Speeding up the Azure DevOps Extension tasks
I've been maintaining and using the Azure DevOps Extension tasks for years now and I've always been frustrated by the slowness of some steps.
In particular the Publish Azure DevOps Extension task that spent quite a bit of time extracting the
vsix prior to putting it back together.
A little background
Every Azure DevOps Extension is published using a
vsixfile. Basically a zip file with some additional manifest metadata. Before the Azure DevOps Extension Tasks were created I had created a very similar extension that had built-in support to update the version number of tasks prior to publishing. I later contributed that code to the Azure DevOps extension tasks.
tfx-cli, the utility used to publish extensions from the command-line has never gained said functionality, it can do all kinds of magic for the extension manifest, but not for the embedded task manifests. Plus, it can only perform its magic when publishing from source, not from
To support these features in the Azure DevOps Extension tasks, we basically extract the whole
vsix, patch the manifest files and zip the
When building the Azure DevOps Task Zips scripts - in which I do a very similar thing to generate a copy of each built-in task that can be installed side-by-side the original version - I discovered a way to speed up the process. Instead of extracting the whole
vsix file, I only extracted the files that need patching:
Then patch the manifest files and then update the original
vsix file with the patched manifest files.
The result is that instead of extracting an archive of 31MB and 30k files, I now only have to extract 22 files. Instead of searching 30k files for manifest files, I only have to search those 22 files. And instead of compressing 81MB and 30k files again, I now only have to add 1 updated file.
The result that counts is that this process reduces the time to publish from a
vsix file from 0:02:58 to 0:00:14. A 92% reduction in time!
When will you benefit from this time saving?
To gain these benefits you must:
- Use the
@4will have this new feature).
- Publish from
- Use any of the override properties:
This feature now works on all operating systems: Windows, Linux and MacOS.
Unfortunately, this isn't the only "slow" part of the extension publishing process, but it's a part I can speed up.
In case you run into trouble, you can turn off this feature:
variables: - name: PREVIEW_FAST_UPDATE value: false
Please let me know whether this works for you! I'm interested in both success and failure reports. Please reply to the issue below:
And if you've been using the Azure DevOps Extension tasks, please consider: