Run cross-platform scripts

Azure Pipelines | TFS 2018

With Azure Pipelines and Team Foundation Server (TFS), you can run your builds on macOS, Linux, and Windows. If you develop on cross-platform technologies such as Node.js and Python, these capabilities bring benefits, and also some challenges. For example, most pipelines include one or more scripts that you want to run during the build process. But scripts often don't run the same way on different platforms. Below are some tips on how to handle this kind of challenge.

Run cross-platform tools with a script step

Some scripts just pass arguments to a cross-platform tool. For instance, calling npm with a set of arguments can be easily accomplished with a script step. script runs in each platform's native script interpreter: Bash on macOS and Linux, CMD on Windows.

- script: |
    npm install
    npm test

Handle environment variables

Environment variables throw the first wrinkle into writing cross-platform scripts. Command line, PowerShell, and Bash each have different ways of reading environment variables. If you need to access an operating system-provided value like PATH, you'll need different techniques per platform.

However, Azure Pipelines offers a cross-platform way to refer to variables that it knows about. By surrounding a variable name in $( ), it will be expanded before the platform's shell ever sees it. For instance, if you want to echo out the ID of the pipeline, the following script is cross-platform friendly:

- script: echo This is pipeline $(System.DefinitionId)

This also works for variables you specify in the pipeline.

  Example: 'myValue'

- script: echo The value passed in is $(Example)

Consider Bash

If you have more complex scripting needs than the examples shown above, then consider writing them in Bash. Most macOS and Linux agents have Bash as an available shell, and Windows agents include Git Bash.

For Azure Pipelines, the Microsoft-hosted agents always have Bash available.

For example, if you need to make a decision based on whether this is a pull request build:

    batch: true
        - master
- bash: |
    echo "Hello world from $AGENT_NAME running on $AGENT_OS"
    case $BUILD_REASON in
            "Manual") echo "$BUILD_REQUESTEDFOR manually queued the build." ;;
            "IndividualCI") echo "This is a CI build for $BUILD_REQUESTEDFOR." ;;
            "BatchedCI") echo "This is a batched CI build for $BUILD_REQUESTEDFOR." ;;
        *) $BUILD_REASON ;;
  displayName: Hello world

Switch based on platform

In general we recommend that you avoid platform-specific scripts to avoid problems such as duplication of your pipeline logic. Duplication causes extra work and extra risk of bugs. However, if there's no way to avoid platform-specific scripting, then you can use a condition to detect what platform you're on.

For example, suppose that for some reason you need the IP address of the build agent. On Windows, ipconfig gets that information. On macOS, it's ifconfig. And on Ubuntu Linux, it's ip addr.

Set up the below pipeline, then try running it against agents on different platforms.

# Linux
- bash: |
    export IPADDR=$(ip addr | grep 'state UP' -A2 | tail -n1 | awk '{print $2}' | cut -f1  -d'/')
    echo "##vso[task.setvariable variable=IP_ADDR]$IPADDR"
  condition: eq( variables['Agent.OS'], 'Linux' )
  displayName: Get IP on Linux
# macOS
- bash: |
    export IPADDR=$(ifconfig | grep 'en0' -A3 | tail -n1 | awk '{print $2}')
    echo "##vso[task.setvariable variable=IP_ADDR]$IPADDR"
  condition: eq( variables['Agent.OS'], 'Darwin' )
  displayName: Get IP on macOS
# Windows
- powershell: |
    Set-Variable -Name IPADDR -Value ((Get-NetIPAddress | ?{ $_.AddressFamily -eq "IPv4" -and !($_.IPAddress -match "169") -and !($_.IPaddress -match "127") } | Select-Object -First 1).IPAddress)
    Write-Host "##vso[task.setvariable variable=IP_ADDR]$IPADDR"
  condition: eq( variables['Agent.OS'], 'Windows_NT' )
  displayName: Get IP on Windows

# now we use the value, no matter where we got it
- script: |
    echo The IP address is $(IP_ADDR)