Update variable group using Azure DevOps rest API – pipeline example

Following my previous article about how to update a variable group using POSTMAN, I will now document how to implement the same behavior through a pipeline.

First things first you will need a PAT. I have included this PAT in a different variable group than the one that I will update. this is because when you update the variable group, all the variables that are inside will get lost. If you need to retain them, you should have to get them first and then add them again on the variable group.

For this reason I have created a variable group named token-group which holds my PAT. I also made this variable a secret.

The variable group that I will update has the name of var-group and the id of 5.

The pipeline includes two tasks. The first task will loop through the variables on the group and print them out. The second task will update the variable group based on the JSON that you provided. You should change your ORG and project URLs.

– none
pr: none
vmImage: ubuntu-latest
– group: token-group
– task: PowerShell@2
displayName: Get variables from variable-group
targetType: 'inline'
script: |
$base64AuthInfo= [System.Convert]::ToBase64String([System.Text.Encoding]::ASCII.GetBytes(":$($connectionToken)"))
$URL = "https://dev.azure.com/geralexgr/test-project/_apis/distributedtask/variablegroups?groupIds=5&api-version=7.1-preview.1"
$Result = Invoke-RestMethod -Uri $URL -Headers @{authorization = "Basic $base64AuthInfo"} -Method Get
$Variable = $Result.value.variables | ConvertTo-Json -Depth 100
Write-Host $Variable
– task: PowerShell@2
displayName: add variables on variable-group
targetType: 'inline'
script: |
$base64AuthInfo= [System.Convert]::ToBase64String([System.Text.Encoding]::ASCII.GetBytes(":$($connectionToken)"))
$URL = "https://dev.azure.com/GeralexGR/test-project/_apis/distributedtask/variablegroups/5?api-version=5.1-preview.1"
$body = '{"id":5,"type":"Vsts","name":"var-group","variables":{"rest-var1":{"isSecret":false,"value":"rest-var-value-1"},"rest-var2":{"isSecret":false,"value":"rest-var-value-2"},"rest-var3":{"isSecret":false,"value":"rest-var-value-3"}}}'
$Result = Invoke-RestMethod -Uri $URL -Headers @{authorization = "Basic $base64AuthInfo"} -Method Put -Body $body -ContentType "application/json"
$Variable = $Result.value.variables | ConvertTo-Json -Depth 100
Write-Host $Variable

After running the pipeline you will notice a null output on the update of the variable group. This is the requested result and as task has not failed your var group will get updated.

Variables inside json

Update variable group using Azure DevOps rest API – POSTMAN

I was struggling to update a variable group using the Azure DevOps Rest API. In this article I will document the procedure using POSTMAN.

First things first you should create a PAT in order to interact with the API. If you do not know how to create such a thing you should read my previous article about running a build through a REST api on which I documented also the creation of a PAT.

Then you will need to add the access token under authorization tab of POSTMAN using Type Basic Auth. The PAT should be added as plain text.

Then you will need to add Content-Type as application/json under Headers.

Then you will have to create your URL. This should be of the format:


Important: You should use the version=5.1-preview.1. If you use the latest version you will notice an error on the call. This is a bug that has not been fixed as I found online.

In my example I wanted to update the variable group with the ID 5 and add a variable named new-var. The body of your request should be like below. Keep in mind that we use the PUT HTTP verb to update the variable group. This means everything that is inside the variable group will be discarded. If you followed all the steps correctly you will notice the below output JSON. This should indicate success on the procedure.

Lastly you can locate your new variable inside the variable group.

Variablegroups – Update – REST API (Azure DevOps Task Agent) | Microsoft Docs

Video tutorial on YouTube:

Trigger Azure Devops build pipelines using REST API

In some cases you may need to schedule pipelines execution on nights but the schedules yaml feature cannot accomplish your needs. This could could happen if you have to provide parameters as inputs on the pipelines for a specific project export/import. In this case you could trigger your pipelines with REST APIs using ansible or another scripting tool.

In this article I will explain how you could trigger pipelines execution using the REST API of Azure Devops.

First things first you should create a personal access Token (PAT) in order to get the access required to run the pipelines on your organization. You can accomplish that by pressing your profile icon and selecting the sub-menu shown below.

You can specify the expiration of the token along with the access permissions. For the simplicity of deployment I gave it full access. You will need to copy the token somewhere as it will not be accessible after the creation.

In order to trigger a new build we would have to use the POST HTTP verb. Along with that we will need the repository name, the project name and the build pipeline ID. The below URL uses build API of version 6.1-preview.6 with the parameters

Organization: GeralexGR
Project: test-project


Using CURL we can get information of runs for a specific pipeline. For example in order to get the latest runs for pipeline with ID:11. In the below example you should replace PAT with your provisioned personal access token.

curl  --user '':'PAT' --header "Content-Type: application/json" --header "Accept:application/json" https://dev.azure.com/GeralexGR/test-project/_apis/pipelines/11/runs?api-version=6.1-preview.1

In order to implement a run of a build pipeline using REST APIs I will use Postman.

The selected verb is POST and the URL is the one mentioned above. By giving the URL on the input field, POSTMAN will automatically enumerate Query parameters.

In Authorization tab you should select Basic Auth. The username can be empty and the password will be your PAT.

On Headers tab, add Content-Type as application/json

In the body, you should specify the build pipeline ID in the JSON format that is shown in the picture. If you press Send, you will successful trigger your build pipeline with ID 11.

The next step is to edit the pipeline to include also input parameters.

In order to do that, I will use the latest version of the REST API that uses the runs URL instead of builds.

As shown in the picture the request URL will be pipelines/buildID/runs


The logic of the pipeline will only print the parameters that has been provided as input on the REST API.

- none

pr: none 

  vmImage: ubuntu-latest

  - name: name
    displayName: Tell me your name.
    type: string
- script: echo ${{parameters.name}} "succesfully triggered this build from a REST API call"
  displayName: 'print message from automatically created pipeline'

You can see in the result that my name is printed.

Azure Devops Rest API documentation:


Youtube video: