But it works on my PC!

The random thoughts of Richard Fennell on technology and software development

Overwriting your own parameters in Release Management can cause Powershell remoting problems

I have been doing some work on vNext Release Management; I managed to waste a good hour today with a stupid error.

In vNext process templates you provide a username and password to be used as the Powershell remoting credentials (in the red box below)

image

My Powershell script also took a parameter username, so this was provided as a custom configuration too (the green box). This was the issue. Not unsurprisingly having two parameters with the same name is a problem. You might get away with it if they are the same value (I did on one stage, which caused more confusion), but if they differ (as mine did in my production stage) the last one set wins, which meant my remote Powershell returned the error

System.Reflection.TargetInvocationException: Exception has been thrown by the target of an invocation. ---> System.AggregateException: One or more errors occurred. ---> Microsoft.TeamFoundation.Release.Common.Helpers.OperationFailedException: Permission denied while trying to connect to the target machine Gadila.blackmarble.co.uk on the port:5985 via power shell remoting.

Easy to fix once you realise the problem, a logon failure is logged on the target machine in the event log. Just make sure you have unique parameters

Using Release Management vNext templates when you don’t want to use DSC scripts

Many web sites are basically forms over data, so you need to deploy some DB schema and something like a MVC website. Even for this ’bread and butter’ work it is important to have an automated process to avoid human error. Hence the rise in use of release tools to run your DACPAC and MSDeploy packages.

In the Microsoft space this might lead to the question of how Desired State Configuration (DSC) can help? I, and others, have posted in the past about how DSC can be used to achieve this type of deployment, but this can be complex and you have to ask is DSC the best way to manage DACPAC and MSDeploy packages? Or is DSC better suited to only the configuration of your infrastructure/OS features?

You might ask why would you not want to use DSC, well the most common reason I see is that you need to provide deployment script to end clients who don’t use DSC, or you have just decided want basic PowerShell. Only you will be able to judge which is the best for your systems, but I thought it worth outlining an alternative way to do deployment of these package using Release Management vNext pipelines that does not make use of DSC.

Background

Let us assume we have a system with a SQL server and a IIS web server that have been added to the Release Management vNext environment. These already have SQL and IIS enabled, maybe you used DSC for that?

The vNext release template allows you to run either DSC or PowerShell on the machines, we will ignore DSC, so what can you do if you want to use simple PowerShell scripts?

Where do I put my Scripts?

We will place the PowerShell scripts (and maybe any tools they call) under source control such that they end up in the build drops location, thus making it easy for Release Management to find them, and allowing the scripts (and tools) to be versioned.

Deploying a DACPAC

The script I have been using to deploy DACPACs is as follows

# find the script folder
$folder = Split-Path -parent $MyInvocation.MyCommand.Definition
Write-Verbose "Deploying DACPAC $SOURCEFILE using script in '$folder'"
& $folder\sqlpackage.exe /Action:Publish /SourceFile:$folder\..\$SOURCEFILE /TargetServerName:$TARGETSERVERNAME /TargetDatabaseName:$TARGETDATABASENAME | Write-Verbose -Verbose

Note that:

  1. First it finds the folder it is running in, this is the easiest way to find other resource I need
  2. The only way any logging will end up in the Release Management logs is if is logged at the verbose level i.e. write-verbose “your message” –verbose
  3. I have used a simple & my.exe to execute my command, but pass the output via the write-verbose cmdlet to make sure we see the results. The alternative would be to use invoke-process
  4. SQLPACKAGE.EXE (and its associated DLLs) are located in the same SCRIPTS folder as the PowerShell script and are under source control. Of course you could make sure any tools you need are already installed on the target machine.

I pass the three parameters need for the strips as custom configuration

image

Remember that you don’t have to be the SQL server to run SQLPACKAGE.EXE, it can be run remotely (that is why in the screen shot above the ServerName is ISS IIS8 not SQL as you might expect)

Deploying a MSDeploy Package

The script I use to deploy the WebDeploy package this is as follows

function Update-ParametersFile
{
    param
    (
        $paramFilePath,
        $paramsToReplace
    )

    write-verbose "Updating parameters file '$paramFilePath'" -verbose
    $content = get-content $paramFilePath
    $paramsToReplace.GetEnumerator() | % {
        Write-Verbose "Replacing value for key '$($_.Key)'" -Verbose
        $content = $content.Replace($_.Key, $_.Value)
    }
    set-content -Path $paramFilePath -Value $content

}


# the script folder
$folder = Split-Path -parent $MyInvocation.MyCommand.Definition
write-verbose "Deploying Website '$package' using script in '$folder'" -verbose

Update-ParametersFile -paramFilePath "$folder\..\_PublishedWebsites\$($package)_Package\$package.SetParameters.xml" -paramsToReplace @{
      "__DataContext__" = $datacontext
      "__SiteName__" = $siteName
      "__Domain__" = $Domain
      "__AdminGroups__" = $AdminGroups

}

write-verbose "Calling '$package.deploy.cmd'" -verbose
& "$folder\..\_PublishedWebsites\$($package)_Package\$package.deploy.cmd" /Y | Write-Verbose -verbose

Note that:

  1. First I declare a function that I use to replace the contents of the package.setparameters.xml file, a key step in using binary promotion and WebDeploy
  2. Again I finds the folder the script is running in so I can locate other resources
  3. I then declare the parameters I need to replace and call the replacement function 
  4. Finally I call the package.deploy.cmd command, and pass the output via the write-verbose to pass the output to the Release Management logs

This is called as follows

image

Summary

So I think these reusable scripts give a fairly  easy way to make use of  vNext Release Management pipelines. They can also easily be given to clients who just want to manually run something.

Fix for 500 internal errors when trying to trigger a Release Management pipeline from a build via the REST API

With the help of the Release Management team at Microsoft I now have a working REST based automated TFS Build to Release Management pipeline. Previously we were using a TFS automated build and then manually triggering our agent based Release Management pipeline. When we moved to a vNext PS/DSC based RM pipeline I took the chance to automate the link using REST via a PowerShell script to trigger the initial deployment. However, I hit problem, first with a stupid 401 permission error and later with a much stranger 500 internal server error.

Fixing the 401 error

The first problem was that in the InitiateReleaseFromBuild.ps1 script defaults to a hardcoded username and password. You should really be using the current credentials. To do this make sure the lines around line60 in the script are as shown below (or enter valid credentials if you don’t want to use default credentials)

$wc = New-Object System.Net.WebClient
$wc.UseDefaultCredentials = $true
# rmuser should be part rm users list and he should have permission to trigger the release.
#$wc.Credentials = new-object System.Net.NetworkCredential("rmuser", "rmuserpassword", "rmuserdomain")

Fixing the 500 error

The 500 error was stranger. Turns out the issue was the registration of our TFS server in Release Management.

Using the dialogs in the RM client we has registered our TFS server, this had generated the URL https://tfs.domain.com:443/tfs. If we ran the InitiateReleaseFromBuild.ps1 script with this URL set as a parameter we got the 500 error, the RM logs showed the workflow could not start. Eventually we realised it was because RM thought it could not access the TFS server. So the problem was that at some point  between the script being run and the RM server processing the URL the :443 had been removed; presumably because this is the default for HTTPS and some layer was being ‘helpful’. This meant that the RM server was trying to string match the URL https://tfs.domain.com/tfs against https://tfs.domain.com:443/tfs which failed, hence the workflow failed.

The fix was to edit the TFS registration in RM to remove the port number, leave the field empty (not that obvious as the dialog completes this field for you when you select HTTPS)

image

Once this was done the URL matching worked and the release pipeline triggered as expected.

Strange TFS build process template editing issue with Typemock

Had a strange issue today while editing our standard TFS 2013 XAML build process template to add an optional post drop script block to allow a Release Management pipeline to be triggered via REST. Our standard template includes a block for enabling and disabling Typemock, after editing our template to add the new script block (nowhere near the Typemock section) our builds failed with the error

TF215097: An error occurred while initializing a build for build definition \BM\ISS.Expenses.Main.CI: Exception Message: Cannot set unknown member 'TypeMock.TFS2013.TypeMockStart.DisableAutoLink'. (type XamlObjectWriterException) Exception Stack Trace: at System.Xaml.XamlObjectWriter.WriteStartMember(XamlMember property) 

It took ages to find the issue, we hunted for badly formed XAML, but the issue turned out to be that when ever we opened the template in Visual Studio 2013 it added the highlighted property

 

<If Condition="[UseTypemock = True]" DisplayName="If using Typemock" sap2010:WorkflowViewState.IdRef="If_8">
  <If.Then>
   <Sequence DisplayName="Enabling Typemock" sap2010:WorkflowViewState.IdRef="Sequence_16">
      <tt:TypeMockRegister AutoDeployDir="[TypemockAutoDeployDir]" Company="[TypemockCompany]" sap2010:WorkflowViewState.IdRef="TypeMockRegister_1" License="[TypemockLicense]" />
      <tt:TypeMockStart DisableAutoLink="{x:Null}" EvaluationFolder="{x:Null}" Link="{x:Null}" LogLevel="{x:Null}" LogPath="{x:Null}" ProfilerLaunchedFirst="{x:Null}" Target="{x:Null}" Verbosity="{x:Null}" Version="{x:Null}" AutoDeployDir="[TypemockAutoDeployDir]" sap2010:WorkflowViewState.IdRef="TypeMockStart_1" />
     </Sequence>
  </If.Then>
</If>

It should have been

<If Condition="[UseTypemock = True]" DisplayName="If using Typemock" sap2010:WorkflowViewState.IdRef="If_8">
  <If.Then>
    <Sequence DisplayName="Enabling Typemock" sap2010:WorkflowViewState.IdRef="Sequence_16">
       <tt:TypeMockRegister AutoDeployDir="[TypemockAutoDeployDir]" Company="[TypemockCompany]" sap2010:WorkflowViewState.IdRef="TypeMockRegister_1" License="[TypemockLicense]" />
       <tt:TypeMockStart EvaluationFolder="{x:Null}" Link="{x:Null}" LogLevel="{x:Null}" LogPath="{x:Null}" ProfilerLaunchedFirst="{x:Null}" Target="{x:Null}" Verbosity="{x:Null}" Version="{x:Null}" AutoDeployDir="[TypemockAutoDeployDir]" sap2010:WorkflowViewState.IdRef="TypeMockStart_1" />
    </Sequence>
  </If.Then>
</If>

All I can assume is that this is due to some assembly mismatch between the Typemock DLLs linked to the XAML build process template and those on my development PC.

The fix for now is to do the editing in a text editor, or at least checking the file to make sure the property has not been edited before it is checked in.

A Visual Studio Extension to create MSDeploy parameters.xml files

When you using MSdeploy you should create a parameters.xml file that exposes your web.config settings at the time of installation. This enables good deployment habits, build the product one and then set system specific values using deployment tools. The problem is that this parameters.xml file is a pain to write, it is a series of XML blocks that contain XPath to find the entries to replace, typo’s are easy to introduce.

A ripe candidate for automation, but I could not find a tool to do it, so I wrote one for Visual Studio 2013 and 2015. You can find the source on GitHub andthe actual VSIX package in the Visual Studio Gallery.

So what does it do?

Once it is installed, if you right click on a web.config file you will see a context menu option to generate a parameters.xml file, click it, if the file does not exist it will be generated and added to the current project. Entries will be made for all appSettings and any custom applicationSettings blocks found in the web.config. The actual web.config values will be replaced with __TAGS__ to be set via Release Management or your tool of choice.

So the web.config file

<configuration>
  <applicationSettings>
    <Service.Properties.Settings>
      <setting name="Directory1" serializeAs="String">
        <value>C:\ABC1111</value>
      </setting>
      <setting name="Directory2" serializeAs="String">
        <value>C:\abc2222</value>
      </setting>
    </Service.Properties.Settings>
  </applicationSettings>
  <appSettings>
    <add key="APPSETTING1" value="123" />
    <add key="AppSetting2" value="456" />
  </appSettings>
</configuration>  

it generates the parameters.xml

<parameters>
  <parameter name="APPSETTING1" description="Description for APPSETTING1" defaultvalue="__APPSETTING1__" tags="">
    <parameterentry kind="XmlFile" scope="\\web.config$" match="/configuration/appSettings/add[@key='APPSETTING1']/@value" />
  </parameter>

