Azure Devops Lab 1 - Getting Started


I have seen quite an extensive use of devops for infrastructure, resources and deployment lifecycles of product development and release. It is now quite essential for developers to understand the basics of devops. This is the first article in the series where I am trying to provide a glimpse into Azure devops.

What is Azure devops?

Azure DevOps is a software as a service (SaaS) platform from Microsoft that provides an end-to-end DevOps toolchain for developing and deploying software. In a nutshell it is a platform which brings people, processes, technology and automation together to bring value to customers and speed up the continuous software delivery in a more reliable manner. It keeps your deployment and product delivery life cycle in a more interactive and easy way. 
For the best place to start, visit the below URL:
Before you start with a new account to work with Azure devops check the pricing page to understand the offerings and your needs.
Click on the pricing tab or click the url:
Your page looks like this. For the services Azure devops is almost free for an individual or collaboration for small team of 5 or less.
You are getting 1 free Microsoft host CI/CD agent and 1 free self-hosted agents.
With Microsoft hosted agents, it will give 1800 mins free for a month which is good for small team. If more is needed my recommendation is to buy more minutes from Azure rather than managing your self-hosted agents.
Below are the offerings provided:
  • Azure Pipelines:Includes the free offer from INDIVIDUAL SERVICES
  • Azure Boards: Work item tracking and Kanban boards
  • Azure Repos: Unlimited private Git repos
  • Azure Artifacts:2 GB free per organization
On clicking start new you will be navigated to the page where you will be asked for your user id pass. If you have any credentials then login to get the home. You can  get the login using a GitHub account.
After logging in your home page will look like, this is my dashboard. You can have yours by creating the new organization. 
Organization is way to work with multiple teams across the company or with external venders. You can have multiple organizationswith multiple projects in it.
After you successfully created a new project, you can navigate in that and be able to view different options in the left panel where  you can see board, repos, pipelines and artefactsplay around.
If you are not able to view this go to Project Setting-> Overview and on the services from the switch as visualized below.
Boards- Manging, maintaining, planning and tracking the work items
You can add new tasks and user stories as per your requirements and the agile process chosen at the time of project creation from the settings.
 You can add a new task which can be used later  for tracking the changes by updating the descriptions and do a lot more for managing a requirement.
Repos- this feature gives a way to manage and maintain your source code repositories. The cool feature of Azure devops is that you can have multiple repos in the same project.
Clone your repositories from the option using Visual Studio, although there are lot more options you can use as editor to open your project. I have chosen Visual Studio for this demo and it will look something like this below and it will ask for a local path where it can clone the blank repo.
Once you are done with cloning the blank repo then you will get an option to create a new project like below.
I have chosen to create a web application using core 3.0, you can choose project of any kind. From the option you can navigate to repository setting
Going back to team explorer changes, stage the file you want to check into the repository as below
Before changes being added to the repos, there is another cool feature -- you can search the work item and add as part of tracking the changes.
Once it is added to repo, another option is sync from where you can push to Azure devops repo.
After pushing your repo it will look like below from where you can browse the files , create a pull requrest, branches and do a lot more.
Organization settings.
There are many features available at organization settings.
In Pipeline click on the parellel jobs and it will give a view of the agent details and minutes used.You can always upgrade by puchasing more minutes from Azure.
Another feature is Policies you can apply to have more control of your projects.
Go to Repos->Braches and click on the branch policies.
You can set up your policies on the branches, for example if you want to prevent anyone from checking in the bracnh you can always click on the required minimum number of reviewers. 
Once you will setup branch policies it will keep a check on the checkins happening on the branch.
You can also raise pull requests, which will look something like this:
I hope this will help you with an  overview of Azure devops and how to set up your first repo to get that started.


In the next lab I will be explain Azure dev ops pieplines and variables.
Keep learning and keep smiling.
Resources and Useful Links
Thanks to the authors of the below links.