GoCD: Pipeline Parameters

I am currently getting a Go Continuous Delivery Server stood up and I am reusing scripts from our CCNET Continuous Integration server to save time getting the new server up. In doing this, I am also reviewing the scripts for improvements.When defining builds for my shinny new Go server I noticed that I have duplicate properties across tasks when calling Nant targets.

I have a property that defines the server environment the task should work with. This basically, sets properties in the script so that they target the correct environment. If I set the property to dev, the script will set the server names, paths and more to point to the dev environment.

There is a property that tells the task what source code repository branch to use. In the context of a task, this mainly has to do with paths to the branch already checked out and updated on the Go server and not controlling the actual branch updates. The branch name is concatenated in a common path so the task knows where to get and save source files.

There are more duplicated properties, but it got me wondering if there is a better way to do this than repeating the same value over and over for each task. When I need a new task or a new pipeline with different values this can become a maintenance nightmare. Not to mention, this duplication will make it hard to take advantage of Go Pipeline Templates so I need to solve this, if I want to gain the ease in creating new pipelines that templates afford.

Go has the concept of Environment Variable that is a common value saved on an agent. That is a nice feature as it lets me define values common to every pipeline running on an agent targeting a specific environment. To fix my issue I need to be able to set values at the job level. The agent level is to broad as I can have multiple pipelines target specific agents with different values for the properties I want to abstract. I wonder if we can set up a common variable at the job or pipeline level that the tasks can use?

Go Pipeline Parameters

Oh look, there is something called a Parameter in the pipeline configuration.

Parameters help reduce repetition within your configurations and combined with templates allow you to setup complex configurations. More..

Well let’s look into that and see what we come up with. The “More” link above gives the details of how to use parameters in Go. Basically, you define a parameter then you can use them in your tasks. To use the parameter in your task, just wrap it with #{}. Example: I have a parameter named ENV and I would use it in my script by tokenizing it like so, #{ENV}.

use_go_pipeline_parameter_in_task

This gets rid of a bunch of unnecessary duplication, improves the maintainability of build scripts, and opens up the possibility of creating templates.

Conclusion

There is so much more to understand about Go. One thing that was reinforced in this exercise was to remember to constantly look for pain points in solutions and processes and search for ways to cure the pain.

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