How to fork a GitHub repository and contribute to an open source project

I enjoying maintaining open source GitHub repositories such as dbachecks and ADSNotebook. I absolutely love it when people add more functionality to them.

To collaborate with a repository in GitHub you need to follow these steps

  • Fork the repository into your own GitHub
  • Clone the repository to your local machine
  • Create a new branch for your changes
  • Make some changes and commit them with useful messages
  • Push the changes to your repository
  • Create a Pull Request from your repository back to the original one

You will need to have git.exe available which you can download and install from https://git-scm.com/downloads if required

Fork the repository into your own GitHub

A fork is a copy of the original repository. This allows you to make changes without affecting the original project. It does not get updated when the original project gets updated (We will talk about that in the next post) This enables you to code a new feature or a bug fix, test it locally and make sure it is working.

Let’s take dbachecks as our example. Start by going to the project in GiHub. In this case the URL is https://github.com/sqlcollaborative/dbachecks You will see a Fork button at the top right of the page

When you click the button the repository is copied into your own GitHub account

The page will open at https://github.com/YOURGITHUBUSERNAME/NameOfRepository in this case https://github.com/SQLDBAWithABeard/dbachecks You will be able to see that it is a fork of the original repository at the top of the page

Clone the repository to your local machine

Forking the repository has created a remote repository stored on the GitHub servers. Now that the repository has been forked you need to clone it to your local machine to create a local repository so that you can start coding your amazing fix. When you have finished you can then sync it back to your remote repository ready for a Pull Request back to the original repository.

In your browser, at your remote repository that you just created (https://github.com/YOURGITHUBUSERNAME/NameOfRepository if you have closed the page) click on Clone or Download and then the icon to the right to copy the url

You can clone your repository in VS Code or Azure Data Studio by clicking F1 or CTRL + SHIFT + P in Windows or Linux and β‡§βŒ˜P or F1 on a Mac

then start typing clone until you see Git:Clone and press enter or click

Paste in the URL that you just copied and click enter. A dialog will open asking you to select a folder. This is the parent directory where your local repository will be created. The clone will create a directory for your repository so you do not need to. I suggest that you use a folder called GitHub or something similar to place all of the repositories that you are going to clone and create.

When it has finished it will ask you if you wish to open the repository

if you click Open it will close anything that you have already got opened and open the folder. If you click Add to Workspace it will add the folder to the workspace and leave everything you already had open as it was and surprisingly clicking Open in New Window will open the folder in a new instance of Visual Studio Code or Azure Data Studio!

and you will also be able to see the local repository files on your computer

You can clone the repository at the command line if you wish by navigating to your local GitHub directory and running git clone TheURLYouCopied

Now your local repository has been created, it’s time to do your magic coding.

Create a new branch for your changes

It is a good idea to create a branch for your amazing new feature This enables you to work on coding for that feature in isolation. It has the added advantage that if you mess it right royally up, you can just delete that branch and start again with a new one!

To create a branch in VS Code or Azure Data Studio you can click on the branch name at the bottom left.

Or open the Command Palette and type Branch until you see Git: Create Branch

You will be prompted for a branch name

I like to choose a name that relates to the code that I am writing like configurable_engine or removeerroringexample You can see the name of the branch in the bottom left so that you always know which branch you are working on.

The icon shows that the branch is only local and hasn’t been pushed (published) to the remote repository yet

Make some changes and commit them with useful messages

Now you can start writing your code for your awesome new feature, bug fix or maybe just documentation improvement. Keep your commits small and give them useful commit messages that explain why you have made the change as the diff tooling will be able to show what change you have made

Write your code or change the documentation, save the file and in Visual Studio Code or Azure Data Studio you will see that the source control icon has a number on it

Clicking on the icon will show the files that have changes ready

You can write your commit message in the box and click CTRL + ENTER to commit your changes with a message

If you want to do this at the command line, you can use git status to see which files have changes

You will need to git add .or git add .\pathtofile to stage your changes ready for committing and then git commit -m 'Commit Message' to commit them

Notice that I did exactly what I just said not to do! A better commit message would have been So that people can find the guide to forking and creating a PR

Push the changes to your repository

You only have the changes that you have made in your local repository on your computer. Now you need to push those changes to Github your remote repository. You can click on the publish icon

You will get a pop-up asking you if you wish to stage your changes. I click Yes and never Always so that I can use this prompt as a sanity check that I am doing the right thing

At the command line you can push the branch, if you do that, you will have to tell git where the branch needs to go. If you just type git push it will helpfully tell you

fatal: The current branch AwesomeNewFeature has no upstream branch.
To push the current branch and set the remote as upstream, use

    git push --set-upstream origin AwesomeNewFeature

So you will need to use that command

You can see in the bottom left that the icon has changed

and if you read the output of the git push command you will see what the next step is also.