  <parameter name="AppSetting2" description="Description for AppSetting2" defaultvalue="__APPSETTING2__" tags="">
    <parameterentry kind="XmlFile" scope="\\web.config$" match="/configuration/appSettings/add[@key='AppSetting2']/@value" />
  </parameter>

  <parameter name="Directory1" description="Description for Directory1" defaultvalue="__DIRECTORY1__" tags="">
    <parameterentry kind="XmlFile" scope="\\web.config$" match="/configuration/applicationSettings/Service.Properties.Settings/setting[@name='Directory1']/value/text()" />
  </parameter>

  <parameter name="Directory2" description="Description for Directory2" defaultvalue="__DIRECTORY2__" tags="">
    <parameterentry kind="XmlFile" scope="\\web.config$" match="/configuration/applicationSettings/Service.Properties.Settings/setting[@name='Directory2']/value/text()" />
  </parameter>

</parameters>

If a parameters.xml file already exists then you are prompted first if you wish to replace it, if you say no, then you  are prompted if you wish to add any new entries in the web.config, or do nothing.

All the work is done via an XSL Transform, so if you need to transform extra settings just add to the embedded XSLT resource and rebuild the VSIX package.

So the tool won’t do everything, but should get you close to the file you need.

Running StyleCop from the command line and in a TFS 2015 vNext build

Virtually any automated build will require some customisation beyond a basic compile. So as part of my upcoming Techorama session on TFS 2015 vNext build I need a demo of using a custom script as part of the build process. Two common customisations we use are version stamping of assemblies and running code analysis tools. For vNext build there is already a sample of version stamping, so I thought getting StyleCop running would be a good sample.

The problem

Customisation in vNext build is based around running a script, in the case of a Windows based build agents this a PowerShell script. The problem with StyleCop is that it does not provide a command line iterface. The  StyleCop CodePlex project provides only a Visual Studio add-in. There is also the ALM Ranger’s TFS community custom build  activity, but I could find no current command line interface projects.

So I needed to build one.

Step 1 – Create a command line

So my first step was to create a command line version of StyleCop. I chose to use the community build activity as a starting point. I had planned to do this all in PowerShell, but quickly found that the conversion of parameter object types and the handling of the events StyleCop uses was a bit messy. So I decided to write a wrapper class in C# that presented the same parameters as the old TFS build activity, basically take the old code and remove the Windows Workflow logic. I then provided a Main (args) method to expose the object to the command line such that it was easy to provide the required parameters.

This can all be found on my GitHub site.

Note on solution structure: As I wanted this to work for PowerShell and the command prompt I had to place the Main(args[]) method .EXE entry point in a project that built an EXE and all the rest of the wrapper code in one that built a .DLL. This is because you cannot load a type in PowerShell using add-type from an assembly built as an EXE, you get a EXTENSION_NOT_SUPPORTED exception. It means there are two projects (a DLL and an EXE) when I would really have like a single one (the EXE)

So I now had a command line I could call from my PowerShell script

StyleCopCmdLine --f="File1.cs" "File2.cs" --s="AllSettingsEnabled.StyleCop"

A good starting point. However,  more a TFS build it makes more sense to call StyleCop directly in the PowerShell, why shell out to a command prompt to run an EXE when your can run the code directly in PowerShell?

Step 2 – Create a simple PowerShell script

The PowerShell required to run StyleCop using the wrapper is simple, just providing the same parameters as used for the EXE.

Add-Type -Path "StyleCopWrapper.dll"

 

$scanner = new-object StyleCopWrapper.Wrapper
$scanner.MaximumViolationCount = 1000
$scanner.ShowOutput = $true
$scanner.CacheResults = $false
$scanner.ForceFullAnalysis = $true
$scanner.XmlOutputFile = "$pwd\out.xml"
$scanner.LogFile = "$pwd\log.txt"
$scanner.SourceFiles =  @("file1.cs", "file2.cs") )
$scanner.SettingsFile = "settings.stylecop"
$scanner.AdditionalAddInPaths = @("C:\Program Files (x86)\StyleCop 4.7" )
$scanner.TreatViolationsErrorsAsWarnings = $false

$scanner.Scan()

write-host ("Succeeded [{0}]" -f $scanner.Succeeded)
write-host ("Violation count [{0}]" -f $scanner.ViolationCount)

See the GitHub site’s WIKI for the usage details.

