2/20/21

Azure Static Web App GitHub Actions CICD

Static Web App (SWA) is a software as a service (SaaS) solution hosted by Azure cloud which enables us to use Content Delivery Network (CDN) to host single page applications (SPA) built with JavaScript frameworks like React, Angular and others.

In addition to the provisioning of the SPA, a serverless function endpoint is created as part of the application. This enables the JavaScript code to call APIs within the same domain to avoid Cross-Domain problems. The default route used by the client-side code is set to /api by default.

While this SASS solution manages the hosting concerns for our apps, we still need to be able to manage the DevOps concerns for building and deployment of the application. For that process, we can rely on the use of GitHub Continuous Integration Continuous Delivery (CICD) pipelines to manage the build and deployment process of our applications thus making this architecture a fully automated turn-key solution for any static web application.

ozkary gitub cicd


What are we learning?

In this article, we look at automating the deployment of the Azure resources to create a SWA using the Azure CLI. This way, we have a repeatable process to deploy other apps. We also link our SWA with a GitHub branch, so we can create a GitHub action which builds and deploys our application the moment we merge a pull-request into the branch.

To follow along, make sure to have all the requirements available on your workstation. This includes Azure CLI, Visual Studio Code and a GitHub repository with a sample project and token. The token is used to access the repository with the permissions to create the GitHub Action workflow file and API secrets.

https://docs.github.com/en/authentication/keeping-your-account-and-data-secure/creating-a-personal-access-token

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/cli/azure/install-azure-cli

To get started, we need to open our GitHub Repo with Visual Studio Code (VSC). We then need to open a terminal console right from VSC, so we can enter the CLI commands. When the terminal is ready, we can type the following command to make sure that Azure CLI is correctly installed.

 

az –version

 

 

Azure CLI Commands Reference:

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/cli/azure/

This command should return the current version of the Azure CLI. If this is not the case, review the Azure CLI installation from the Microsoft website. If the CLI is correctly installed, we can next look at the following Bash script, so we can understand what information we need to provide to create the SWA and link it to the GitHub action.

Note: Bash script can run from a Linux terminal or Windows using WSL with the Linux subsystem.

Review the CLI script

This script prompts the user for information to execute a series of commands to create the resources. In general, these are the commands and their purpose:

Command

Notes

az login

Login to Azure


az account show

Shows the current account for verification


az account set

Sets the default subscription which host the resource to be created


az group create

Creates a resource group with location information like East/West


az staticwebapp create

Creates the SWA and GitHub action to automate the deployment after a push is done on the provided branch


az staticwebapp appsettings

Sets configuration settings for the application. These settings are server-side settings which can be used by the serverless functions that are created automatically with our SWA



After reviewing the code, we can download the gist and run it from Visual Studio Code.  To run the Bash file on a terminal window, enter the following command:


bash filename


Follow and enter the information as prompted. Once all the commands are executed, we should do a git pull from the repository branch. The pull downloads the CICD workflow file that was created when the SWA resource was provisioned.

Review the CICD workflow

Once the git pull is complete, we should notice in Visual Studio Code explorer that a new folder (github) and yml file is created.  Open the file, so we can review the commands which the workflow executes to build and deploy our code. From the yml file, we should see the workflow name, branch name, jobs and build and deploy configuration. In general, we should change the workflow name to something meaningful, like the branch or resource name. This name is visible on the GitHub Actions tab, so we want to be able to easily identify what action is associated with a resource.

On the Build and Deploy configuration section of the workflow, we want to review three settings:

Setting

Notes

app_location

This should be set to the location of the source code. This is usually the root folder. Change this to match the project location.

 

api_location

This by default uses the path /api which is the route use to call the serverless functions. This should also be changed to match the project configuration.

 

app_artifact_location

This is set to the build folder location. In the case of React and Angular projects, this folder is usually named build. If this is not the case in the current project, update this to match the project configuration.

 

If this information is not correct, the GitHub action fails with a “Unable to find a default file in the artifact folder”.

 

The error is visible in the Actions' area of GitHub.  There, we can find all the workflow executions every time we push code changes into the repository branch.

 


See this example workflow yml file for more information.

ozkary-github-action

After making changes to the YML file, we can create a PR or push directly the changes to the branch.  This should trigger the action, and we should see our changes work and see how the build is deployed to the Azure resources.  

Once the build is complete, open the Azure console and visit the Static Web App resources. Open the one that was just created and click on the URL, which can be found on the overview tab. If all is well, the site should load on the browser.

Automation for all

There are many options to host your SPA, but it is important to be able to automate the build and deployment process, as well as the provisioning of the resources that need to be created on any cloud platform. Azure Static Web Apps with GitHub Actions provide an excellent process to manage the automation of all our DevOps concerns for our Single Page Apps.

Thanks for reading.

Originally published by ozkary.com

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