Create a Pull Request from your repository back to the original one

You can CTRL click the link in the git push output if you have pushed from the command line or if you visit either you repository or the original repository in your browser you will see that there is a Compare and Pull Request button

You click that and let GitHub do its magic

and it will create a Pull Request for you ready for you to fill in the required information, ask for reviewers and other options. Once you have done that you can click Create pull request and wait for the project maintainer to review it and (hopefully) accept it into their project

You can find the Pull Request that I created here https://github.com/sqlcollaborative/dbachecks/pull/720 and see how the rest of this blog post was created.

If you make more changes to the code in the same branch in your local repository and push them, they will automatically be added to this Pull Request whilst it is open. You can do this if the maintainer or reviewer asks for changes.

Shane has asked for a change

So I can go to my local repository in Azure Data Studio and make the requested change and save the file. If I look in the source control in Azure Data Studio I can again see there is a change waiting to be committed and if I click on the name of the file I can open the diff tool to see what the change was

Once I am happy with my change I can commit it again in the same way as before either in the editor or at the command line. The icon at the bottom will change to show that I have one commit in my local repository waiting to be pushed

To do the same thing at the command line I can type git status and see the same thing.

I can then push my change to my remote repository either in the GUI or by using git push

and it will automatically be added to the Pull Request as you can see

Now that the required changes for the review have been made, the review has been approved by Shane and the pull request is now ready to be merged. (You can also see that dbachecks runs some checks against the code when a Pull Request is made)

Many, many thanks to Shane b | t who helped with the writing of this post even whilst on a “no tech” holiday.

Go Ahead – Contribute to an Open Source Project

Hopefully you can now see how easy it is to create a fork of a GitHub repository, clone it to your own machine and contribute. There are many open source projects that you can contribute to.

You can use this process to contribute to the Microsoft Docs for example by clicking on the edit button on any page.

You can contribute other open source projects like

or go and find the the ones that you use and can help with.

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Dynamically Creating Azure Data Studio Notebooks with PowerShell for an Incident Response Index Notebook

Now that Azure Data Studio has PowerShell Notebooks and there is a PowerShell Module for creating notebooks. I have been asked, more than once, what is the point? What is the use case? How does this help. I hope that this post will spark some ideas of one particular use-case.

I showed my silly example PowerShell code to create a PowerShell Notebook that created a PowerShell Notebook to my good friend Nick.

Nick is a fantastic, clever DBA who isn’t active on social media, which is a great shame as if he had time to share some of his fantastic work we would all benefit. He looked at that code and less than an hour later, came back to me with this code and idea which I have replicated here with his permission.

Thanks Nick.

The Use Case

The use case that Nick has is that he is converting some troubleshooting runbooks from their original locations (you know the sort of places – Sharepoint Docs, OneNote Notebooks, Shared Folders, the desktop of the Bastion Host) into a single repository of Azure Data Studio SQL or PowerShell Notebooks.

The idea is to have a single entry point into the troubleshooting steps and for the on-call DBA to create a Notebook from a template for the issue at hand which could be attached to an incident in the incident management solution. I suppose you could call it an Index Notebook.

Work Flow

When the DBA (or another team) opens this Notebook, they can choose the task that they are going to perform and click the link which will

  • copy the Notebook to the local machine
  • Rename the Notebook with the username and date
  • Open it ready for the work.

Once the work has been completed, the DBA can then attach the Notebook to the task or incident that has been created or use it in the Wash-Up/ Post Incident meeting.

This ensures that the original template notebook stays intact and unchanged and it is easy (which is always good when you are called out at 3am!) to create a uniquely named notebook .

