Release Management with ASP.Net Core and GitHub Actions

In this article, we will learn how to set up automated release creation for an ASP.Net Core project with GitHub ActionsRelease management can be a complicated beast at the best of times, and is notoriously hard to get right. Previously, shell scripts and batch files used to be the most common tools used for automation, and countless hours were spent trying to get them working as expected. This has changed in recent times, with platforms such as GitHub Actions providing a much simpler way of automating tasks and managing releases. In the last article , we have seen how GitHub Actions can be used to set up a pipeline for Continuous Integration (CI). In the following sections, we will build on that, and add a workflow that publishes release artifacts when new code is merged to the main branch. For the purposes of this tutorial, we will use a simple .NET Core console application. This can be created via the following command using the .NET CLI which is installed along with the SDK. We will use the GitHub repository that we created in the previous article, which already contains a GitHub Actions CI workflow that builds and runs unit tests on pushes to main and pull request branches. A tag is a label that can be applied to any commit in your repository for later identification. Tags are typically used to mark commits for releases. You can create a tag using the following commands in your terminal/command line. Tag names can be any arbitrary string, but are usually version numbers like v1.0.0 or v.1.1.2-beta5. When a tag has been published, it will appear in the 'Tags' section in your repository. You can then use the created tag to create a GitHub release - each release has a title, short description and attachments such as release notes, source code and built artifacts. In the next step, we will learn how to build our project and associate the built app code artifacts with the just-created release. Let us now create a release.yml file in the .github/workflows directory alongside the ci.yml workflow we have defined previously. We will use the release published event to trigger our workflow. This means our workflow will get triggered when a new release is published using the mechanism from the previous step. Let us now understand what this workflow does: We can now create a release using the steps described earlier. Let us first tag the last commit in our repo. I'll call the tag v1.0 . The tag will now appear in the 'Tags' section, and we can create a release from it. The release notes can be automatically populated based on the commits since the last tag. Once we hit publish, a release gets created on the 'Releases' page. Note that this only has the source code, and not the built artifacts from the tagged commit. Publishing the release also triggers our new workflow. When the workflow has finished, the built ZIP file and tarball are added to the release assets, and we have successfully released v1.0 of our app! 🎉 In this tutorial, we have learnt how to create and automate tasks around releases for an ASP.Net Core project using GitHub Actions. We built on concepts we learnt in the previous tutorial on CI with GitHub Actions . If you find yourself stuck at any point during the tutorial, you can view all the source code on my GitHub here . More detail on all the events that can be used to trigger GitHub Actions workflows can be found in the GitHub docs .

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