Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Should I use GitHub to use the ten free Azure Pipelines?

At yesterday's meetup we got this question: why should I use GitHub to get the ten free parallel Azure Pipelines if I already have a project in the service?

It is an excellent question, and the answer is that you should use GitHub only if you want to. As long as a project is marked as Public in Azure DevOps it will get the ten free pipelines!

You can verify it yourself: mark a project as Public:

Now browse to the Retention and parallel jobs section of the Build and Release settings menu, and check it yourself under the Parallel Jobs tab - 10 jobs!

Having free Pipelines is not about being forced to use GitHub, it just means you get them as long as your project is public - regardless of the location.

Sunday, 23 September 2018

Use the free Azure Pipeline plan with your GitHub project!

It's been a couple of weeks from the Azure DevOps announcement, and I am contemplating an amazing London sunset while I prepare for tomorrow's event.

Before getting distracted by the landscape, I was setting up the free Azure Pipelines offer with a GitHub repository of mine... and I realised how frictionless it is!

Start from here and select the Free plan:


Then select if you want to apply that plan to all your repositories or if you want to use it for select ones:

Now, either select an existing organisation or create a new one, and use a project (in my case a new one called GitHub, but you can use an existing one a well) to refer to the GitHub project. I say refer because the level of interaction with Azure DevOps is kept to a minimum - you are consuming it, but you are not doing anything else with it as of now:

Once you are done, select the template you feel it is closer to your project. In my case I selected a .NET Desktop template because I am building legacy code so it would be the most appropriate:

This will create a yml definition in your repository. Save it, and trigger it - job done!

This was for something I had there since I barely remember when...hence it should not be too difficult to set up Pipelines for your project! 😊

The build is already set up to perform CI and PR validation, so there is little effort other than create it and potentially customise it.

And it is not a joke when we mention the ten parallel free pipelines - they are already there, provisioned for your account!

Monday, 17 September 2018

So... what happened to VSTS?

Yes I know – it is a bit of an old news, but I was on holiday and I realised that there are so many crumbs of information around, hence a nice summarising post would help.

On 10th September, Visual Studio Team Services became Azure DevOps. First things first: does this mean that now you cannot target on-premise, AWS or GCP? You couldn’t be more wrong – there is no change on that front. You are free to use any technology and to target any environment with it, it just happens to fall under the Azure umbrella.

I personally feel that the new name, despite being a huge change, underlines the fact that the stack is a business driver, not just a development tool. If you are an existing VSTS Azure DevOps user, what changes for you is how the product is packaged – if you had to get all of the VSTS Azure DevOps services before, now you can choose what to actually get: Boards, Pipelines, Repos, etc.
So you will get a nice per-project selector:

This means that if you want to use an Azure DevOps project just for the Work Item Tracking features and completely hide the Repos, you can totally do that.

Also, the whole UX changed. For the better, I reckon – I find it much improved in pretty much all areas, it just feels better to use. The URL formatting changed (from <org>.visualstudio.com to dev.azure.com/<org>), but it won’t break anything – Microsoft is well aware of this, and it is not going to touch the URLs for the foreseeable future.

Then, the elephant in the room – the open-source offering for Azure Pipelines. When I first heard about it, I had to double check I was not making a mistake. Ten free parallel jobs (effectively it is like having ten build machines) with unlimited minutes for OSS projects, regardless of what technologies you use. The agents run on Windows, Linux and MacOS, making it really cross-platform and open to everyone.

Put aside technology for a moment, and think about it. Ten parallel builds with unlimited minutes, for free. It would a relevant cost that is completely slashed away, making end-to-end OSS delivery as easy as drinking a cup of coffee. I believe it is quite unprecedented, and kudos to Microsoft for offering this.

Eventually, Team Foundation Server is going to be renamed to Azure DevOps Server from the next major release. No other changes on that front, it is still a regular snapshot of Azure DevOps brought on-premise. And no, I don't think it is going to be discontinued anytime soon!

That’s it in a nutshell. It’s a large revamp, but the underlying pillars are still there. Enjoy it!