Azure DevOps

Nick has placed this code into the deploy step in Azure DevOps which will deploy the template Notebooks from source control into the common folder and then this code will dynamically create the index Notebook each time there is a release.

Whilst the initial use case is incident response, this could easily be adapted for Notebooks used for Common Tasks or Run Books.

Notebooks

There are a number of Notebooks for different issue stored in directories. For this post, I have used the Notebooks from Microsoft that explain SQL 2019 features and troubleshooting which you can find in their GitHub repositories by following this link

The Azure DevOps deploys the Notebooks to a directory which then looks something like this

Some directories of Notebooks in a directory

Create an Index Notebook

Here is the code to create an index Notebook

This creates a Notebook in the root of the folder. It also uses the new -Collapse parameter in New-AdsNoteBookCell that creates the code blocks with the code collapsed so that it looks neater. The index Notebook looks like this in the root of the folder

Three O’Clock in the Morning

It’s 3am and I have been called out. I can open up the Index Notebook, find the set of queries I want to run and click the run button.

A new workbook opens up, named with my name and the time and I can get to work πŸ™‚ I think it’s neat.

Here’s a video

Thanks Nick.

Maybe you can find him at SQL Bits next year. Did you know that SQL Bits 2020 was announced?

Check out https://sqlbits.com for more details

Create a PowerShell Notebook for Azure Data Studio with PowerShell

The latest update to the ADSNotebook PowerShell module I blogged about here now enables the creation of PowerShell notebooks with PowerShell.

You can install the module with

Install-Module ADSNotebook

or if you have already installed it you can use

Update-Module ADSNotebook

In the latest release, there is an extra parameter for New-AdsWorkBook of -Type which will accept either SQL or PowerShell

Create a PowerShell Notebook with PowerShell Rob

OK!

Here is some code to create a PowerShell Notebook. First we will create some cells using New-AdsWorkBookCell including all the markdown to add images and links. You can find my notebooks which explain how to write the markdown for your notebooks in my GitHub Presentations Repository

$introCelltext = "# Welcome to my Auto Generated PowerShell Notebook

## dbatools
![image](https://user-images.githubusercontent.com/6729780/68845538-7afcd200-06c3-11ea-952e-e4fe72a68fc8.png)  

dbatools is an open-source PowerShell Module for administering SQL Servers.
You can read more about dbatools and find the documentation at [dbatools.io](dbatools.io)
"
$SecondCelltext = "### Installation
You can install dbatools from the PowerShell Gallery using `Install-Module dbatools`
"

$thirdcelltext = "Install-Module dbatools"

$fourthCelltext = "### Getting Help
You should always use `Get-Help` to fins out how to use dbatools (and any PowerShell) commands"

$fifthcelltext = "Get-Help Get-DbaDatabase"
$sixthCelltext = "Try a command now. get the name, owner and collation of the user databases on the local instance"
$seventhCellText = "Get-DbaDatabase -SqlInstance localhost -ExcludeSystem | Select Name, Owner, Collation"

$Intro = New-ADSWorkBookCell -Type Text -Text $introCelltext
$second = New-ADSWorkBookCell -Type Text -Text $SecondCelltext
$third = New-ADSWorkBookCell -Type Code -Text $thirdcelltext
$fourth = New-ADSWorkBookCell -Type Text -Text $fourthCelltext
$fifth = New-ADSWorkBookCell -Type Code -Text $fifthcelltext
$sixth = New-ADSWorkBookCell -Type Text -Text $sixthCelltext
$seventh = New-ADSWorkBookCell -Type Code -Text $seventhCellText

Then we will create a new workbook using those cells

$path = 'C:\temp\dbatools.ipynb'
New-ADSWorkBook -Path $path -cells $Intro,$second,$third,$fourth,$fifth,$sixth,$Seventh -Type PowerShell

Then, when that code is run we can open the Notebook and ta-da

And it is super quick to run as well

UPDATE – Tyler Leonhardt t from the PowerShell team asked

Challenge accepted, with extra meta, here is the PowerShell to create a PowerShell Notebook which will create a PowerShell Notebook!!

