Azure DevOps Publish and Download Artifacts

Posted: April 23, 2020  |  Categories: Azure DevOps

For the past couple weeks I’ve been playing a lot with YAML Azure Pipelines. And it’s not as straightforward as I would like I can say. It takes a lot of work to align all tasks, templates, variables and so on.

This post is to talk about one minor thing, but that took me a couple hours to fix. It’s about using the tasks to publish and download artifacts.

I read several blog posts and the Microsoft documentation and all examples are pointing out that I can use the system location $(Build.ArtifactStagingLocation) when doing the publishing during my build phase.

So that’s what I did as you can see in the code below:

And according to these blog posts and documentation I can use the same location to retrieve the artifact during my deployment phase.

So I did the following code to do so:

But this does not work. It keeps saying that it cannot find the file, but checking the logs I could see it was being generated properly.

Below you can see the error message I was getting:

I added a few debug steps to check the location of know system variables to understand what was going on using a powershell script as below:

With that I could see that the location it was looking was not the same as the location where the package was being published.

The $(Build.ArtifactStagingDirectory) was returning d:\a\1\a but the file was being downloaded to d:\a\1.

With the debugging script above, I could see that this location is the one present at $(Pipeline.Workspace), which was happening automatically.

The Microsoft documentation is very confusing but finally I found one that helped me in pointing to the solution at:

In there is explaining that I can define where I can download the artifacts to with the following task:

Now I can define exactly where I want to download the artifacts to. Please be aware that the download happens automatically to $(Pipeline.Workspace), so if you don’t want you deployment to download the files twice, you need to specify the “download: none” in your steps.


I don’t know if this was a recent change or not, but all blog posts pointing to the same system variable with no mention to this finding that I got seems very strange to me. It would be really good to know if someone out there is having the same problem as me.

Author: Alessandro Moura

Certified BizTalk, Mulesoft, TOGAF and Azure. Integration Specialist. Solutions Architect.

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