Keeping your code update to with the latest references can at times be a challenge with the rate of speed third-party dependencies can revise. However, with security patches and bug fixes constantly plaguing us it is a necessary exercise.

I have been using dotnet-outdated to quickly run checks on my projects and it has even been a huge help when getting some non-descript error messages in my code realizing I was missing a recent update.

Looking at a way to extend this functionality or automate it, I came across Nukeeper and a write up from Scott Hanselman that mentioned that this one had a Repository Feature where running the command nukeeper repo <myrepo> would do the similar functions as dotnet outdated, BUT would also send a PR to the project!

This got me thinking, what if I could use NuKeeper and Azure Devops to watch my repo? I already have a pipeline building and deploying the project when commits are being made to a branch; we could set up an additional pipeline to do this process and when PRs are sent build the project for validation as well.


Setting up NuKeeper in Azure DevOps

The first step is to make sure that you have a GitHub personal access token or PAT. This is needed for executing the repo command of NuKeeper.

I set my PAT as a variable "Nukeepeer__github__token" for the pipeline.

personal access token

Moving over to the pipeline, the first task here is to install the .NET Core SDK that I want to target. In this case 2.1.403.

The next task uses the dotnet command to install the NuKeeper global tool, for local dev; dotnet tool install -g NuKeeper.

There are two additional steps here to set the git user and name. These steps are needed only due to personal access token being used does not have a publically exposed email address. Typically you'd have this configured on your local machine in your .gitconfig.

Now that the SDK and global tool are set, the final task in the pipeline is the command to check our repo. Here the repo command is configured to use the PAT variable $(NuKeeper_github_token) and we are passing additional options for getting updates for 3 weeks or older minor changes.

nukeeper repo "" $(NuKeeper_github_token) --age=3w --change=minor

Here is the Azure DevOps Pipeline in YAML.

  name: Hosted Linux Preview
  NuKeeper_github_token: 'your_github_personal_access_token'
- task: DotNetCoreInstaller@0
  displayName: 'Install .NET Core SDK'
    version: 2.1.403

- task: DotNetCoreCLI@2
  displayName: 'dotnet global tool install'
    command: custom

    custom: 'tool '

    arguments: 'install -g NuKeeper'

- script: 'git config --global %git_email%' 
  displayName: 'Set git email address'

- script: 'git config --global %git_username%' 
  displayName: 'Set git user name'

- script: 'nukeeper repo "" $(NuKeeper_github_token) --age=3w --change=minor' 
  displayName: 'Run Race Review Project'

Scheduling Checks

Under the Triggers tab we can set a schedule as to when to run the pipeline. Every Saturday at 3 AM, it will run the checks and perform the Pull Requests to notify our other pipeline that there are needed updates to run tests, build and deployments against.


The most recent run revealed that there were needed updates -

2018-10-15T18:05:51.1414374Z Found 2 packages in use, 2 distinct, in 1 projects.
2018-10-15T18:05:51.1414982Z Bogus, MongoDB.Driver
2018-10-15T18:05:52.1161425Z Found 1 possible updates
2018-10-15T18:05:52.1162171Z Bogus from 23.0.3 to 24.3.0 in runracereview/runracereview.csproj
2018-10-15T18:05:52.1182228Z Found 1 package update
2018-10-15T18:05:52.1208829Z Bogus to 24.3.0 from 23.0.3 in 1 place since 13 days ago.
2018-10-15T18:05:52.2247646Z Selection of package updates: 1 candidates
2018-10-15T18:05:52.2248371Z Selected package update of Bogus to 24.3.0
2018-10-15T18:05:52.2334021Z Updating'Bogus' from 23.0.3 to 24.3.0 in 1 projects
2018-10-15T18:06:03.1689000Z Making PR onto ' spboyer/runracereview from nukeeper-update-Bogus-to-24.3.0
2018-10-15T18:06:03.9890259Z Adding label(s) 'nukeeper' to issue ' spboyer/runracereview 5'
2018-10-15T18:06:04.2032755Z Done 1 updates

Sending the PR over.

Pull Request

The whole process now being automated using Azure DevOps and a .NET Core global tool. That's pretty slick. How are you keeping your apps up to date?