Step 3 – Create a vNext build PowerShell script

So now we have the basic tools we need to run StyleCop from a TFS vNext build, but we do need a more complex script.

The script you use is up to you, mine looks for .csproj files and runs StyleCop recursively from the directories containing the .csproj files. This means I can have a different  setting.stylecop file for each project. In general I have more strict rules on production code than unit test e.g. for unit tests I am not bother about the XML method documentation, but for production code I make sure they are present and match the method parameters.

Note: As the script just uses parameters and environment variable it is easy to test outside TFS build, a great improvement over the old build system

#
# Script to allow StyleCop to be run as part of the TFS vNext build
#
[CmdletBinding()]
param
(
    # We have to pass this boolean flag as string, we cast it before we use it
    # have to use 0 or 1, true or false
    [string]$TreatStyleCopViolationsErrorsAsWarnings = 'False'
)

# local test values, should be commented out in production
#$Env:BUILD_STAGINGDIRECTORY = "C:\drops"
#$Env:BUILD_SOURCESDIRECTORY = "C:\code\MySolution"

if(-not ($Env:BUILD_SOURCESDIRECTORY -and $Env:BUILD_STAGINGDIRECTORY))
{
    Write-Error "You must set the following environment variables"
    Write-Error "to test this script interactively."
    Write-Host '$Env:BUILD_SOURCESDIRECTORY - For example, enter something like:'
    Write-Host '$Env:BUILD_SOURCESDIRECTORY = "C:\code\MySolution"'
    Write-Host '$Env:BUILD_STAGINGDIRECTORY - For example, enter something like:'
    Write-Host '$Env:BUILD_STAGINGDIRECTORY = "C:\drops"'
    exit 1
}

# pickup the build locations from the environment
$stagingfolder = $Env:BUILD_STAGINGDIRECTORY
$sourcefolder = $Env:BUILD_SOURCESDIRECTORY

# have to convert the string flag to a boolean
$treatViolationsErrorsAsWarnings = [System.Convert]::ToBoolean($TreatStyleCopViolationsErrorsAsWarnings)

Write-Host ("Source folder (`$Env)  [{0}]" -f $sourcefolder) -ForegroundColor Green
Write-Host ("Staging folder (`$Env) [{0}]" -f $stagingfolder) -ForegroundColor Green
Write-Host ("Treat violations as warnings (Param) [{0}]" -f $treatViolationsErrorsAsWarnings) -ForegroundColor Green
 
# the overall results across all sub scans
$overallSuccess = $true
$projectsScanned = 0
$totalViolations = 0


# load the StyleCop classes, this assumes that the StyleCop.DLL, StyleCop.Csharp.DLL,
# StyleCop.Csharp.rules.DLL in the same folder as the StyleCopWrapper.dll
Add-Type -Path "StyleCop\StyleCopWrapper.dll"
$scanner = new-object StyleCopWrapper.Wrapper

# Set the common scan options,
$scanner.MaximumViolationCount = 1000
$scanner.ShowOutput = $true
$scanner.CacheResults = $false
$scanner.ForceFullAnalysis = $true
$scanner.AdditionalAddInPaths = @($pwd) # in in local path as we place stylecop.csharp.rules.dll here
$scanner.TreatViolationsErrorsAsWarnings = $treatViolationsErrorsAsWarnings

# look for .csproj files
foreach ($projfile in Get-ChildItem $sourcefolder -Filter *.csproj -Recurse)
{
   write-host ("Processing the folder [{0}]" -f $projfile.Directory)

