An Azure pipeline to build a Dynamics 365 based solution


The post describes, at a high level, how to do the following using an Azure pipeline

  • Build a Dynamics 365 Visual Studio solution (i.e. building the ‘Code’ folder as shown in Figure 1). This includes
    • Transpiling TypeScript to JavaScript (as only TypeScript should be stored in the repos)
    • Building plugin dlls (as only the plugin C# files should be stored in the repos)
  • Test components within a Dynamics 365 Visual Studio solution
    • Executing plugin and TypeScript unit tests
    • Publishing the plugin unit test results as an artifact
  • Pack and publish Dynamics 365 managed and unmanaged solutions as artifacts (i.e. packing the ‘Solutions’ folder (Figure 1) as well as any JavaScript and plugin dlls that were generated earlier in the pipeline). This also includes
    • Setting the version of the solution
  • Publish reference data (i.e. the ‘Data’ folder in Figure 1) as an artifact
Figure 1

Running the pipeline

The pipeline (i.e. pipeline-build-products-contoso.yml) is triggered either manually or by a pull request. Figure 2 is an example of the output of the pipeline after being triggered by a pull request

Figure 2

Note: referring to Figure 2, clicking on ‘2 published’ displays the artifacts that the pipeline has built (Figure 3)

Figure 3

Note: referring to Figure 2, clicking on ‘Build Contoso Solution’ displays the the results of the pipeline run (Figure 4)

Figure 4

Stepping through the pipeline

The steps displayed in Figure 4 are described below

1.) Initialize job

Prepares build directory D:\a\1

Prepares artifacts directory D:\a\1\a

Prepares test results directory D:\a\1\TestResults

Prepares binaries directory D:\a\1\b

Prepares source directory D:\a\1\s

Downloads all tasks specified in the pipeline to D:\a\_tasks

2.) Checkout products-contoso@develop to s

Places the ‘develop’ branch of the Git repos products-contoso in D:\a\1\s

3.) INSTALL: Power DevOps Tool Installer

The pipeline consists of a stage and many tasks as illustrated in Figure 5 through to Figure 21

The task in Figure 5 (Power DevOps Tools Installer) is required to install the dependencies that are required for subsequent tasks such as the ‘Set solution version’ task

Figure 5

4.) CONFIGURE: Set Solution Version

The task in Figure 6 (Set Version) sets the version of the produced solution to include the build id. That is, it updates the version number in D:\a\1\s\Solutions\Contoso\Solution.xml to (The build id can be seen in the url displayed in Figure 2, that is ‘build id = 29434’)

Figure 6

5.) INSTALL: NuGet

Figure 7

6.) INSTALL: NuGet Packages

The task in Figure 8 (Nuget) takes the Visual Studio solution /Code/CPL.Contoso/CPL.Contoso.sln and restores the packages it references to D:\a\1\s\Code\CPL.Contoso\packages

Figure 8

7.) INSTALL: Node.js

The task in Figure 9 (Node.js tool installer) is required in order to build the ‘Code\CPL.Contoso\Web Resources’ project. The reason being is that the project was created from a Blank Node.js Console Application.

Figure 9

8.) INSTALL: npm clean

The tasks in Figures 10, 12 & 13 are also required for the ‘Code\CPL.Contoso\Web Resources’ project.

The task in Figure 10 (npm) installs the npm packages to D:\a\1\npm

Figure 10
Figure 11

9.) BUILD: Plugins & Plugin Tests

The task in Figure 12 (MSBuild) builds the solution D:\a\1\s\Code\CPL.Contoso

Figure 12

10.) BUILD: WebResources

The task in Figure 13 (npm) builds the project (Figure 11 displays the script being executed). That is, any TypeScript files that reside in the WebResources folder is transpiled into JavaScript. This task overwrites any transpiled JavaScript generated by the previous task (Figure 12)

Figure 13

11.) TEST: WebResources

The task in Figure 14 (npm) executes any xrm-mock based unit tests defined in the project (Figure 11 displays the script command being executed)

Figure 14

12.) TEST: Plugins

The task in Figure 15 (Visual Studio Test) executes the unit tests in D:\a\15\s\Code\CPL.Contoso\Plugins.Tests

Figure 15

13.) PUBLISH: Plugin Test Results

The task in Figure 16 (Publish build artifacts) publishes the artifact ‘TestResults’ (Figure 3)

Figure 16

14.) INSTALL: NuGet SolutionPackager.exe

The task in Figure 17 (Nuget) takes /Tools/packages.config to restore D:\a\1\s\Code\CPL.Contoso\packages. See Figure 22 & 23

Figure 17

15.) PACKAGE: Managed & Unmanaged Solutions

The task in Figure 18 (PowerShell) executes the script PackSolution.ps1 (Figure 24). It’s a custom script that wraps SolutionPackager.exe. The script packs the files from the ‘Solutions’ folder as well as any JavaScript or plugins that the pipeline has built (as specified in the mapping.xml (the contents of this file isn’t described in this post))

D:\a\1\s\Tools\PackSolution.ps1 generates D:\a\1\a/ and D:\a\1\a\


-ArtifactStagingDirectory = D:\a\1\a

-DefaultWorkingDirectory = D:\a\1\s

Figure 18

16.) PACKAGE: Reference Data

The task in Figure 19 (Archive files) takes files (created by the Configuration Migration Tool) placed in Data\Reference Data (Figure 1) and creates an artifact (Figure 3)

Figure 19

17.) COPY: DocumentTemplates

Figure 20

18.) PUBLISH: Packaged & Copied Files

The task in Figure 21 (Publish build artifacts) publishes the managed and unmanaged solutions as artifacts (Figure 3)

Figure 21

18.) Post-job: Checkout products-contoso@develop to s

19.) Finalize Job

Further reading An Azure release pipeline to deploy a Dynamics 365 based solution


Figure 22
Figure 23
Figure 24


Create your first pipeline – Azure Pipelines | Microsoft Learn

Predefined variables – Azure Pipelines | Microsoft Learn