Created an open source VSTS build & release task for Azure Web App Virtual File System

I’ve created a new VSTS Build & Release task to help you interact with the (VFS) Virtual File System API (Part of KUDU API of your Azure Web App). Currently this task can only be used to delete specific files or directories from the web app during your build or release workflow. It will be updated in the near future to also be able to list files or to upload / download files through the VFS API

The reason i made this task was that i needed it at my current customer. We’re deploying our custom solution to a Sitecore website running on Azure web apps using MSDeploy. The deployment consists of 2 parts: an install of the out-of-the-box Sitecore installation and the deployment of our customisations. When deploying new versions we want to keep the Sitecore installation and MSDeploy will update most of our customisations. Some customisations however create artifacts that stay on the server and aren’t  in control of the MSDeploy package that can cause errors on our web application. This new VSTS Build / Release task can help you delete these files. In the future this task will be updated with other functionality of the VFS API such as listing, uploading or downloading files.

The task is available in the VSTS Marketplace and is open source on github.

Let’s have a look how to use this task and how it works under the hood.
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Building, testing and deploying precompiled Azure Functions

Azure functions are great to build small specialized services really fast. When you create an Azure Functions project by using the built-in template from the SDK in Visual Studio you’ll automatically get a function made in a CSX file. This looks like plain old C# but in fact it is actually  is C# Script. When you’re deploying these files to Azure you don’t have to compile them locally or on a build server but you can just upload them to your Azure Storage directly.

In the last update for Azure Functions the option to build precompiled functions was added. Doing this is actually pretty simple. I’ve created a sample project on Github containing a precompiled Azure function, unit tests for the function and an ARM template to deploy the function. Lets go over the steps to create a precompiled Azure function.

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It’s 2017: Test automation is not optional when building mobile apps!

Note: although this post focusses on mobile app development using Xamarin it also applies to other native mobile apps built in Swift, Java or even web apps. it’s 2017! whatever you are building get started with Test Automation!

As a consultant working for Xpirit i get to see a lot of different customers which I help with my expertise in building mobile applications to improve their mobile apps. Something I noticed in the previous year is that continuous delivery is a hot topic and companies and teams focus on deploying apps automatically to their testers through hockeyapp or even to the stores in beta and / or production.

In agile scenario’s (and come on who isn’t doing that currently? Every company or project I visit is saying they are agile or doing Scrum although some only do dailies and call that scrum ) In the current world it is really important to be able to release often because you want to be able to adapt to customer needs which are almost always changing and evolving.

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Created an open source VSTS build & release task for Sitecore.Ship

At my current customer we’re implementing an Azure environment which also contains a Sitecore application. We’re using VSTS to for all aspects of the application development lifecycle from agile planning to source control and automated builds & releases. In the release pipeline we can use the out of the box Azure web deploy build steps to deploy our code to our web app which is a Sitecore instance. The next step is to be able to also deploy the Sitecore content we created as code using TDS to our Sitecore Site.

Sitecore.Ship is an open source project which makes it easy to deploy Sitecore .Update files to your Sitecore Instance. It is created by Kevin Obee and it can be found here on Github

in our Build we build our TDS projects using MSBuild to generate .Update files which we can then deploy in our release pipeline to Sitecore. There was one problem however which was that there was no build task to do this. Since my role at my current client is supporting all the development teams in improving their continuous delivery process i decided to create a task to make their life easier.

sitecoreship

Sitecore.Ship build task

You can download the build task now in the VSTS marketplace.

To be able to upload your .update files using Sitecore.Ship you have to install Sitecore.Ship on your Sitecore instance first. when you’ve done that don’t forget to whitelist the IP address of your build server in the web.config so Sitecore.Ship will allow your build server to do the deployment.

After that add my Sitecore Ship VSTS task to your workflow, select the .update file and the URL of your Sitecore site and you’re done.

The task works for both VSTS and TFS 2015/2017 and works for your sitecore site hosted on prem or in Azure.

2

Open Source

Of course this VSTS task is open source and the source can be found here on Github

the tasks is uploading the sitecore packages through powershell. even if you are not using powershell you might want to use this piece of powershell if you want to upload things to Sitecore using Sitecore.Ship manually. The script is quite basic setting up a httpclient that sends the files to Sitecore through http Post.

If you want to run the powershell script manually you have to replace to 2 lines that retrieve the parameters from the build task to parameters that are sent to the script.

This is the first VSTS build task i’ve created so please let me know if you like it or if you have feedback in improving this task by leaving a comment here or on Github.

also check out one of the many other VSTS build tasks made by my colleagues from Xpirit

Happy deploying!

Geert van der Cruijsen

The post Created an open source VSTS build & release task for Sitecore.Ship appeared first on Mobile First Cloud First.

Agile, but still really not Agile? What Pipeline Automation can do for you. Part 3.

Organizations adopting Agile and teams delivering on a feature-by-feature basis producing business value at the end of every sprint. Quite possibly this is also the case in your organization. But do these features actually reach your customer at the same pace and generate business value straight away? And while we are at it: are you able to actually use feedback from your customer and apply it for use in the very next sprint?

Possibly your answer is “No”, which I see very often. Many companies have adopted the Agile way of working in their lines of business, but for some reason ‘old problems’ just do not seem to go away...

Hence the question:

“Do you fully capitalize on the benefits provided by working in an Agile manner?”

Straight forward Software Delivery Pipeline Automation might help you with that.

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Agile, but still really not Agile? What Pipeline Automation can do for you. Part 2.

Organizations adopting Agile and teams delivering on a feature-by-feature basis producing business value at the end of every sprint. Quite possibly this is also the case in your organization. But do these features actually reach your customer at the same pace and generate business value straight away? And while we are at it: are you able to actually use feedback from your customer and apply it for use in the very next sprint?

Possibly your answer is “No”, which I see very often. Many companies have adopted the Agile way of working in their lines of business, but for some reason ‘old problems’ just do not seem to go away...

Hence the question:

“Do you fully capitalize on the benefits provided by working in an Agile manner?”

Straight forward Software Delivery Pipeline Automation might help you with that.

Read more →

Agile, but still really not Agile? What Pipeline Automation can do for you. Part 1.

Organizations adopting Agile and teams delivering on a feature-by-feature basis producing business value at the end of every sprint. Quite possibly this is also the case in your organization. But do these features actually reach your customer at the same pace and generate business value straight away? And while we are at it: are you able to actually use feedback from your customer and apply it for use in the very next sprint?

Possibly your answer is “No”, which I see very often. Many companies have adopted the Agile way of working in their lines of business, but for some reason ‘old problems’ just do not seem to go away...

Hence the question:

“Do you fully capitalize on the benefits provided by working in an Agile manner?”

Straight forward Software Delivery Pipeline Automation might help you with that.

Read more →

Continuous Delivery of Docker Images

Our customer wanted to drastically cut down time to market for the new version of their application. Large quarterly releases should be replaced by small changes that can be rolled out to production multiple times a day. Below we will explain how to use Docker and Ansible to support this strategy, or, in our customer’s words, how to ‘develop software at the speed of thought’.
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How to Dockerize your Dropwizard Application

If you want to deploy your Dropwizard Application on a Docker server, you can Dockerize your Dropwizard Application. Since a Dropwizard Application is already packaged as an executable Java ARchive file, creating a Docker image for such an application should be easy.

 

In this blog, you will learn how to Dockerize a Dropwizard Application using 4 easy steps.

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