Command-Line Build for Windows Azure
You can create a package for Windows Azure deployment by running MSBuild at a command prompt. You can configure and define builds for debugging, staging, and production, in addition to automating some of the build process.
In this topic
By using the Microsoft Build Engine (MSBuild), you can build products in build lab environments where Visual Studio isn't installed. MSBuild uses an XML format for project files that's extensible and fully supported by Microsoft. In this file format, you can describe what items must be built for one or more platforms and configurations.
You can also run MSBuild at a command prompt, and this topic describes that approach. By setting properties at a command prompt, you can build specific configurations of a project. Similarly, you can also define the targets that the MSBuild command will build. For more information about command-line parameters and MSBuild, see MSBuild Command Line Reference.
As the following procedure describes, you must install software and tools on the build server before you can create a Windows Azure package by using MSBuild:
Install the .NET Framework 4 or .NET Framework 4.5, which includes MSBuild.
Install the Windows Azure Authoring Tools (formerly known as the Azure SDK).
Copy the Microsoft.WebApplication.targets file from a Visual Studio installation on another computer.
The file is located in the directory C:\Program Files (x86)\MSBuild\Microsoft\Visual Studio\v10.0\WebApplications, and you should copy it to the same directory on the build server.
Install the Windows Azure Tools for Visual Studio.
The simplest way to create a package is to run MSBuild with the /t:Publish option. By default, this command creates a directory in relation to the root folder for the project, such as ProjectDir\bin\Configuration\app.publish\. When you build a Windows Azure project, you generate two files, the package file itself and the accompanying configuration file:
By default, each Windows Azure project includes one service-configuration file for local (debugging) builds and another for cloud (staging or production) builds, but you can add or remove service-configuration files as needed. When you build a package within Visual Studio, you will be asked which service-configuration file to include alongside the package. When you build a package by using MSBuild, the local service-configuration file is included by default. To include a different service-configuration file, set the TargetProfile property of the MSBuild command (MSBuild /t:Publish /p:TargetProfile=ProfileName).
If you want to use an alternate directory for the stored package and configuration files, set the path by using the /p:PublishDir=Directory\ option, including the trailing backslash separator.
After the package is built, you can deploy it to Windows Azure. For a tutorial that demonstrates that process, see the Windows Azure website. For information about how to automate that process, see Continuous Delivery for Cloud Services in Windows Azure.