Create Azure Data Studio SQL Notebooks with PowerShell

At PASS Summit today I gave a presentation about SQL Notebooks in Azure Data Studio for the DBA. I demo’d the PowerShell module ADSSQLNotebook.

which you can also find on GitHub (where I will be glad to take PR’s to improve it πŸ™‚ )

This module has 3 functions

This module contains only 3 commands at present

  • Convert-ADSPowerShellForMarkdown

This will create the markdown link for embedding PowerShell code in a Text Cell for a SQL Notebook as described in this blog post

  • New-ADSWorkBookCell

This command will create a workbook text cell or a code cell for adding to the New-ADSWorkBook command

  • New-ADSWorkBook

This will create a new SQL Notebook using the cell objects created by New-ADSWorkBookCell

Usage

Convert-ADSPowerShellForMarkdown

Convert-ADSPowerShellForMarkdown -InputText "Get-ChildItem" -LinkText 'This will list the files' -ToClipBoard

Converts the PowerShell so that it works with MarkDown and sets it to the clipboard for pasting into a workbook cell

New-ADSWorkBookCell

$introCelltext = "# Welcome to my Auto Generated Notebook

## Automation
Using this we can automate the creation of notebooks for our use
"
$Intro = New-ADSWorkBookCell -Type Text -Text $introCelltext

Creates an Azure Data Studio Text cell and sets it to a variable for passing to  New-AdsWorkBook

New-ADSWorkBook

$introCelltext = "# Welcome to my Auto     Generated Notebook

## Automation
Using this we can automate the creation of notebooks for our use
"
$SecondCelltext = "## Running code
The next cell will have some code in it for running

## Server Principals
Below is the code to run against your     instance to find the server principals that are enabled"

$thirdcelltext = "SELECT Name
FROM sys.server_principals
WHERE is_disabled = 0"
$Intro = New-ADSWorkBookCell -Type Text -Text $introCelltext
$second = New-ADSWorkBookCell -Type Text  -Text $SecondCelltext
$third = New-ADSWorkBookCell -Type Code -Text $thirdcelltext

$path = 'C:\temp\AutoGenerated.ipynb'
New-ADSWorkBook -Path $path -cells $Intro,$second,$third

Creates 3 cells with New-AdsWorkBookCells to add to the workbook,
two text ones and a code one, then creates a SQL Notebook with
those cells and saves it as     C:\temp\AutoGenerated.ipynb

Installation

You can install this Module from the PowerShell Gallery using

Install-Module ADSNotebook

Compatability

This module has been tested on Windows PowerShell 5.1, PowerShell Core 6 and PowerShell 7 on Windows 10 and Ubuntu

Demo

PowerShell Notebooks in Azure Data Studio

The latest release of the insiders edition of Azure Data Studio brings the first edition of PowerShell Notebooks!

You can download the latest insiders edition from the link above, it can be installed alongside the stable release.

To access many of the commands available use F1 to open the command palette (like many of my tips this also works in Visual Studio Code). You can then start typing to get the command that you want.

You can then hit enter with the command that you want highlighted, use the mouse or use the shortcut which is displayed to the right.

In a new notebook, you can click the drop down next to kernel and now you can see that PowerShell is available

When you choose the PowerShell kernel, you will get a prompt asking you to configure the Python installation

If you have Python already installed you can browse to the location that it is installed or you can install Python. In the bottom pane you will be able to see the progress of the installation.

When it has completed, you will see

You may also get a prompt asking if you would like to upgrade some packages

Again this will be displayed in the tasks pane

Adding PowerShell


To add PowerShell Code to the notebook click the Code button at the top of the file

or the one you can find by highlighting above or below a block

I did not have intellisense, but you can easily write your code in Azure Data Studio or Visual Studio Code and paste it in the block.

Interestingly Shawn Melton ( t ) did

This was because he had the PowerShell extension installed and I did not (I know !!)
If you find you dont have intellisense then install the PowerShell extension!

