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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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.


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.


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

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