How to add a (shared) secret to an Azure release pipeline

Let’s say you have a credential for a service that you want to use across a number of projects, like say a token for PyPI to upload Python build artifacts. How can you configure that in Azure.

With Travis-CI, the process is as simple as travis encrypt and pasting the result into the configuration file or travis env copy to upload the value directly to Travis.

Identify or Create an Azure subscription

Unfortunately, I have two Azure subscriptions, and they both seem to be for Visual Studio Enterprise. I can’t tell which one I should use.

For now, I’m using the subscription f68cc4ba-7b09-423e-9a0e-68c6fd9d0c11, which seems to be associated with my “Work or School” account, because the pip-run project is associated with my “Work or School” account and because that subscription is the one linked to the project by way of Service Principal Authentication.

On the contrary, the subscription db9079df-1ed4-4475-a341-543afc87979d seems to be associated with my “Personal” account, as is the setuptools project.

Create a Key Vault

First, you need a vault in which to store the keys. Before you can create a new resource, you need to have a resource group in a designated location which to store that resource. I picked eastus2 arbitrarily. You must also name the group. I named it ‘main’ for now as I have nothing else against which to distinguish this group from another.

az group create --name main --location eastus2

Now you can create the vault. I named it ‘secrets’ for lack of a better name.

az keyvault create --name secrets --resource-group main

The name ‘secrets’ is already in use.

So I have to create a keyvault with a name that’s unique across all Azure instances? Yuck.

pip-run master $ az keyvault create --name secrets007 --resource-group main

Seems secrets007 is available.

pip-run master $ az keyvault secret set --vault-name secrets007 --name 'PyPI-token' --value @(keyring.get_password('', '__token__'))
  "attributes": {
    "created": "2020-01-04T14:28:58+00:00",
    "enabled": true,
    "expires": null,
    "notBefore": null,
    "recoveryLevel": "Purgeable",
    "updated": "2020-01-04T14:28:58+00:00"
  "contentType": null,
  "id": "",
  "kid": null,
  "managed": null,
  "tags": {
    "file-encoding": "utf-8"
  "value": "pypi-<elided>"

I tried “PyPI token” for the name, but:

Parameter ‘secret_name’ must conform to the following pattern: ‘^[0-9a-zA-Z-]+$’.

Link the Variable Group to the Project Library

With the token created, I was then able to configure the Variable group “Azure secrets” in the pip-run Library:

Create Variable Group

I wasn’t able to figure out a way to do this from the CLI.

Use the Variable

The docs explain how to use a variable.

Then, in the release segment of the Publish job, I add:


And cross my fingers.

Edit (2020-03): I’ve since created this screencapture of the configuration process and I’ve learned in Azure/azure-devops-cli-extension#968 that there may be some ways to mechanize this approach.

Written on January 4, 2020