Clicking the play button (which is only visible when you hover the mouse over it) will run the code

You can clear the results from every code block using the clear results button at the top

Otherwise, you can save the results with the Notebook by saving it. This is the part that is missing from running PowerShell in the Markdown blocks in a SQL Notebook as I described here

I am looking forward to how this develops. You can find my sample PowerShell notebook (with the code results) here

PowerShell in SQL Notebooks in Azure Data Studio

I have done a lot of writing in the last few months but you see no blog posts! My wonderful friend Chrissy and I are writing “dbatools in a Month of Lunches” to be published by Manning. That has taken up a lot of my writing mojo. We have hit a little break whilst we have some reviews done ready for the MEAP (For everyone who asks, the answer is the unfulfilling ‘soon’) so it’s time for a blog post!

SQL Notebooks are cool

I have had a lot of fun with SQL Notebooks recently. I have presented a session about them at a couple of events this month DataGrillen and SQL Saturday Cork. Here is a little snippet

Yes, you can run PowerShell in a SQL Notebook in Azure Data Studio just by clicking a link in the markdown cell. This opens up a lot of excellent possibilities.

I have had several discussions about how SQL Notebooks can be used by SQL DBAs within their normal everyday roles. (Mainly because I don’t really understand what the sorcerers of data science do with notebooks!). I have helped clients to look at some of their processes and use SQL Notebooks to help with them. Creating Disaster Recovery or Change Run-books or Incident Response Templates or using them for product demonstrations. Of course, I needed to use PowerShell in that πŸ™‚

I have really enjoyed working out how to run PowerShell in the markdown in a SQL Notebook in Azure Data Studio and I think Anthony the kubernetes magician did too!

OK enough magic puns lets talk about PowerShell in SQL Notebooks. You can read about how to create a SQL Notebook and run T-SQL queries here, (you no longer need the Insider Edition by the way)

PowerShell in Markdown!

First, before I go any further, I must say this. I was at the European PowerShell Conference when I was working this out and creating my sessions and I said the words

“Cool, I can click a link and run PowerShell, this is neat”

A Beardy fellow in Hannover

This stopped some red team friends of mine in their tracks and they said “Show me”. One of them was rubbing their hands with glee! You can imagine the sort of wicked, devious things that they were immediately considering doing.

Yes, it’s funny but also it carries a serious warning. Without understanding what it is doing, please don’t enable PowerShell to be run in a SQL Notebook that someone sent you in an email or you find on a GitHub. In the same way as you don’t open the word document attachment which will get a thousand million trillion pounddollars into your bank account or run code you copy from the internet on production without understanding what it does, this could be a very dangerous thing to do.

With that warning out of the way, there are loads of really useful and fantastic use cases for this. SQL Notebooks make great run-books or incident response recorders and PowerShell is an obvious tool for this. (If only we could save the PowerShell output in a SQL Notebook, this would be even better)

How on earth did you work this out?

Someone asked me how I worked it out. I didn’t! It began with Vicky Harp PM lead for the SQL Tools team at Microsoft

I then went and looked at Kevin Cunnane‘s notebook. Kevin is a member of the tools team working on Azure Data Studio. With SQL Notebooks, you can double click the markdown cell and see the code that is behind it. To understand how it is working, lets deviate a little.

Keyboard Shortcuts

IF you click the cog at the bottom left of Azure Data Studio and choose Keyboard Shortcuts

you can make Azure Data Studio (and Visual Studio Code) work exactly how you want it to. Typing in the top box will find a command and you can then set the shortcuts that you want to use to save yourself time.

This also enables you to see the command that is called when you use a keyboard shortcut. For example, you can see that for the focus terminal command it says workbench.action.terminal.focus.

It turns out that you can call this as a link in a Markdown document using HTML with <a href=""> and adding command: prior to the command text. When the link is clicked the command will run. Cool πŸ™‚

For this to be able to work (you read the warning above?) you need to set the Notebook to be trusted by clicking this button.

This will allow any command to be run. Of course, people with beards will helpfully advise when this is required for a SQL Notebook. (Safe to say people attempting nefarious actions will try the same with your users)

Now that we know how to run an Azure Data Studio command using a link in a markdown cell the next step is to run a PowerShell command. I headed to the Visual Studio Code documentation and found

Send text from a keybinding
The workbench.action.terminal.sendSequence command can be used to send a specific sequence of text to the terminal, including escape sequence

That’s the command we need, however, we still need to craft the command so that it will work as a link. It needs to be converted into a URL.

