How to Set up a Raspberry Pi: Set up Release Pipeline to Raspberry Pi
Be sure to check out the whole Raspberry Pi series:
  1. How to Set up a Raspberry Pi: Getting Started
  2. How to Set up a Raspberry Pi: Enabling SSH on Raspberry Pi
  3. How to Set up a Raspberry Pi: Troubleshooting Issues
  4. How to Set up a Raspberry Pi: Creating a .Net Core Website on Your Pi
  5. How to Set up a Raspberry Pi: Set up Build to Raspberry Pi Using Azure DevOps
  6. How to Set up a Raspberry Pi: Set up Release Pipeline to Raspberry Pi
If you’ve made it this far in your journey of your web site and azure pipelines, you are in the home stretch. Once this is done, it’s just a one-click deploy from your repository to your production site. This can be somewhat involved, and probably takes an hour to do. 

gif representing a nervousness

But don’t worry, I’ll try to make it easy.

Create the Release Pipeline

1. To start creating your release pipeline, go back to dev.azure.com/teamname, click on your projects then go to Pipelines -> Releases

"Pipelines" button location

2. Under New click on New release pipeline

"New release pipeline" button location

This will give you a blank template of what you want your release to look like. You should be seeing something like this.

example of blank template

It’s going to open up a menu on the right-hand side of the screen that looks like this 

example of pop up menu

3. Just click on Empty job 

4. If you’ve already created a build pipeline, you can add the output of that build as an artifact. Just click on the plus button next to Add an artifact.

"Add and artifact" button location

5. Fill in the information that relates to the Pipeline that you set up earlier, and click Add.

6. Click on the Stage and name it by what you are deploying to (a Raspberry Pi) .

"stage name" field

Create a Deployment Group

1. Under Pipelines click on Deployment groups

"Deployment groups" button location

2. Then click on New under Deployment groups.

"New" deployment group button

3. Name the group something you’ll remember 

Field for "Deployment group name"

4. Hit Create

5. In the Type of target to register, Select Linux

6. Make sure you select the box Use personal access token in the script for authentication.

7. Click on Copy script to the clipboard

"Copy script to the clipboard" button location

You will need to change this script. The default script includes a full-blown x64 Linux script, you don’t want that, you need the script that does arm.

8. In the script you copied, replace the part of the script where you find this
https://vstsagentpackage.azureedge.net/agent/2.166.4/vsts-agent-linux-x64-2.166.4.tar.gz
with 
https://vstsagentpackage.azureedge.net/agent/2.166.4/vsts-agent-linux-arm-2.166.4.tar.gz

Note that the only difference here is the fact that I replaced x64 with arm, so if you are on a newer version, just test the link in the browser to see if it works for the download.

Take this script, and copy it into a terminal window in the Raspberry Pi, and run it in your home directory (you can get there by typing in cd ~)

Also, it’s going to ask you to Enter deployment group tags for agent, press y for yes. Put in a description of the raspberry pi (for me I put in something like Pi4 Deploy)

If you have to re-run this, then go into your home directory and type rm -r azagent first to get rid of any installs.

9. Once this is done, you can go look at your deployment group in Azure and see if it’s online or not.

screen capture of deployment group in Azure
 

Configure the Release Pipeline

There’s no need to create a service, the script you ran did that all for you! All that’s left is to finish configuring your release pipeline and run it.

1. Go to Pipelines -> Releases, click on the Release you made earlier, and click Edit

"Releases" option location

2. Go to Tasks and click on the default task that was created with your pipeline.

location of "Tasks" option

3. Create a deployment group job. This creates a context that all of the releases run in.

"Add a deployment group job" option

4. In the Deployment group, select the group as the one that you created in the previous steps. Your build artifact is automatically selected for you.

deployment group

5. We don’t need the agent job, so click on Agent Job, and then click Remove. After that, click on Save to save your current progress on the release pipeline.

how to remove the "agent job"

Create the Release Pipeline Tasks

The Release Pipeline is now going to run in the context of all of the agents inside of the deployment group. Now we can start telling it to do things.

