Report progress in a task in C sharp

One of my first questions starting programming in Visual Studio WPF was how to run processes without freezing the GUI.

After learning the basic concepts of backgroundworkers and tasks in c sharp programming I wanted to know how to report task progress while the task was not yet finished.

I found all kind of solutions to update a progress bar. I also found solutions to use the result for a specific task.

Think still missing for me was to get a screen to show task progress, with detailed logging while the task was still running. In the end this article helped me finding a solution: https://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/19020.progress-of-a-task-in-c.aspx

To implement this logic in a solution I needed I created a form and added a button and a listbox.

The button got the following implementation:

private async void ButtonAsyncFileProcessing_Click(object sender, RoutedEventArgs e)
{
var progressIndicator = new Progress(ReportProgress);
await MyMethodAsync(progressIndicator);
}

For the progress indicator I added the following class:

public class MyTaskProgress
{
//current progress
public int CurrentProgressAmount { get; set; }
//total progress
public int TotalProgressAmount { get; set; }
//some message to pass to the UI of current progress
public List CurrentProgressLogging { get; set; }
}

The async method I used for testing was this:

async Task MyMethodAsync(IProgress progress)
{
int sleepTime = 1000;
int totalAmount = 10000;
List log = new List();

for (int i = 0; i <= totalAmount;)
{
await Task.Delay(sleepTime);
log.Add(string.Format("On {0} Message", i));
progress.Report(new MyTaskProgress
{
CurrentProgressAmount = i, TotalProgressAmount = totalAmount, CurrentProgressLogging = log });
i = i + sleepTime;
}
}

The ReportProgress method used in the button click progressIndicator:

private void ReportProgress(MyTaskProgress progress)
{
UpdateScreen(progress.CurrentProgressLogging,
string.Format("{0} out of {1}",
progress.CurrentProgressAmount,
progress.TotalProgressAmount));
}

And this last method calls a UpdateScreen method:

private void UpdateScreen(List info, string status)
{
lbOutput.Items.Clear();
foreach (string s in info)
{
lbOutput.Items.Add(s);
}
buttonAsyncFileProcessing.Content = "AsyncFileProcessing" +
"\n" + status;
}

The article that helped me understanding Tasks and backgroundworkers is: https://blog.stephencleary.com/2013/05/taskrun-vs-backgroundworker-intro.html

How to set up a local deployment for an Azure build application

*Important note: This solution will only work when you do NOT have a .gitignore file in your repository*

Configure a local agent

First requirement is that you set up a local agent that will be used for the local tasks.

How to configure local build and deploy agents is explained here:

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/devops/pipelines/agents/v2-windows?view=vsts

The result should look somewhat like this:

To control this agent you can choose to install it as a service on Windows.

Or you can choose to run the agent from the command line. To start and stop the agent I added two scripts:

Start.cmd:

Start.cmd:
cd c:
cd \EK-VSTS-Agent
start “EK-VSTS Azure agent” .\run.cmd
exit

Stop.cmd:

taskkill /FI “WindowTitle eq EK-VSTS Azure agent*” /T /F

Setup a build and release pipeline in Azure

Goto Pipelines in your Azure Devops project and click on new pipeline. My example uses a project named WPFDatasetWithSQL.

*Important note: This solution will only work when you do NOT have a .gitignore file in your repository*

Click continue and choose .Net Desktop and click Apply.

If you want to build the solution using a hosted machine keep the “Agent pool” set on “Hosted VS2017”. If you need local components to build you could choose to use a local machine or set up the required components in this build script.

For this example I have no need for extra components and I will keep the Agent pool on Hosted VS2017.

We are going to change a few setps in this script:

1 Set the MSBuild Arguments to /target:publish. This changes the MSBuild to add a app.publish to the build directory for click once deployment.

2 Change the step Copy Files to add the app.publish folder to the artifacts folder.
Display name = Copy Files to: $(build.artifactstagingdirectory)
Source Folder = $(Build.SourcesDirectory)\src\BLM\bin\$(BuildConfiguration)\app.publish
Contents = **\**

3 Change the artifact name.
Display name = Publish Artifact: $(System.TeamProject)-$(Build.BuildNumber)
Artifact name = $(System.TeamProject)-$(Build.BuildNumber)

Click Save and keep the default name.

Set up a release pipeline

Now we will set up a release pipeline in which we can control and manage releases for this application.

Click on Releases in the menu and click New pipeline.

Choose a Empty job template. The release pipeline is going to contain not much more than a few copy tasks.

For starters we will have to choose an artifact. Choice is simple, we are going to use the artifacts from the build pipeline. Select the Source Build pipeline set up in the previous step and finish this by clicking the Add button below.

Next step in this release pipeline is a deployment to “Test”. For this purpose we will rename the default “Stage 1” to “Test”. For this, clicking the Stage1 image (not on the link to job with task) will open a properties window. Rename Stage1 to Test and click save right top in the corner.

Now click the link to job and task in the Test stage. Click the agent job and change the agent pool to the pool where you added the local agent. In my example I added the local agent to a pool named “local machine”.

Now we will add a job to copy the publish folder to a local directory. Click on the puls sign next to “Agent job” and search for “Copy Files”

Select The task added below Job agent and fill in the details:

Select The task added below Job agent and fill in the details:
Display name = Copy Files to: c:\drop\$(System.TeamProject)\$(Release.EnvironmentName)\$(Release.ReleaseName)\
Source Folder = $(system.defaultworkingdirectory)_WPFDatasetWithSQL-.NET Desktop-CI * This last directory name is the build pipeline name
Target Folder = c:\drop\$(System.TeamProject)\$(Release.EnvironmentName)\$(Release.ReleaseName)\

The source folder will contain the pipeline name for the build pipeline preceded by an underscore:

Click save in top right hand corner.

Now we are going to add the production stage and the required copy jobs for this stage.

Click on releases in the left menu and click edit.

Click “Clone” in Test stage. And rename this new stage “Copy of Test” to “Production”. Click the task details and here I added System.TeamProject to the source folder name. This removes the build number from the destination name.

Next click the plus sign for the “Agent job” to add a command line script. With this command line we will first clean the install folder before we copy the new release in that location. The command line script is rd /S /Q c:\drop\$(System.TeamProject)\Install\

Last task for this job is to add a second “Copy Files” task. This task will copy the publish content in the install folder.

For the first run disable the Command line script because the folder will not yet exist. This will cause an error if the command is executed while the directory does not exist. After the first run the command can be enabled.

Last option is to add an approval trigger on production. A test manager or a group of testers can be allowed to approve the release after testing.

Another nice feature is to enable continuous integration and continuous deployment in Azure. For this go to the build pipeline and click the checkbox for “Enable continuous integration” in the tab “Triggers”.

Second, go to release pipeline click the continuous deployment trigger and enable continuous deployment every time a new build is available. Click save.

First two times the deployment failed. I checked the logging and fixed some typing errors.

After approving the release the install folder will be updated with the required binaries.

All done. Enjoy.