   # find a set of rules closest to the .csproj file
   $settings = Join-Path -path $projfile.Directory -childpath "settings.stylecop"
   if (Test-Path $settings)
   {
        write-host "Using found settings.stylecop file same folder as .csproj file"
        $scanner.SettingsFile = $settings
   }  else
   {
       $settings = Join-Path -path $sourcefolder -childpath "settings.stylecop"
       if (Test-Path $settings)
       {
            write-host "Using settings.stylecop file in solution folder"
            $scanner.SettingsFile = $settings
       } else
       {
            write-host "Cannot find a local settings.stylecop file, using default rules"
            $scanner.SettingsFile = "." # we have to pass something as this is a required param
       }
   }

   $scanner.SourceFiles =  @($projfile.Directory)
   $scanner.XmlOutputFile = (join-path $stagingfolder $projfile.BaseName) +".stylecop.xml"
   $scanner.LogFile =  (join-path $stagingfolder $projfile.BaseName) +".stylecop.log"
   
   # Do the scan
   $scanner.Scan()

    # Display the results
    Write-Host ("`n")
    write-host ("Base folder`t[{0}]" -f $projfile.Directory) -ForegroundColor Green
    write-host ("Settings `t[{0}]" -f $scanner.SettingsFile) -ForegroundColor Green
    write-host ("Succeeded `t[{0}]" -f $scanner.Succeeded) -ForegroundColor Green
    write-host ("Violations `t[{0}]" -f $scanner.ViolationCount) -ForegroundColor Green
    Write-Host ("Log file `t[{0}]" -f $scanner.LogFile) -ForegroundColor Green
    Write-Host ("XML results`t[{0}]" -f $scanner.XmlOutputFile) -ForegroundColor Green

    $totalViolations += $scanner.ViolationCount
    $projectsScanned ++
   
    if ($scanner.Succeeded -eq $false)
    {
      # any failure fails the whole run
      $overallSuccess = $false
    }

}

# the output summary
Write-Host ("`n")
if ($overallSuccess -eq $false)
{
   Write-Error ("StyleCop found [{0}] violations across [{1}] projects" -f $totalViolations, $projectsScanned)
}
elseif ($totalViolations -gt 0 -and $treatViolationsErrorsAsWarnings -eq $true)
{
    Write-Warning ("StyleCop found [{0}] violations warnings across [{1}] projects" -f $totalViolations, $projectsScanned)
}
else
{
   Write-Host ("StyleCop found [{0}] violations warnings across [{1}] projects" -f $totalViolations, $projectsScanned) -ForegroundColor Green
}

Step 4 – Adding a the script to the repo

To use the script it needs (and any associated files) to be placed in your source control. In my case it meant I create a folder called StyleCop off the root of my TFS 2015 CTP’s Git repo and in it placed the following files

  • PowerShell.ps1 – my script file
  • StyleCop.dll – the main StyleCop assembly taken from c:\program files (x86)\StyleCop 4.7. By placing it here it means we don’t need to actually install StyleCop on the build machine
  • StyleCop.csharp.dll – also from c:\program files (x86)\StyleCop 4.7
  • StyleCop.csharp.rules.dll – also from c:\program files (x86)\StyleCop 4.7
  • StyleCopWrapper.dll – the wrapper assembly from my GitHub site

Step 5 – Adding the script to a build process

Once the script is in the repo adding a new step to a vNext build is easy.

  • In a browser select the Build.vNext menu options
  • The build explorer will be show, right click on the build you wish to add a step to and select edit
  • Press the ‘Add build step’ button. The list of steps will be show, pick PowerShell

    image
  • As the script is in the repo we can reference it in the new step. in my case I set the script file name to

                          StyleCop/PowerShell.ps1
  • My script takes one parameter, if we should treat StleCop violations as warnings, this is set as the script argument. Note I am using a build variable $(ViolationsAsWarnings) set to a string value ‘True’ or ‘False’, so I have one setting for the whole build script. Though a boolean parameter would be nice it seems I can only pass in strings as build variables, so I do the conversion to a boolean inside the script.

                          -TreatStyleCopViolationsErrorsAsWarnings $(ViolationsAsWarnings)

    image

Step 6 - Running the build

My test solution has two projects, with different settings.stylecop files. Once the new step was added to my build I could queue a build, by altering $(ViolationsAsWarnings)  variable I could make the build pass for fail.

        

image

       image

The detailed StyleCop result are available in the build log and are also placed in the drops folder in an XML format.