1. Copy your files from the Artifact to a working directory. 
  • Click the Plus Sign on your Deployment group job
  • Search for copy files in Add Tasks
  • Click Add
screen capture of copying files from the Artifact
  • Copy files to: $(Agent.WorkFolder)
  • Search for the .zip file that is packaged from your build and select it as the Source Folder
  • The Target Folder should simply be $(Agent.WorkFolder)
screen shot of copying files

Take note of the Source folder, this has your project folder that it saves your zip file to, you will need that later.

2. Stop the kestrel service
  • Click the + sign on your Deployment group job
  • Search for Bash Script in Add Tasks
  • Click Add
Adding Bash Script
  • Select the type to be inline
  • Display Name is Stop dotnet
  • Script is sudo systemctl stop appname-kestrel.service
  • If you aren’t sure what service to stop, then go to the Raspberry pi, and type in cd /etc/systemd/system and then type ls. This will give you a list of services that have started, just look for the one that you made to start dotnet earlier in the tutorial.
adding script

3. Stop nginx from serving your site

All the other steps involve creating bash scripts as you did in the last step, so just keep creating them with the following settings
  • Display Name: stop nginx
  • Script: sudo /etc/init.d/nginx stop
4. Delete out  your current website
  • Display Name: Remove old solution and Recreate Directory
  • Script: 
    • sudo rm -r /var/www/AppName
    • sudo mkdir /var/www/AppName
5. Unzip your artifact to your website directory
  • Display Name: Unzip artifact to the deployment directory 
  • Script: sudo unzip "$(System.DefaultWorkingDirectory)/projectDirectory/drop/AppName.zip" -d /var/www/AppName
  • Note that the ProjectDirectory above is the Source Folder you took note of in step one
6. Start NginX again
  • Display Name: Start NginX
  • Script: sudo /etc/init.d/nginx start
7. Start the kestrel service that hosts dotnet
  • Display Name: Start dotnet app
  • Script: sudo systemctl start appName-kestrel.service
8. After this, your release pipeline should look like this

Example of what the release pipeline should look like

9. Save your Pipeline
10. Go ahead at test it out by clicking Create release

"Create release" button location

11. You can manually create your release from the Pipeline. Later you can set it up to trigger on certain conditions (like if you push to the Master branch of your repo). Click on Create

screen capture of manually creating release

12. After the Release is created, you need to trigger it. If you go to Pipelines-> Releases and click on your pipeline, you should see your first release, go ahead and click on it.

location of first release

13. This will bring you back into the pipeline and show you where this Release needs to be triggered. Click on the Deploy button after hovering over the stage to trigger the release.

"Deploy" button location

14. While you triggered the deployment, you should see the task turn to In Progress. To view more information, just click the link

"in progress" link

15. It tells you what the status of the task is. To view the steps/scripts that it’s currently running, click the graph.

Deployment group job graph

16. In order to get the details, you may have to refresh this page

screen capture of error log

This is really handy for troubleshooting any errors that may have happened during your build. It tells you what the status is on each step of the process.

That's it!

It’s a long process to get here, but once you are here, it’s easy to automate builds. You can set up your releases to trigger on a push to the master branch, set up new environments on other pis (Like if you are hosting a local web app). Now all of your deployments are done by a push of a button instead of manually compiling a list of changes to push when you update your code.

gif from Always Sunny in Philadelphia

Because of the length of this tutorial, I was bound to get some things wrong, so if you run into any hitches, drop a comment in below and I’ll see what I can do to help out!

Be sure to check out the whole Raspberry Pi series:
  1. How to Set up a Raspberry Pi: Getting Started
  2. How to Set up a Raspberry Pi: Enabling SSH on Raspberry Pi
  3. How to Set up a Raspberry Pi: Troubleshooting Issues
  4. How to Set up a Raspberry Pi: Creating a .Net Core Website on Your Pi
  5. How to Set up a Raspberry Pi: Set up Build to Raspberry Pi Using Azure DevOps
  6. How to Set up a Raspberry Pi: Set up Release Pipeline to Raspberry Pi

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Photo of the author, Albert Hovingh

About the author

A Grand Valley State University graduate, Albert is the guy who takes on new technology and learns it inside and out. At BizStream, he mostly does SharePoint and Kentico development, but you can put him on any project and it will be a success. Albert has four adorable kids, and is a shark when it comes to Foosball and anything XBox-related.

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