Caching Azure CI Pipeline Artifacts

3 minute read

If you are following agile then continuous integration is must. I have setup CI/CD in Azure DevOps and I personally found my Angular build is taking lot of time. The npm install step itself takes like around 3 minutes or so to download all node_modules files. If you are using nrwl.Nx monorepo then you will notice your npm install or npm ci step will take around 8 to 10 minutes. Every-time you push the build it will download all of the node packages from and will spend same amount of time even-though you have not changed their versions. That is waste of time and resources.

Fortunately, Azure DevOps now offers a new build task called cache task (Pipeline Caching). In this article I will give you steps to create a Build Definition by using Cache Task. I will demonstrate how you can speedup your build process more than 50% or so.

Create Node.js Project

After restoring from cache during build time. If I use the node package to run some program it should work lets test it.

add build script in package.json build: node index.js


const chalk = require('chalk');

console.log('Hello world!'));

How to know cache location in Azure DevOps.

Check the log of npm install or npm ci

In my case it says D:\\a\\.npm which means it is $(Pipeline.Workspace)/.npm in azure devops machine.

In this example it says cache location is C:\\npm\\cache

First Npm Ci 20s

Second Time Npm Ci <1s

After first time build if you do not change package-lock.json file and rebuild then your build should be super fast even less than a second.

Steps to create Azure Devops CI Build Definition with Cache

Create new pipeline and select classic editor and start adding task as mentioned below.

step 1: Add Cache Task

Pipeline caching can help reduce build time by allowing the outputs or downloaded dependencies from one run to be reused in later runs, thereby reducing or avoiding the cost to recreate or re-download the same files again.

name: Cache npm Dependencies
key: **/package-lock.json, !**/node_modules/**/package-lock.json, !**/.*/**/package-lock.json

step 2: Add npm task for ci

select ci

Inside Control options:

  • set enabled
  • Run this task: Select Custom Condition
  • Add eq(variables['CacheRestored'],False) in Custom Condition Text.

step 3: Add npm task for build

Add new npm task and call it npm build Add your build script from your package.json

Build Definition

  name: Azure Pipelines
  demands: npm

  - task: Cache@2
    displayName: 'Cache npm Dependencies'
      key: '**/package-lock.json, !**/node_modules/**/package-lock.json,
      path: '$(Build.SourcesDirectory)/node_modules'
      cacheHitVar: CacheRestored

  - task: Npm@1
    displayName: 'npm ci'
      command: ci
      verbose: false
    condition: eq(variables['CacheRestored'],False)

  - task: Npm@1
    displayName: 'npm build'
      command: custom
      verbose: false
      customCommand: 'run build'

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