Azure DevOps Pipelines: PowerShell Task

This is going to be a quick post that shows the use of the PowerShell task in a Pipeline. Nothing in the post is really specific to the Azure DevOps Project we have been using over the last few weeks, but just in case you’re totally new to Azure DevOps and/or this series you can use the following posts to get started.

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
Azure DevOps Pipelines: Use YAML Across Repos
Azure DevOps Pipelines: Conditionals in YAML
Azure DevOps Pipelines: Naming and Tagging
Azure DevOps Pipelines: Manual Tagging
Azure DevOps Pipelines: Depends On with Conditionals in YAML

PowerShell Task

The PowerShell task will allow you to do pretty much anything. If there isn’t an existing DevOps task that fits your needs more than likely you can find a way to use the PowerShell task to accomplish what you need within the context of the computer the task is running on and even external computers that depending on your networking and security setup. The following is a sample task I added to a Pipeline that will output all the environment variables to the logs. This is an inline script, but you can also run scripts from files. Also, note that this works on both Windows and Linux agents.

- task: [email protected]
  inputs:
    targetType: 'inline'
    script: 'Get-ChildItem -Path Env:\'

While this script isn’t super useful for a production Pipeline I often use it when setting up a Pipeline to get a good feel for what is available variable wise. Also, keep in mind that depending on the trigger of the run these variables can be different. For example, if a run was triggered by a pull request you will have a number of pull request related variables. The following is the output of this command on my test project that was triggered via a pull request and therefore contains a bunch of SYSTEM_PULLREQUEST_x variables with information about the pull request. The agent was running Linux.

