• STEPtember 2021

    STEPtember logo

    It’s the last day of September and also the last day of “STEPtember”!

    STEPtember is a fundraiser to support people with, and research into cerebral palsy. Participants are asked to take at least 10,000 steps each day of the month of September.

    I found out about STEPtember through my colleagues at SixPivot, and signed up with a team to participate this year. Since I’ve been working from home I do try and take a regular morning walk before starting work - but I found that I needed to do a bit more than that (like cycling, gardening or other kinds of exercise) to make it over the 10,000 threshold. I do hope the extra steps are benefiting my health, as well as any donations going to a great cause.

    If you’d like to sponsor me to help me get to my individual fundraising target, head over to my STEPtember profile page (donations are tax deductible for Australians).

  • Azure Functions - Enable specific functions for debugging

    Azure Functions logo

    I’ve been using Azure Functions quite a bit. Indeed I’ve been recently speaking about them and the new support for .NET 5 and soon .NET 6!

    Today I wanted to debug an Azure Function application, but I didn’t want all of the functions in the application to run (as some of them access resources that I don’t have locally). I discovered that you can add a functions property to your host.json file to list the specific functions that should run.


      "version": "2.0",
      "functions": [

    But I really would prefer not to edit host.json as that file is under source control and I’d then need to remember to not commit those changes. I’d much prefer not to have to remember too many things!

    There’s a section in the documentation that describes how you can also set these values in your local.settings.json (which isn’t usually under source control). But the examples given are for simple boolean properties. How do you enter the array value?

    To find out, I temporarily set the values in host.json and used the IConfigurationRoot.GetDebugView() extension method to dump out all the configuration to see how they were represented.

    Here’s the answer:

        "Values": {
            "AzureFunctionsJobHost__functions__0": "function1",
            "AzureFunctionsJobHost__functions__1": "function2"

    The __0 and __1 represent each element in the array. With that in place when I run the Azure Function locally, only function and function2 will run. All others will be ignored. Just add additional properties (incrementing the number) to enable more functions.

  • GitHub Action build not running on main/master

    Maybe I could call this ‘The case of the Grumpy GitHub Action’?

    I recently added the Auto-merge on a pull request workflow to my https://github.com/flcdrg/dependabot-lockfiles repository.

    The idea being that when Dependabot creates a pull request to update a component, if you’ve set the Allow auto-merge option in the repository settings, then the pull request can be merged automatically assuming all requirements are met.

    But I’d noticed after making that change, while builds were running correctly for pull requests, the merge commit didn’t have a corresponding build!

    Main branch commits and build status

    My first thought was had I made a mistake in one of the workflows? But they were working for pull requests. If there was a typo it should have shown up there.

    I then took a closer look at the builds that were working. Looking at the screenshot above, I’m expecting to see a green tick next to each merge commit (the commits labelled ‘Merged pull request’).

    There’s ones for the two pull requests that I created myself (my GitHub username is ‘flcdrg’), but none for the most recent commit. And interestingly that merge commit says it’s committed by ‘github-actions’. Hmm.. I wonder if that’s significant?

    It reminded me of something I’d read previously.

    When you use the repository’s GITHUB_TOKEN to perform tasks on behalf of the GitHub Actions app, events triggered by the GITHUB_TOKEN will not create a new workflow run.

    I began to form a hypothesis. The auto-merge is set by that workflow looks like this:

          - name: Enable auto-merge for Dependabot PRs
            run: gh pr merge --auto --merge "$PR_URL"
              PR_URL: ${{github.event.pull_request.html_url}}
              GITHUB_TOKEN: ${{secrets.GITHUB_TOKEN}}

    It’s using the GitHub CLI to configure the pull request to enable auto-merge. What I did notice is that it’s passing through GITHUB_TOKEN as an environment variable. On reflection, that kind of makes sense as if you recall the merge commit was ‘committed’ by ‘github-actions’. I guess that’s the username that is associated with GITHUB_TOKEN.

    I wondered whether changing the token might help.

    I have a personal access token that I’d previously created with repository access. I added it as a secret named PAT_REPO_FULL to this repository and updated the workflow to use ${{secrets.PAT_REPO_FULL}}.

    Merge commit build success

    The next Dependabot pull request then gets merged and this time it shows the committer as me (as the token was for my account), and success, the build now runs correctly!