discuss how we can do the same from the very comforts of Visual Studio while we continue to host our source code on the GitHub. While it’s true that there is no command or built-in option available in Visual Studio to connect to GitHub, we can leverage one of the extensions available for GitHub.

Install GitHub Extension for Visual Studio

To search for this extension, let’s open Visual Studio first. From the tool bar menu, select Tools and then click on the ‘Extensions and Updates’:
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Work with remote in Git to share your code

In last few posts of series of articles on the Git, we discussed several ways to work with code in our local repository. We learned about commits, branches, merge, rebase, stash and whole lot of other commands. If you want to see all those posts, just filter using Git category appearing in left pane in this site. However for most of the time, while working for an complex software, you would be working along with other developers. Therefore, you need a central place where you could host all of the source code and then you need some ability to download/upload your part of the code. This is where in the cloud-based Git repository providers like BitBucket, GitLab, GitHub, Azure Repos etc or On-Premise based Git repository providers like Azure DevOps / TFS, GitHub Enterprise , etc fits in. We already have learned the ability to segregate code for different features/issues by using concept of branches and tags. Continue reading “Work with remote in Git to share your code”

Store the app secrets in Azure Key Vault and use during Azure Pipelines

You can easily store your environment related secrets in the Azure Pipelines releases as variables and mark them as secrets which will encrypt and hide them. So anyone having access to the release definition would be not able to view them. Most of the times, it suffices as once set, they become encrypted and can not be viewed in text form.

However, sometimes it may happen that the person who keeps the secret would not be the same person as who is creating the release definition. Think of that as a way of segregating the responsibilities between the two. Also, it may be possible that the person who has provisioned the environment is not comfortable to share the secrets with anyone in plain text. After all, the best way to keep a secret is not to tell anyone about it. This is where the Azure Key Vault fits in very nicely. It can be used to store and transfer the secrets/certificates needed for your environment in a secure way.
Continue reading “Store the app secrets in Azure Key Vault and use during Azure Pipelines”