Name                           Value
----                           -----
AGENT_ACCEPTTEEEULA            True
AGENT_BUILDDIRECTORY           /home/vsts/work/1
AGENT_DISABLELOGPLUGIN_TESTFI… true
AGENT_DISABLELOGPLUGIN_TESTRE… true
AGENT_HOMEDIRECTORY            /home/vsts/agents/2.165.2
AGENT_ID                       9
AGENT_JOBNAME                  Build WebApp1
AGENT_JOBSTATUS                Succeeded
AGENT_MACHINENAME              fv-az563
AGENT_NAME                     Hosted Agent
AGENT_OS                       Linux
AGENT_OSARCHITECTURE           X64
AGENT_READONLYVARIABLES        true
AGENT_RETAINDEFAULTENCODING    false
AGENT_ROOTDIRECTORY            /home/vsts/work
AGENT_TEMPDIRECTORY            /home/vsts/work/_temp
AGENT_TOOLSDIRECTORY           /opt/hostedtoolcache
AGENT_VERSION                  2.165.2
AGENT_WORKFOLDER               /home/vsts/work
agent.jobstatus                Succeeded
ANDROID_HOME                   /usr/local/lib/android/sdk
ANDROID_SDK_ROOT               /usr/local/lib/android/sdk
ANT_HOME                       /usr/share/ant
AZURE_EXTENSION_DIR            /opt/az/azcliextensions
AZURE_HTTP_USER_AGENT          VSTS_08ccc6b2-4e5e-4621-8f5b-3fe0de2efa22_build…
BOOST_ROOT_1_69_0              /usr/local/share/boost/1.69.0
BOOST_ROOT_1_72_0              /usr/local/share/boost/1.72.0
BUILD_ARTIFACTSTAGINGDIRECTORY /home/vsts/work/1/a
BUILD_BINARIESDIRECTORY        /home/vsts/work/1/b
BUILD_BUILDID                  73
BUILD_BUILDNUMBER              merge_20200422.1
BUILD_BUILDURI                 vstfs:///Build/Build/73
BUILD_CONTAINERID              3453972
BUILD_DEFINITIONNAME           Playground
BUILD_DEFINITIONVERSION        4
BUILD_QUEUEDBY                 Microsoft.VisualStudio.Services.TFS
BUILD_QUEUEDBYID               00000002-0000-8888-8000-000000000000
BUILD_REASON                   PullRequest
BUILD_REPOSITORY_CLEAN         False
BUILD_REPOSITORY_GIT_SUBMODUL… False
BUILD_REPOSITORY_ID            ff7a6325-1129-42e3-b095-6a39ef6a6bd3
BUILD_REPOSITORY_LOCALPATH     /home/vsts/work/1/s
BUILD_REPOSITORY_NAME          Playground
BUILD_REPOSITORY_PROVIDER      TfsGit
BUILD_REPOSITORY_URI           https://[email protected]/ericlanders…
BUILD_REQUESTEDFOR             Eric Anderson
BUILD_REQUESTEDFOREMAIL        [email protected]
BUILD_REQUESTEDFORID           45247cb1-8f49-4c03-a4c5-b03ac3286c99
BUILD_SOURCEBRANCH             refs/pull/10/merge
BUILD_SOURCEBRANCHNAME         merge
BUILD_SOURCESDIRECTORY         /home/vsts/work/1/s
BUILD_SOURCEVERSION            3e2b77c27f31a4c729a5f195b49d2e108500399d
BUILD_SOURCEVERSIONAUTHOR      Eric Anderson
BUILD_SOURCEVERSIONMESSAGE     Merge pull request 10 from docChanges into mast…
BUILD_STAGINGDIRECTORY         /home/vsts/work/1/a
BUILDCONFIGURATION             Release
BUILDWEBAPP2                   false
CHROME_BIN                     /usr/bin/google-chrome
CHROMEWEBDRIVER                /usr/local/share/chrome_driver
COMMON_TESTRESULTSDIRECTORY    /home/vsts/work/1/TestResults
CONDA                          /usr/share/miniconda
DEBIAN_FRONTEND                noninteractive
DOTNET_SKIP_FIRST_TIME_EXPERI… 1
ENDPOINT_URL_SYSTEMVSSCONNECT… https://dev.azure.com/ericlanderson/
GECKOWEBDRIVER                 /usr/local/share/gecko_driver
GIT_TERMINAL_PROMPT            0
GOROOT                         /usr/local/go1.14
GOROOT_1_11_X64                /usr/local/go1.11
GOROOT_1_12_X64                /usr/local/go1.12
GOROOT_1_13_X64                /usr/local/go1.13
GOROOT_1_14_X64                /usr/local/go1.14
GRADLE_HOME                    /usr/share/gradle
HOME                           /home/vsts
ImageOS                        ubuntu18
ImageVersion                   20200406.2
INPUT_ARGUMENTS                
INVOCATION_ID                  3e6abb812a484ab39fadc9e8721258ee
JAVA_HOME                      /usr/lib/jvm/zulu-8-azure-amd64
JAVA_HOME_11_X64               /usr/lib/jvm/zulu-11-azure-amd64
JAVA_HOME_12_X64               /usr/lib/jvm/zulu-12-azure-amd64
JAVA_HOME_7_X64                /usr/lib/jvm/zulu-7-azure-amd64
