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Last updated: 08 Feb 2024

Bicep Contribution Flow

High-level contribution flow

flowchart TD
A(1. Setup your Azure test environment )
B(2. Fork the module source repository)
C(3. Configure CI environment  
For module tests) D(4. Implementing your contribution
Refer to Gitflow Diagram below) E{5. Workflow test
} F(6. Create a pull request to the upstream repository) A --> B B --> C C --> D D --> E E -->|yes|F E -->|no|D

GitFlow for contributors

The GitFlow process outlined here introduces a central anchor branch. This branch should be treated as if it were a protected branch. It serves to synchronize the forked repository with the original upstream repository. The use of the anchor branch is designed to give contributors the flexibility to work on several modules simultaneous.

%%{init: { 'logLevel': 'debug', 'gitGraph': {'rotateCommitLabel': false}} }%%
gitGraph LR:
commit id:"Fork Repo"
branch anchor
checkout anchor
commit id:"Sync Upstream/main" type: HIGHLIGHT
branch avm-type-provider-resource-workflow
checkout avm-type-provider-resource-workflow
commit id:"Add Workflow File for Resource/Pattern"
branch avm-type-provider-resource
checkout main
merge avm-type-provider-resource-workflow id: "merge workflow for GitHub Actions Testing" type: HIGHLIGHT
checkout avm-type-provider-resource
commit id:"Init"
commit id:"Patch 1"
commit id:"Patch 2"
checkout main
merge avm-type-provider-resource

When implementing the GitFlow process as described, it is advisable to configure the local clone with a remote for the upstream repository. This will enable the Git CLI and local IDE to merge changes directly from the upstream repository. Using GitHub Desktop, this is configured automatically when cloning the forked repository via the application.

1. Setup your Azure test environment

Each time in the following sections we refer to ‘your xzy’, it is an indicator that you have to change something in your own environment.

AVM tests the deployments in an Azure subscription. To do so, it requires a service principal with access to it.

In this first step, make sure you

2. Fork the module source repository

Bicep AVM Modules (both Resource and Pattern modules) will be homed in the Azure/bicep-registry-modules repository and live within an avm directory that will be located at the root of the repository, as per SNFR19.

Module owners are expected to fork the Azure/bicep-registry-modules repository and work on a branch from within their fork, before then creating a Pull Request (PR) back into the Azure/bicep-registry-modules repository’s main branch.

To do so, simply navigate to the Public Bicep Registry repository, select the 'Fork' button to the top right of the UI, select where the fork should be created (i.e., the owning organization) and finally click ‘Create fork’.

3. Configure your CI environment

To configure the forked CI environment you have to perform several steps:

3.1. Set up secrets

To use the environment’s pipelines you should use the information you gathered during the Azure setup to set up the following repository secrets:

Secret NameExampleDescription
ARM_MGMTGROUP_ID11111111-1111-1111-1111-111111111111The group ID of the management group to test-deploy modules in.
ARM_SUBSCRIPTION_ID22222222-2222-2222-2222-222222222222The ID of the subscription to test-deploy modules in.
ARM_TENANT_ID33333333-3333-3333-3333-333333333333The tenant ID of the Azure Active Directory tenant to test-deploy modules in.
AZURE_CREDENTIALS{"clientId": "44444444-4444-4444-4444-444444444444", "clientSecret": "<placeholder>", "subscriptionId": "22222222-2222-2222-2222-222222222222", "tenantId": "33333333-3333-3333-3333-333333333333" }The login credentials of the deployment principal used to log into the target Azure environment to test in. The format is described here. For more information, see the [Special case: AZURE_CREDENTIALS] note below.
TOKEN_NAMEPREFIXcntsoOptional. A short (3-5 character length), unique string that should be included in any deployment to Azure. For more information, see the [Special case: TOKEN_NAMEPREFIX] note below.

  1. Navigate to the repository’s Settings.
Navigate to settings
  1. In the list of settings, expand Secrets and select Actions. You can create a new repository secret by selecting New repository secret on the top right.
Navigate to secrets
  1. In the opening view, you can create a secret by providing a secret Name, a secret Value, followed by a click on the Add secret button.
Add secret

This secret represent the service connection to Azure, and its value is a compressed JSON object that must match the following format:

{"clientId": "<client_id>", "clientSecret": "<client_secret>", "subscriptionId": "<subscriptionId>", "tenantId": "<tenant_id>" }

Make sure you create this object as one continuous string as shown above - using the information you collected during Step 1. Failing to format the secret as above, causes GitHub to consider each line of the JSON object as a separate secret string. If you’re interested, you can find more information about this object here.

