For the last 2 years we have had the Hands On Lab (https://aka.ms/cicdhol) in a few iterations using Azure DevOps as the platform. Latest revision was published a few weeks ago.
There are however multiple platforms for DevOps out there and I wanted to investigate the functionality of Github, which also is part of the Microsoft family and probably the biggest provider of devops services to developers in the world.
Azure DevOps vs. GitHub
This blog post is not going to do an in-depth comparison on Azure DevOps vs. GitHub – I haven’t worked enought with any of the products to do so. I will only mention a few things I found, when trying to setup a CI/CD pipeline in an AL repo. I did however stumble over a few things, which I want to mention here.
GitHub is natively file based. Almost everything in the repo is in files and very little is in metadata. This makes the CI/CD workshop so much easier.
Azure DevOps does have yaml based pipelines, but there are a lot of metadata around the setup of the pipeline and the release pipelines are almost purely metadata. This makes it fairly complex to complete the hands on lab.
Azure DevOps does however seem more professional and this blog post should not be seen as a recommendation for using GitHub instead of Azure DevOps. I see them more as two options, which can do the same thing.
Setup a GitHub based AL project with CI/CD in 5 minutes…
Login to your Github account
Navigate to https://github.com/businesscentralapps/helloworld
Click Use this template, fill out the repository name and click Create repository from template:
Click Settings -> Secrets and click New repository secret:
Add 3 secrets: LicenseFile (secure Url to your license file), InsiderSasToken (from aka.ms/collaborate) and optionally StorageAccountConnectionString (connection string to an azure Storage Account).
Navigate to Code, Click the Code button and copy the Git Clone url to the clipboard:
Start VS Code, press Ctrl+Shift+P and run the command Git Clone and paste the Git Clone Url:
Select a location for your repository, clone the repo, open the repo and open the workspace:
Open the MySolution.ps1 script and Run the script by clicking the Run Code button:
Click the Source Control area, Stage all changes, Commit and Push:
Go back to GitHub and see that your CI pipeline is running:
Click Details and see the CI pipeline running:
And when the pipeline is over, you will be able to download the artifacts and see the test results.
And if you define another secret called StorageAccountConnectionString, the CD pipeline will make the artifacts available on that storage account (these urls belongs to my storage account: businesscentralapps):
and if you run the release pipeline you get:
This URL from the release pipeline should be added to the settings.json file as previousApps.
That’s it – I will add this to the hands on lab to give people a chance of choice.
Make it your own…
Removing the app, base and test folders and adding your own folders with your apps and tests and then modifying the settings.json file in the scripts folder specify appFolders, testFolders, name and other settings should make the repo work for your own project in another few minutes.
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Freddy, thank you SO much for providing these steps on CICD for Business Central extensions. I have a PTE that we would love have under CICD and I’ve followed the instructions, but I think I’m missing a few things.
> Add 3 secrets: LicenseFile (secure Url to your license file), InsiderSasToken (from aka.ms/collaborate)
Where do I find the LicenseFile?
When I follow the link to the Partner Network, I’m not able to find anything regarding the Insiders program for Business Central … do you know how I could get an invite?
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