Scheduling the NuKeeper Pipeline

Last time we left off by triggering the NuKeeper build pipeline that we had just created. Today, we will edit the pipeline configuration with a schedule to run regularly and so we can get on with the rest our work safe in the knowledge that automation is taking care of the updates.

To start, click on the pipelines icon and choose Edit from the context menu of the existing pipeline.

Menu to edit the build pipeline

Choose the triggers tab and then click on the Add button to create the schedule. Enter the day of the week and the time when you wish the build to run. Make sure to uncheck the option to ‘Only schedule builds if the source or pipeline has changed’ because otherwise, NuKeeper will only check for updates whenever you also change the source code.

Adding a scheduled trigger

Once happy with the setup, save your changes.

Save the build pipeline

And enter a comment which describes the modification.

Describing what was done in this change

You’re all set now. NuKeeper will check for nuget package updates depending on the schedule. However, we can go one step further. Let’s modify the branch policy so that reviewers are added automatically when NuKeeper creates a pull request. Click on the icons as shown below:

Edit the branch policies

And add the code reviewers as required. You can include individual users or groups of users. In the latter case, any group member will be able to approve the update. When a pull request is created, all the reviewers listed here will receive a notification. We can also specify a file path, since we know that NuKeeper will only modify the csproj files.

Include the reviewers automatically

Lastly, we can also talk about configuration. The full details of the configuration options are described on the NuKeeper site, but let’s pick up a few of the most popular. These configuration options can be added to your pipeline as arguments in the NuKeeper task.

Azure DevOps NuKeeper configuration

By default, the only argument is -m 3, which means that the task will update up to three packages at any one time. We can also set the age of the packages that we want to update (with the -a argument), which will be seven days if not specified. In this way, we will wait for the package to be tried and tested in the wild for any problems before we automatically attempt to add it into our solution. However, this value can also be specified in hours or disabled completely so any new package will be picked up immediately.

Another popular argument is the c argument (which stands for change). Here we can specify the level of the version changes we want NuKeeper to include; patch, minor, or major. Some major changes can potentially include breaking changes and some teams may choose to apply these updates manually, or otherwise plan for them.

If indeed we know that there are packages with breaking changes, we can then use the exclude argument (e) so that NuKeeper will leave them alone. The consolidate argument (n) will combine all the updates into a single pull request, otherwise by default, the task will create a pull request for each package. The useprerelease argument (no shortcut for this one) will specify if we want to include alpha or beta package releases or not, and the nice thing is that by default it is set to update to a newer pre-release version only if you are already using a pre-release version of a package. I will let you explore the rest of the options, but by using the above you will already gain a big advantage with a lot of flexibility.

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