Azure DevOps Pipelines: Use YAML Across Repos

In last week’s post, we refactored some YAML that was reusable into a new file. This post is going to cover moving that same reusable YAML to a new repo and then using it in our existing sample repo. This post is going to build on the Azure DevOps project created in previous posts if you are just joining this series check out the previous posts to find out how the project has progressed.

Getting Started with Azure DevOps
Pipeline Creation in Azure DevOps
Azure DevOps Publish Artifacts for ASP.NET Core
Azure DevOps Pipelines: Multiple Jobs in YAML
Azure DevOps Pipelines: Reusable YAML

Create a New Repository

First, we need to create a new repository that will be used to share the YAML in question. Using the Repos section of Azure DevOps as a starting point you click the dropdown with the currently selected repo name, Playground in this example, and then click New repository.

You will be presented with a dialog where you will need to enter the Repository name and any other of the options you want to configure. In this example, we are naming the repo Shared and adding a Git ignore file for Visual Studio. When done click the Create button.

The following steps should be taken on the new Shared repo. At this point, you could clone the repo and do the rest of the steps locally and then push the changes to the repo or you can use the web interface to make all the change which is the route this post is going to show. Either way, you go it shouldn’t be too hard to adapt the steps. For the web interface to add a new file in the root of the repo click the three-dot menu to the right of the repo name and then select New and then File.

The next prompt will ask for a file name, I’m using buildCoreWebProject.yml. Click Create to continue.

You will land in the file editor. Copy and paste the code out of build.yml that we were using from the previous post into the new file. The following is the full YAML from build.yml for reference.

parameters:
- name: buildConfiguration
  type: string
  default: 'Release'
- name: project
  type: string
  default: ''
- name: artifactName
  type: string
  default: ''

steps:
  - task: [email protected]
    displayName: 'Use .NET 3.1.x'
    inputs:
      packageType: 'sdk'
      version: '3.1.x'

  - task: [email protected]
    displayName: 'Build'
    inputs:
      command: 'build'
      projects: '**/${{ parameters.project }}'
      arguments: '--configuration ${{ parameters.buildConfiguration }}' 
  
  - task: [email protected]
    displayName: 'Publish Application'
    inputs:
      command: 'publish'
      publishWebProjects: false
      projects: '**/${{ parameters.project }}'
      arguments: '--configuration ${{ parameters.buildConfiguration }} --output $(Build.ArtifactStagingDirectory)'

  - task: [email protected]
    displayName: 'Publish Artifacts'
    inputs:
      targetPath: '$(Build.ArtifactStagingDirectory)'
      artifact: ${{ parameters.artifactName }}
      publishLocation: 'pipeline'

Once the code is copied in click the Commit button to save the changes to the master branch.

Switching back to our original repo, Playground in this example, we need to add the Shared repo as a resource for in our azure-pipelines.yml file. The following is the resource deliration for using another Azure DevOps repo. The official docs for check out multiple repositories also show examples with GitHub and Bitbucket. I also found this stackoverflow question helpful.

resources: 
  repositories: 
  - repository: Shared 
    name: Playground/Shared 
    type: git 
    ref: master #branch name

Shared on the repository line is the name we will be using when referencing a file out of the Shared repo. Name is the Azure DevOps project and repo name. Type is the repo type which is Git in our case. Finally, ref is the branch name from the Shared repo that we want to use. Now that we have access to the files from the Shared repo we can use its buildCoreWebProject.yml instead of the local build.yml as a template.

Before:
  - template: build.yml
    parameters:
      buildConFiguration: $(buildConfiguration)
      project: WebApp1.csproj
      artifactName: WebApp1

After:
  - template: [email protected]
    parameters:
      buildConFiguration: $(buildConfiguration)
      project: WebApp1.csproj
      artifactName: WebApp1

Notice that the only change is on the template line which changed from build.yml to [email protected]. The @Shared on the end of the filename is what tells the pipeline the file’s source is the Shared repo. The following is the full azure-pipeline.yml for reference. The frist job is using the template form the Shared repo and the second one is using a local template.

resources:      
  repositories: 
  - repository: Shared
    name: Playground/Shared
    type: git 
    ref: master #branch name

trigger: none

variables:
  buildConfiguration: 'Release'

jobs:
- job: WebApp1
  displayName: 'Build WebApp1'
  pool:
    vmImage: 'ubuntu-latest'

  steps:
  - template: [email protected]
    parameters:
      buildConFiguration: $(buildConfiguration)
      project: WebApp1.csproj
      artifactName: WebApp1

- job: WebApp2
  displayName: 'Build WebApp2'
  pool:
    vmImage: 'ubuntu-latest'

  steps:
  - template: build.yml
    parameters:
      buildConFiguration: $(buildConfiguration)
      project: WebApp2.csproj
      artifactName: WebApp2

Wrapping Up

Being able to utilize YAML from different repos can help cut down on duplicated YAML and help keep your pipelines across repos cleaner. As with anything else, this is a useful tool when applied appropriately.


Also published on Medium.

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