Microsoft has added a feature dubbed Review Apps to its Azure Pipelines CI/CD service that aims to help developer teams to get an overview of all pull requests in a project before changes are committed to production.
According to Microsoft, the usual process of submitting pull requests for review before changes are allowed to be merged into the main branch works well for static code. However, when working with applications that follow a microservices architecture, there is minimal visibility of the end-to-end impact on application behaviour when modifying an individual service.
The Review Apps feature, which is currently in public preview status, aims to address this. It deploys every pull request from the developer team’s Git repository to a dynamically created Environment resource. (An environment groups together all the resources targeted by a pipeline.)
From here, everyone in the team can see how the changes in the pull request look, as well as how they will work with other dependent services before these are merged into the main branch and deployed to production.
Microsoft claims that this capability will better enable developer teams to “shift left“, as well as improve overall productivity and application quality.
“The key is in constantly updating these dynamically-created review environment resources as you continue to work. With this in place, you get the preview of every branch pull request. This is perfect for complex changes, especially in a micro-services scenario, where static code review and/or unit testing is not enough,” said Microsoft Principal Program Manager for Azure Pipelines Atul Malaviya, writing on the Azure DevOps blog.
Microsoft said that customers using Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) with Azure Dev Spaces and Azure Pipelines will now be able to easily test their pull request code in the context of the broader application running in AKS. It also enables team members such as product managers and designers to become part of the review process during early stages of development.