I started by using this website https://www.url-encode-decode.com/ to do this. This is how you can check the code in other peoples notebook, use the decode capability.

Encoding Set-Location C:\dbachecks gives Set-Location+C%3A%5Cdbacheck`

So I can just put that code into the href link and bingo!

If only it was that easy!!

Some Replacing is required

The + needs to be replaced with a space or %20

You also need to double the \ and replace the %3A with a :
The " needs to be replaced with \u022, the ' with \u027, the curly braces won’t work unless you remove the %0D%0A. Got all that? Good!

Once you have written your PowerShell, encoded it, performed the replacements, you add \u000D at the end of the code to pass an enter to run the code and then place all of that into a link like this

<a href="command:workbench.action.terminal.sendSequence?%7B%22text%22%3A%22 PLACE THE ENCODED CODE HERE %22%7D">Link Text</a>

This means that if you want to add the PowerShell code to set a location and then list the files and folders in that location to a Markdown cell using PowerShell like this

Set-Location C:\dbachecks
Get-ChildItem

You would end up with a link like this

<a href="command:workbench.action.terminal.sendSequence?%7B%22text%22%3A%22 Set-Location C:%5C%5Cdbachecks \u000D Get-ChildItem \u000D %22%7D">Set Location and list files</a>

Doing something more than once?

I don’t want to remember that all of the time so I wrote a PowerShell function. You can find it on GitHub https://github.com/SQLDBAWithABeard/Functions/blob/master/Convert-ADSPowerShellForMarkdown.ps1

This will take a PowerShell command and turn it into a link that will work in an Azure Data Studio markdown. It’s not magic, it’s PowerShell. There is a –ToClipboard parameter which will copy the code to the clipboard ready for you to paste into the cell (On Windows machines only)

Giants

There are many uses for this but here’s one I think is cool.

The link below will go to a notebook, which will show how you the giants upon whose shoulders I stand

Glenn Berry,
Chrissy LeMaire,
AndrΓ© Kamman,
Gianluca Sartori

have enabled me to create a SQL Notebook with a link which will run some PowerShell to create a SQL Notebook which will have all of the Diagnostic Queries in it.

You could possibly use something like it for your incident response SQL Notebook.

It’s also cool that GitHub renders the notebook in a browser (You can’t run PowerShell or T-SQL from there though, you need Azure Data Studio!)

https://github.com/SQLDBAWithABeard/Presentations/blob/master/2019/Berlin%20SQL%20User%20Group/04%20-%20Glenn%20Berry%20Notebook.ipynb


Azure SQL Linux VM – configuring SQL, installing pwsh and connecting and interacting with dbatools

In my posts about using Azure Devops to build Azure resources with Terraform, I built a Linux SQL VM. I used the Terrafrom in this GitHub repository and created this

Connecting with MobaXterm

I had set the Network security rules to accept connections only from my static IP using variables in the Build Pipeline. I use MobaXterm as my SSH client. Its a free download. I click on sessions

Choose a SSH session and fill in the remote host address from the portal

fill in the password and

Configuring SQL

The next task is to configure the SQL installation. Following the instructions on the Microsoft docs site I run

enter the sa password and

Now to start SQL

Installing pwsh

Installing PowerShell Core (pwsh) is easy with snap

A couple of minutes of downloads and install

and pwsh is ready for use

Installing dbatools

To install dbatools from the Powershell Gallery simply run

This will prompt you to allow installing from an untrusted repository

and dbatools is ready to go

Connecting with Azure Data Studio

I can also connect with Azure Data Studio

and connect

Just a quick little post explaining what I did πŸ™‚

Happy Linuxing!

Using Azure DevOps Build Pipeline Templates with Terraform to build an AKS cluster

In the last few posts I have moved from building an Azure SQL DB with Terraform using VS Code to automating the build process for the Azure SQL DB using Azure DevOps Build Pipelines to using Task Groups in Azure DevOps to reuse the same Build Process and build an Azure Linux SQL VM and Network Security Group. This evolution is fantastic but Task Groups can only be used in the same Azure DevOps repository. It would be brilliant if I could use Configuration as Code for the Azure Build Pipeline and store that in a separate source control repository which can be used from any Azure DevOps Project.