Note: One strange behaviour is that when you test the script outside TFS build you get a .XML and .LOG file for each project scanned. In TFS build you only see the .XML file in the drops folder, this I think is because the .LOG has been redirected into the main TFS vNext build logs.

Summary

So now I have a way to run StyleCop within a TFS vNext build.

Using these techniques there are no end of tools that can be wired into the build process, and I must say it is far easier than the TFS 2010, 2012, 2013 style workflow customisation.

Cross platform build with TFS 2015 vNext Build

I have been preparing for my Techorama session on TFS vNext build. One of the demo’s I am planning is to use the Node based cross platform build agent to build something on a Linux VM. Turns out this takes a few undocumented steps to get this going with the CTP of TFS 2015

The process I followed was:

  • I installed a Mint 17 VM
  • On the VM, I installed the Node VSOAgent as detailed in the npm documentation (or I could have built it from from source from GitHub to get the bleeding edge version)
  • I created a new agent instance
             vsoagent-installer
  • I then tried to run the configuration, but hit a couple of issues
              node vsoagent

URL error

The first problem was I was told the URL I provided was invalid. I had tried the URL of my local TFS 2015 CTP VM

http://typhoontfs:8080/tfs

The issue is that the vsoagent was initially developed for VSO and is expecting a fully qualified URL. To get around this, as I was on a local test network, I just added an entry to my Linux OS’s local /etc/hosts file, so I could call

http://typhoontfs.local:8080/tfs

This URL was accepted

401 Permissions Error

Once the URL was accepted, the next problem was I got a 401 permission error.

Now the release notes make it clear that you have to enable alternate credentials on your VSO account, but this is not a option for on premises TFS.

The solution is easy though (at least for a trial system). In IIS Manager on your TFS server enable basic authentication for the TFS application, you are warned this is not secure as passwords are sent in clear text, so probably not something to do on a production system

image

Once this was set the configuration of the client worked and I had an vsoagent running on my Linux client.

I could then go into the web based TFS Build.vNext interface and create a new empty build, adding the build tool I required, in my case Ant, using an Ant script stored with my project code in my TFS based Git repo.

When I ran the build it errored, as expected, my  Linux VM was missing all the build tools, but this was fixed by running apt-get on my Linux VM to install ant, ant-optional and the Java JDK. Obviously you need to install the tools you need.

So I have working demo, my Java application builds and resultant files dropped back into TFS. OK the configuration is not perfect at present, but from the GitHub site you can see the client  is being rapidly iterated

Build arguments are not returned for a build definition via the TFS API if they are left as default values

We use my TFS Alerts DSL to perform tasks when our TFS build complete, one of these is a job to increment the minor version number and reset the version start date (the value that generates third field – days since a point in time) if a build is set to the quality ‘release’ e.g. 1.2.99.[unique build id] where 99 is the days count since some past date could change to 1.3.0.[unique build id] (see this old post on how we do this in the build process)

I have just found a bug (feature?) in the way the DSL does this; turns out if you did not set the major and minor version argument values in the build editor (you just left them to their default values of 1 and 0) then the DSL fails as defaulted argument are not returned in the property set of the build definiation we process in the DSL. You would expect to get a 0 back, but you in fact get a null.

So if you have a build where you expect the version to increment and it does not, check the build definition and make sure the MajorVersion, MinorVersion (or whatever you called them) and version start date are all in bold

 

clip_image002

I have updated the code on Codeplex so that it gives a better error message in the event log if problem occurs with a build.

Wrong package location when reusing a Release Management component

Whilst setting up a new agent based deployment pipeline in Release Management I decided I to reuse an existing component as it already had the correct package location set and correct transforms for the MSDeploy package. Basically this pipeline was a new copy of an existing website with different branding (css file etc.), but the same configuration options.

I had just expected this work, but I kept getting ‘file not found’ errors when MSDeploy was run. On investigation I found that the package location for the component was wrong, it was the build drop root, not the sub folder I had specified.

image 

I have no idea why.

The fix was to copy the component, and use this copy in the pipeline. It is probably what I should have done anyway, as I expect this web site to diverge from original one, so I will need to edit the web.config transforms, but not something I thought I would have had to do now to get it working.