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Integrate Azure Boards and GitHub NOW!

n3wt0n profile image Davide Benvegnù ・4 min read

By connecting Azure Boards with GitHub repositories, you enable linking between GitHub commits, pull requests, and issues to work items. You can use GitHub for software development while using Azure Boards to plan and track your work.

And today we will see how we can do that.

Intro

Today we will see how we can connect Azure Boards and GitHub. Doing so you will be able to work on your code using all the good top notch features GitHub offers, while managing your work with Azure Boards which, to be completely honest, is much more mature and feature-rich than the GitHub Project Boards.

We will not only see how to integrate the two tools, but also some example of using them together.

Video

If you are a visual learner or simply prefer to watch and listen instead of reading, here you have the video with the whole explanation, which to be fair is much more complete than this post.

If you rather prefer reading, well... let's just continue :)

Connecting

To connect Azure Boards to GitHub you have 2 options:

  • doing it from within Azure Boards or, alternatively,
  • install and configure the Azure Boards app from GitHub.

Both methods have been streamlined and support authenticating and operating via the app rather than an individual.

When you make the connection from Azure Boards, the list of GitHub repositories correspond to ones that you allow Azure Boards to access. You can limit which repositories Azure Boards can access overall, and limit what a particular project can access or split the management of work across different Azure Boards projects.

While the steps to make the GitHub-Azure Boards connection are different depending on your starting point, the end result is the same.

From Azure DevOps

To initiate the integration from Azure DevOps, just go to the Project Settings > GitHub Connections and click on Connect your GitHub Account

Connect from AzDo

Once you do that, you will have to authorize the connection and select the repository(ies) to connect with your Board.

Take a look a the video for a step by step demonstration.

From GitHub

If instead you want to initiate the integration from the GitHub Side, the easiest way is to browse the Marketplace for the Azure Boards app.

GH App

In here just click on Set up a new plan and you will be taken through a similar process than before, where you will have to select the repo(s) you want to connect and this time authenticate with Azure Boards.

Once again, here you have the step by step explanation.

Add the Board status to GitHub

Now that we have the tools connected, let's see what we can do with them.

First thing, you can add Markdown syntax to a GitHub repo README.md file to display the status of your Kanban board. You do this by adding the syntax you choose from your Kanban board settings.

Boards status settings

When you do so, remember to check the Allow anonymous users to access the status badge otherwise nothing will be displayed on GitHub.

Just grab the code in the Sample Markdown field and paste it on your GitHub README file. The result will be something like this:

Badge

Track the work

Finally, let's see how we can track our work between GitHub commits and PRs and Azure Boards Work Items.

The whole point here is to use the AB# notation in your commit messages, Issues and PRs. Doing so, you will have the full traceability between your work in GitHub and your work items in Azure Boards.

Let's say for example that you have a the work item 465 in Azure Boards you are working on. After writing the code, you just commit to your GitHub Repo and add "AB#465" to your commit message. Now that commit is linked to your work item!

Commit

Now, let's say you want to open a Pull Request to have code review, and to merge back to your main branch. Just do it and since the commit is already linked, you will have the PR linked to your work item(s) as well!

PR

Not only the PR is linked, but it's status is reported as 'Open'

Finally, let's merge the PR into your main branch.

Merge

Now not only the merge commit is linked as well, but also the Pull Request status has been changed to 'Closed'

Cool, right?

Watch the video here for the full demo.

Conclusions

What do you think of this? Do you use or plan to use the Azure Boards and GitHub integration? If not, what do you use to manage your work?
Let me know in the comment section below.

Discussion

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