Luckily, you can πŸ˜‰ You can use Azure DevOps Job Templates to achieve this. There is a limitation at present, you can only use them for Build Pipelines and not Release Pipelines.

The aim of this little blog series was to have a single Build Pipeline stored as code which I can use to build any infrastructure that I want with Terraform in Azure and be able to use it anywhere

Creating a Build Pipeline Template

I created a GitHub repository to hold my Build Templates, feel free to use them as a base for your own but please don’t try and use the repo for your own builds.

The easiest way to create a Build Template is to already have a Build Pipeline. This cannot be done from a Task Group but I still have the Build Pipeline from my automating the build process for the Azure SQL DB using Azure DevOps Build Pipelines blog post.

There is a View YAML button. I can click this to view the YAML definition of the Build Pipeline

I copy that and paste it into a new file in my BuildTemplates repository. (I have replaced my Azure Subscription information in the public repository)

Now I can use this yaml as configuration as code for my Build Pipeline πŸ™‚ It can be used from any Azure DevOps project. Once you start looking at the code and the documentation for the yaml schema you can begin to write your pipelines as YAML, but sometimes it is easier to just create build pipeline or even just a job step in the browser and click the view yaml button!

Create an AKS Cluster with a SQL 2019 container using Terraform and Build templates

I have a GitHub Repository with the Terraform code to build a simple AKS cluster. This could not have been achieved without Richard Cheney’s article I am not going to explain how it all works for this blog post or some of the negatives of doing it this way. Instead lets build an Azure DevOps Build Pipeline to build it with Terraform using Configuration as Code (the yaml file)

I am going to create a new Azure DevOps Build Pipeline and as in the previous posts connect it to the GitHub Repository holding the Terraform code.

This time I am going to choose the Configuration as code template

I am going to give it a name and it will show me that it needs the path to the yaml file containing the build definition in the current repository.

Clicking the 3 ellipses will pop-up a file chooser and I pick the build.yaml file

The build.yaml file looks like this. The name is the USER/Repository Name and the endpoint is the name of the endpoint for the GitHub service connection in Azure DevOps. The template value is the name of the build yaml file @ the name given for the repository value.

You can find (and change) your GitHub service connection name by clicking on the cog bottom left in Azure DevOps and clicking service connections

I still need to create my variables for my Terraform template (perhaps I can now just leave those in my code?) For the AKS Cluster build right now I have to add presentation, location, ResourceGroupName, AgentPoolName, ServiceName, VMSize, agent_count

Then I click save and queue and the job starts running

If I want to edit the pipeline it looks a little different

The variables and triggers can be found under the 3 ellipses on the top right

It also defaults the trigger to automatic deployment.

It takes a bit longer to build

and when I get the Terraform code wrong and the build fails, I can just alter the code, commit it, push and a new build will start and the Terraform will work out what is built and what needs to be built!

but eventually the job finishes successfully

and the resources are built

and in Visual Studio Code with the Kubernetes extension installed I can connect to the cluster by clicking the 3 ellipses and Add Existing Cluster

I choose Azure Kubernetes Services and click next

Choose my subscription and then add the cluster

and then I can explore my cluster

I can also see the dashboard by right clicking on the cluster name and Open Dashboard

Right clicking on the service name and choosing describe

shows the external IP address, which I can put into Azure Data Studio and connect to my container

So I now I can source control my Build Job Steps and hold them in a central repository. I can make use of them in any project. This gives me much more control and saves me from repeating myself repeating myself. The disadvantage is that there is no handy warning when I change the underlying Build Repository that I will be affecting other Build Pipelines and there is no easy method to see which Build Pipelines are dependent on the build yaml file

Happy Automating

Using the same Azure DevOps build steps for Terraform with different Pipelines with Task Groups to build an Azure Linux SQL VM

In my last post I showed how to build an Azure DevOps Pipeline for a Terraform build of an Azure SQLDB. This will take the terraform code and build the required infrastructure.

The plan all along has been to enable me to build different environments depending on the requirement. Obviously I can repeat the steps from the last post for a new repository containing a Terraform code for a different environment but

If you are going to do something more than once Automate It

who first said this? Anyone know?

The build steps for building the Terraform are the same each time (if I keep a standard folder and naming structure) so it would be much more beneficial if I could keep them in a single place and any alterations to the process only need to be made in the one place πŸ™‚

Task Groups

Azure DevOps has task groups. On the Microsoft Docs web-page they are described as


task group allows you to encapsulate a sequence of tasks, already defined in a build or a release pipeline, into a single reusable task that can be added to a build or release pipeline, just like any other tas


https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/devops/pipelines/library/task-groups?view=azure-devops

If you are doing this with a more complicated existing build pipeline it is important that you read the Before You Create A Task Group on the docs page. This will save you time when trying to understand why variables are not available (Another grey hair on my beard!)

Creating A Task Group

Here’s the thing, creating a task group is so easy it should be the default way you create Azure DevOps Pipelines. Let me walk you through it

I will use the Build Pipeline from the previous post. Click edit from the build page

Then CTRL and click to select all of the steps

Right Click and theres a Create Task Group button to click !

You can see that it has helpfully added the values for the parameters it requires for the location, Storage Account and the Resource Group.

Remember the grey beard hair above? We need to change those values to use the variables that we will add to the Build Pipeline using

Once you have done that click Create

This will also alter the current Build Pipeline to use the Task Group. Now we have a Task Group that we can use in any build pipeline in this project.

Using the Task Group with a new Build Pipeline to build an Azure Linux SQL VM

Lets re-use the build steps to create an Azure SQL Linux VM. First I created a new GitHub Repository for my Terraform code. Using the docs I created the Terraform to create a resource group, a Linux SQL VM, a virtual network, a subnet, a NIC for the VM, a public IP for the VM, a netwwork security group with two rules, one for SQL and one for SSH. It will look like this

The next step is to choose the repository

again we are going to select Empty job (although the next post will be about the Configuration as Code πŸ™‚

As before we will name the Build Pipeline and the Agent Job Step and click the + to add a new task. This time we will search for the Task Group name that we created

I need to add in the variables from the variable.tf in the code and also for the Task Group

and when I click save and queue

It runs for less than 7 minutes

and when I look in the Azure portal

and I can connect in Azure Data Studio

Altering The Task Group

You can find the Task Groups under Pipelines in your Azure DevOps project

Click on the Task Group that you have created and then you can alter, edit it if required and click save

This will warn you that any changes will affect all pipelines and task groups that are using this task group. To find out what will be affected click on references


which will show you what will be affected.

Now I can run the same build steps for any Build Pipeline and alter them all in a single place using Task Groups simplifying the administration of the Build Pipelines.

The next post will show how to use Azure DevOps templates to use the same build steps across many projects and build pipelines and will build a simple AKS cluster

The first post showed how to build an Azure SQLDB with Terraform using VS Code

The second post showed how to use Azure DevOps Task Groups to use the same build steps in multiple pipelines and build an Azure Linux SQL Server VM

Happy Automating!

Adding a Folder of Scripts to GitHub with Azure Data Studio

In my last post I showed how to add a folder of scripts to GitHub using Visual Studio Code.

You can do it with Azure Data Studio as well. It’s exactly the same steps!

The blog post could end here but read on for some screen shots πŸ˜‰

Follow the previous post for details of setting up a new GitHub account

Create a repository in Github


Open the folder in Azure Data Studio with CTRL K CTRL O (Or File –> Open Folder)

Click on the Source Control icon or CTRL + SHIFT + G and then Initialize Repository

Choose the folder

Write a commit message

Say yes to the prompt. Press CTRL + ‘ to open the terminal

Navigate to the scripts folder. (I have a PSDrive set up to my Git folder)

and copy the code from the GitHub page after “…or push an existing repository from the command line”

and run it

and there are your scripts in GitHub

Make some changes to a script and it will go muddy brown

and then write a commit message. If you click on the file name in the scource control tab then you can see the changes that have been made, that are not currently tracked

Commit the change with CTRL + ENTER and then click the roundy-roundy icon (seriously anyone know its name ?) click yes on the prompt and your changes are in GitHub as well πŸ™‚

Realistically, you can use the previous post to do this with Azure Data Studio as it is built on top of Visual Studio Code but I thought it was worth showing the steps in Azure Data Studio.

Happy Source Controlling