To lower the barrier to entry and allow users to easily define their own naming conventions, we introduced a default ’name prefix’ for all deployed resources.

This prefix is only used by the CI environment you validate your modules in, and doesn’t affect the naming of any resources you deploy as part of any multi-module solutions (applications/workloads) based on the modules.

Each pipeline in AVM deploying resources uses a logic that automatically replaces “tokens” (i.e., placeholders) in any module test file. These tokens are, for example, included in the resources names (e.g. 'name: kvlt-${namePrefix}'). Tokens are stored as repository secrets to facilitate maintenance.

3.2. Enable actions

Finally, ‘GitHub Actions’ are disabled by default and hence, must be enabled first.

To do so, perform the following steps:

  1. Navigate to the Actions tab on the top of the repository page.

  2. Next, select ‘I understand my workflows, go ahead and enable them’.

Enable Actions

3.3. Set Read/Write Workflow permissions

To let the workflow engine publish their results into your repository, you have to enable the read / write access for the GitHub actions.

  1. Navigate to the Settings tab on the top of your repository page.

  2. Within the section Code and automation click on Actions and General

  3. Make sure to enable Read and write permissions

Workflow Permissions
Once you enabled the GitHub actions, your workflows will behave as they do in the upstream repository. This includes a scheduled trigger to continuously check that all modules are working and compliant with the latest tests. However, testing all modules can incur substantial costs with the target subscription. Therefore, we recommend disabling all workflows of modules you are not working on. To make this as easy as possible, we created a workflow that disables/enables workflows based on a selected toggle & naming pattern. For more information on how to use this workflow, please refer to the corresponding documentation.

4. Implement your contribution

To implement your contribution, we kindly ask you to first review the shared & Bicep-specific specifications and composition guidelines in particular to make sure your contribution complies with the repository’s design and principles.

If you’re working on a new module, we’d also ask you to create its corresponding workflow file. Each module has its own file, but only differs in very few details, such as its triggers and pipeline variables. As a result, you can either copy & update any other module workflow file (starting with 'avm.[res|ptn].') or leverage the following template:

# >>> UPDATE to for example "avm.res.key-vault.vault"
name: "avm.[res|ptn].[provider-namespace].[resource-type]"

    - cron: "0 12 1/15 * *" # Bi-Weekly Test (on 1st & 15th of month)
        type: boolean
        description: "Execute static validation"
        required: false
        default: true
        type: boolean
        description: "Execute deployment validation"
        required: false
        default: true
        type: boolean
        description: "Remove deployed module"
        required: false
        default: true
      - main
      - ".github/actions/templates/avm-**"
      - ".github/workflows/avm.template.module.yml"
        # >>> UPDATE to for example ".github/workflows/avm.res.key-vault.vault.yml"
      - ".github/workflows/avm.[res|ptn].[provider-namespace].[resource-type].yml"
        # >>> UPDATE to for example "avm/res/key-vault/vault/**"
      - "avm/[res|ptn]/[provider-namespace]/[resource-type]/**"
      - "avm/utilities/pipelines/**"
      - "!*/**/"

  # >>> UPDATE to for example "avm/res/key-vault/vault"
  modulePath: "avm/[res|ptn]/[provider-namespace]/[resource-type]"
  # >>> Update to for example ".github/workflows/avm.res.key-vault.vault.yml"
  workflowPath: ".github/workflows/avm.[res|ptn].[provider-namespace].[resource-type].yml"

  group: ${{ github.workflow }}

  #   Initialize pipeline   #
    runs-on: ubuntu-latest
    name: "Initialize pipeline"
      - name: "Checkout"
        uses: actions/checkout@v4
          fetch-depth: 0
      - name: "Set input parameters to output variables"
        id: get-workflow-param
        uses: ./.github/actions/templates/avm-getWorkflowInput
          workflowPath: "${{ env.workflowPath}}"
      - name: "Get module test file paths"
        id: get-module-test-file-paths
        uses: ./.github/actions/templates/avm-getModuleTestFiles
          modulePath: "${{ env.modulePath }}"
      workflowInput: ${{ steps.get-workflow-param.outputs.workflowInput }}
      moduleTestFilePaths: ${{ steps.get-module-test-file-paths.outputs.moduleTestFilePaths }}
      psRuleModuleTestFilePaths: ${{ steps.get-module-test-file-paths.outputs.psRuleModuleTestFilePaths }}
      modulePath: "${{ env.modulePath }}"

  #   Call reusable workflow   #
    name: "Run"
      id-token: write # For OIDC
      contents: write # For release tags
      - job_initialize_pipeline
    uses: ./.github/workflows/avm.template.module.yml
      workflowInput: "${{ needs.job_initialize_pipeline.outputs.workflowInput }}"
      moduleTestFilePaths: "${{ needs.job_initialize_pipeline.outputs.moduleTestFilePaths }}"
      psRuleModuleTestFilePaths: "${{ needs.job_initialize_pipeline.outputs.psRuleModuleTestFilePaths }}"
      modulePath: "${{ needs.job_initialize_pipeline.outputs.modulePath}}"
    secrets: inherit
After any change to a module and before running tests, we highly recommend running the Set-AVMModule utility to update all module files that are auto-generated (e.g., the main.json & files).

5. Create/Update and run tests

Before opening a Pull Request to the Bicep Public Registry, ensure your module is ready for publishing, by validating that it meets all the Testing Specifications as per SNFR1, SNFR2, SNFR3, SNFR4, SNFR5, SNFR6, SNFR7.

For example, to meet SNFR2, ensure the updated module is deployable against a testing Azure subscription and compliant with the intended configuration.

Depending on the type of contribution you implemented (for example, a new module feature) we would kindly ask you to also update the e2e test run by the pipeline. For a new parameter this could mean to either add its usage to an existing test file, or to add an entirely new test as per BCPNFR9.

Once the contribution is implemented and the changes are pushed to your forked repository, we kindly ask you to validate your updates in your own cloud environment before requesting to merge them to the main repo. Test your code leveraging the forked AVM CI environment you configured before

In case your contribution involves changes to a module, you can also optionally leverage the Validate module locally utility to validate the updated module from your local host before validating it through its pipeline.

Creating e2e tests

As per BCPNFR9, the module must contain a minimum set of deployment test cases, but beyond those you’re free to implement any additional, meaningful test that you see fit. Each test is implemented in its own test folder, containing at least a main.test.bicep and optionally any amount of extra deployment files that you may require (e.g., to deploy dependencies using a dependencies.bicep that you reference in the test template file).

To get started implementing your test in the main.test.bicep file, we recommend the following guidelines:

  • As per BCPNFR13, each main.test.bicep file should implement metadata to render the test more meaningful in the documentation

  • The main.test.bicep file should deploy any immediate dependencies (e.g., a resource group, if required) and invoke the module’s main template while providing all parameters for a given test scenario.

  • Parameters

    • Each file should define a parameter serviceShort. This parameter should be unique to this file (i.e, no two test files should share the same) as it is injected into all resource deployments, making them unique too and account for corresponding requirements.

      • As a reference you can create a identifier by combining a substring of the resource type and test scenario (e.g., in case of a Linux Virtual Machine Deployment: vmlin).

      • For the substring, we recommend to take the first character and subsequent ‘first’ character from the resource type identifier and combine them into one string. Following you can find a few examples for reference:

        • db-for-postgre-sql/flexible-server with a test folder default could be: dfpsfsdef
        • storage/storage-account with a test folder waf-aligned could be: ssawaf

        💡 If the combination of the servicesShort with the rest of a resource name becomes too long, it may be necessary to bend the above recommendations and shorten the name. This can especially happen when deploying resources such as Virtual Machines or Storage Accounts that only allow comparatively short names.

    • If the module deploys a resource-group-level resource, the template should further have a resourceGroupName parameter and subsequent resource deployment. As a reference for the default name you can use dep-<namePrefix><providerNamespace>.<resourceType>-${serviceShort}-rg.

    • Each file should also provide a location parameter that may default to the deployments default location

  • It is recommended to define all major resource names in the main.test.bicep file as it makes later maintenance easier. To implement this, make sure to pass all resource names to any referenced module (including any resource deployed in the dependencies.bicep).

  • Further, for any test file (including the dependencies.bicep file), the usage of variables should be reduced to the absolute minimum. In other words: You should only use variables if you must use them in more than one place. The idea is to keep the test files as simple as possible

  • References to dependencies should be implemented using resource references in combination with outputs. In other words: You should not hardcode any references into the module template’s deployment. Instead use references such as nestedDependencies.outputs.managedIdentityPrincipalId

    As per BCPNFR12 you must use the header module testDeployment '../.*main.bicep' = when invoking the module’s template.