JAVA_HOME_8_X64                /usr/lib/jvm/zulu-8-azure-amd64
JOURNAL_STREAM                 9:30085
LANG                           C.UTF-8
LEIN_HOME                      /usr/local/lib/lein
LEIN_JAR                       /usr/local/lib/lein/self-installs/leiningen-2.9…
M2_HOME                        /usr/share/apache-maven-3.6.3
MSDEPLOY_HTTP_USER_AGENT       VSTS_08ccc6b2-4e5e-4621-8f5b-3fe0de2efa22_build…
PATH                           /opt/microsoft/powershell/7:/usr/share/rust/.ca…
PIPELINE_WORKSPACE             /home/vsts/work/1
POWERSHELL_DISTRIBUTION_CHANN… Azure-DevOps-ubuntu18
PSModulePath                   /home/vsts/.local/share/powershell/Modules:/usr…
RUNNER_TOOLSDIRECTORY          /opt/hostedtoolcache
SELENIUM_JAR_PATH              /usr/share/java/selenium-server-standalone.jar
SWIFT_PATH                     /usr/share/swift/usr/bin
SYSTEM                         build
SYSTEM_ARTIFACTSDIRECTORY      /home/vsts/work/1/a
SYSTEM_COLLECTIONID            08ccc6b2-4e5e-4621-8f5b-3fe0de2efa22
SYSTEM_COLLECTIONURI           https://dev.azure.com/ericlanderson/
SYSTEM_CULTURE                 en-US
SYSTEM_DEFAULTWORKINGDIRECTORY /home/vsts/work/1/s
SYSTEM_DEFINITIONID            5
SYSTEM_DEFINITIONNAME          Playground
SYSTEM_ENABLEACCESSTOKEN       SecretVariable
SYSTEM_HOSTTYPE                build
SYSTEM_ISSCHEDULED             False
SYSTEM_JOBATTEMPT              1
SYSTEM_JOBDISPLAYNAME          Build WebApp1
SYSTEM_JOBID                   98395c9e-7365-5c3f-03de-ec42b09a8a98
SYSTEM_JOBIDENTIFIER           WebApp1.__default
SYSTEM_JOBNAME                 __default
SYSTEM_JOBPARALLELISMTAG       Private
SYSTEM_JOBPOSITIONINPHASE      1
SYSTEM_PHASEATTEMPT            1
SYSTEM_PHASEDISPLAYNAME        Build WebApp1
SYSTEM_PHASEID                 a142d6c6-ff80-5cff-8292-5044e2c5b0ef
SYSTEM_PHASENAME               WebApp1
SYSTEM_PIPELINESTARTTIME       2020-04-22 06:11:44-05:00
SYSTEM_PLANID                  726fda14-a3a2-45b1-b745-bef8cf17bdaa
SYSTEM_PULLREQUEST_ISFORK      False
SYSTEM_PULLREQUEST_PULLREQUES… 10
SYSTEM_PULLREQUEST_PULLREQUES… 1
SYSTEM_PULLREQUEST_SOURCEBRAN… refs/heads/docChanges
SYSTEM_PULLREQUEST_SOURCECOMM… ba11cb768bc75ae65ff6b7ac6afb8a2950063f07
SYSTEM_PULLREQUEST_SOURCEREPO… https://[email protected]/ericlanders…
SYSTEM_PULLREQUEST_TARGETBRAN… refs/heads/master
SYSTEM_SERVERTYPE              Hosted
SYSTEM_STAGEATTEMPT            1
SYSTEM_STAGEDISPLAYNAME        __default
SYSTEM_STAGEID                 96ac2280-8cb4-5df5-99de-dd2da759617d
SYSTEM_STAGENAME               __default
SYSTEM_TASKDEFINITIONSURI      https://dev.azure.com/ericlanderson/
SYSTEM_TASKDISPLAYNAME         PowerShell
SYSTEM_TASKINSTANCEID          6417fa85-e8cf-55f9-817e-d698bd79d6f7
SYSTEM_TASKINSTANCENAME        PowerShell
SYSTEM_TEAMFOUNDATIONCOLLECTI… https://dev.azure.com/ericlanderson/
SYSTEM_TEAMFOUNDATIONSERVERURI https://dev.azure.com/ericlanderson/
SYSTEM_TEAMPROJECT             Playground
SYSTEM_TEAMPROJECTID           7550ca2f-9ffe-45b7-abd5-c4e92a4a5f4e
SYSTEM_TIMELINEID              726fda14-a3a2-45b1-b745-bef8cf17bdaa
SYSTEM_TOTALJOBSINPHASE        1
SYSTEM_WORKFOLDER              /home/vsts/work
TASK_DISPLAYNAME               PowerShell
TF_BUILD                       True
USER                           vsts
VCPKG_INSTALLATION_ROOT        /usr/local/share/vcpkg
VSTS_AGENT_PERFLOG             /home/vsts/perflog
VSTS_PROCESS_LOOKUP_ID         vsts_54420f58-c41f-4a43-8ce8-bbbac5023620

I don’t know about you but being able to see what paths the built-in path variables actually map to helps me a lot especially when files need to be moved around.

Wrapping Up

As stated above you can do just about anything with the PowerShell task. I have used it for everything from reading a JSON file to building a VM for QA. If you hadn’t used this task before I hope this post helped you get started and opened your eyes to the huge range of things you can do with the PowerShell task.


Also published on Medium.

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