Azure DevOps Releases: Auto Create Release with Pull Requests

Last week we covered auto-creating Release when a build completes. This week we are going to cover how to create a release when a build from a pull request completes. This setup would be helpful for verification of changes before the actual make it into a releasable branch. The following posts will help you catch up if you’re new to the series.

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
Azure DevOps Pipelines: PowerShell Task
Azure DevOps Releases: Auto Create New Release After Pipeline Build

Build Validation Branch Policy

Before we can have a Release created with a pull request we have to make sure that the pull request process does a build. I’m going to review how to do this quickly, for more info see my Branch Policies post. To do this we are going to head over to the Repos section of Azure DevOps. In the Branches section on the branch we want a build on a pull request for select the three dots and then click Branch policies.

On the repo settings page scroll down to the Build Validation section and click the + button to add a build to the pull request process.

The Add build policy dialog has a few options, but we are taking the defaults. Do note that if you have multiple Build pipelines that you make sure and adjust that option to the correct build. Click Save when you’re done.

Release Changes to allow Pull Request Trigger

Based on how we set up our Release to trigger when a build complete you might think that using the same build to validate a Pull Request would automatically trigger a new Release, but that isn’t the case. In most cases, this is actually a good thing since you wouldn’t want to deploy change before they have been reviewed. In the case we are trying to cover our release is to a QA environment so the requested changes can be verified before they make it into a releasable branch.

To enable a Release to be created from a pull request we need to head over to the Pipeline > Release area in Azure DevOps. Once there with the release in question selected click the Edit button.

In the Artifacts, section click the lightning bolt to edit the continuous deployment triggers.

Near the middle of the dialog, we want to Enable the Pull request trigger. Doing this will also require you to enter Target Branch Filters which are the branches that will be allowed to trigger a release when they are a target of a pull request.

Next, we need to enable our sample stage to be deployed for releases based on pull requests. Click the lightning bolt on the left side of the stage to edit the pre-deployment conditions.

On the dialog that shows Enable the Pull request deployment setting.

After closing the dialog make sure and Save the release.


To show the results I created a new branch with a small change and created a PR into the master branch. From the Pull Request, we can click the View all checks button to see the status of the required build.

On the Checks dialog, you can see at the bottom that our sample release ran successfully.

If you click on the release you can see in the artifacts section that the files being used are from the pull request’s merge branch, not the branch being PRed or the target branch.

Wrapping Up

Building and releasing on a pull request opens up a lot of options, especially around making sure your code is verified before making it into a release branch.

Also published on Medium.

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