Dependency file (dependencies.bicep) guidelines:

  • The dependencies.bicep should optionally be used if any additional dependencies must be deployed into a nested scope (e.g. into a deployed Resource Group).

  • Note that you can reuse many of the assets implemented in other modules. For example, there are many recurring implementations for Managed Identities, Key Vaults, Virtual Network deployments, etc.

  • A special case to point out is the implementation of Key Vaults that require purge protection (for example, for Customer Managed Keys). As this implies that we cannot fully clean up a test deployment, it is recommended to generate a new name for this resource upon each pipeline run using the output of the utcNow() function at the time.

Reusable assets

There are a number of additional scripts and utilities available here that may be of use to module owners/contributors. These contain both scripts and Bicep templates that you can re-use in your test files (e.g., to deploy standadized dependencies, or to generate keys using deployment scripts).

Example: Certificate creation script

If you need a Deployment Script to set additional non-template resources up (for example certificates/files, etc.), we recommend to store it as a file in the shared avm/utilities/e2e-template-assets/scripts folder and load it using the template function loadTextContent() (for example: scriptContent: loadTextContent('../../../../../../utilities/e2e-template-assets/scripts/New-SSHKey.ps1')). This approach makes it easier to test & validate the logic and further allows reusing the same logic across multiple test cases.

Example: Diagnostic Settings dependencies

To test the numerous diagnostic settings targets (Log Analytics Workspace, Storage Account, Event Hub, etc.) the AVM core team have provided a dependencies .bicep file to help create all these pre-requisite targets that will be needed during test runs.

// ========== //
// Parameters //
// ========== //

@description('Required. The name of the storage account to create.')
param storageAccountName string

@description('Required. The name of the log analytics workspace to create.')
param logAnalyticsWorkspaceName string

@description('Required. The name of the event hub namespace to create.')
param eventHubNamespaceName string

@description('Required. The name of the event hub to create inside the event hub namespace.')
param eventHubNamespaceEventHubName string

@description('Optional. The location to deploy resources to.')
param location string = resourceGroup().location

// ============ //
// Dependencies //
// ============ //

resource storageAccount 'Microsoft.Storage/storageAccounts@2021-08-01' = {
  name: storageAccountName
  location: location
  kind: 'StorageV2'
  sku: {
    name: 'Standard_LRS'
  properties: {
    allowBlobPublicAccess: false

resource logAnalyticsWorkspace 'Microsoft.OperationalInsights/workspaces@2021-12-01-preview' = {
  name: logAnalyticsWorkspaceName
  location: location

resource eventHubNamespace 'Microsoft.EventHub/namespaces@2021-11-01' = {
  name: eventHubNamespaceName
  location: location

  resource eventHub 'eventhubs@2021-11-01' = {
    name: eventHubNamespaceEventHubName

  resource authorizationRule 'authorizationRules@2021-06-01-preview' = {
    name: 'RootManageSharedAccessKey'
    properties: {
      rights: [

// ======= //
// Outputs //
// ======= //

@description('The resource ID of the created Storage Account.')
output storageAccountResourceId string =

@description('The resource ID of the created Log Analytics Workspace.')
output logAnalyticsWorkspaceResourceId string =

@description('The resource ID of the created Event Hub Namespace.')
output eventHubNamespaceResourceId string =

@description('The resource ID of the created Event Hub Namespace Authorization Rule.')
output eventHubAuthorizationRuleId string =

@description('The name of the created Event Hub Namespace Event Hub.')
output eventHubNamespaceEventHubName string =

6. Create a Pull Request to the Public Bicep Registry

Finally, once you are satisfied with your contribution and validated it, open a PR for the module owners or core team to review. Make sure you:

  1. Provide a meaningful title in the form of feat: <module name> to align witht the Semantic PR Check.
  2. Provide a meaningful description.
  3. Follow instructions you find in the PR template.
  4. If applicable (i.e., a module is created/updated), please reference the badge status of your pipeline run. This badge will show the reviewer that the code changes were successfully validated & tested in your environment. To create a badge, first select the three dots (...) at the top right of the pipeline, and then chose the Create status badge option.
Badge dropdown

In the opening pop-up, you first need to select your branch and then click on the Copy status badge Markdown

Status Badge