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Trigger a release from a build

Trigger a release from a build

Start a release automatically when you build your app using Team Foundation Build (TFBuild). You can choose which stage of your release process to start with. To trigger a release from a build, you must configure both your build process and your release path.

Note: This procedure applies only to releases that use a deployment agent and a Build template in TFS. For information about other release scenarios, see the Q&A at the end of this topic.

If you haven’t created your release path yet, go here to do that.

Also, if you haven’t yet set up your build system, do that now.

  1. If you don’t have permission to edit build definitions, get them now.

  2. From Visual Studio, Team Explorer, connect to the team project that you want to work in (Keyboard: Ctrl + 0, C).

  3. On the Builds Icon Builds page (Keyboard: Ctrl + 0, B), create or edit a build definition.

  4. On the Process tab of the build definition, choose the configuration that you want to use for this release (for example: debug or release). Set the Release Build to True. Choose the specific stage that you want to trigger for the release, or leave this field blank if you want to start with the first stage.

    Release build arguments

    If the Release section doesn’t appear:

    If you have components with configuration files that need different values based on the target environment, you can tokenize the configuration file.

  5. Specify any other settings that your build process requires and then save your build definition.

  1. If you haven’t installed the Release Management Client for Visual Studio on the build server, do that now.

    Important note Important

    This is a 90-day trial version of Release Management. For information about obtaining a non-trial version, see How to buy Release Management or Release Management Licensing. If you are an MSDN subscriber, you can download a non-trial version from the MSDN Subscriber website.

    After you install the client on the build server, restart the build services. You can do that from the Team Foundation Server Administration Console.

  2. Configure the Release Management client to connect to the Release Management server.

  3. From your release template, choose the build definition that you have set to trigger a build and select the check box to enable the build process to trigger a release.

    Properties page for a release template

    If the Build Definition selection doesn’t appear, then you need to add your TFS connection to the Release Management client. (Add the connection from the Manage TFS tab of the Administration section.)

    After the release is triggered, it proceeds through the steps in the stage that was selected. If you don’t set the Acceptance Step and the Deployment Step to Automated for this stage, the release will not be started. You must mark these steps as automated in the release path.

A: If you are using the default template, all you need to do is replace it with the corresponding release management process template.

  1. If you don’t have permission to contribute files or to edit build definitions, get them now.

  2. From Visual Studio, Team Explorer, connect to the team project that you want to work in (Keyboard: Ctrl + 0, C).

  3. In the Drive:\Program Files (x86)\ Microsoft Visual Studio 12.0\ReleaseManagement\bin folder, locate the template that you need. Or download the template to this directory from the zip file that is attached to this blog post.

    • TFS 2013

      • TFVC icon TFVC: ReleaseTfvcTemplate.12.xaml.

      • Git icon Git: ReleaseGitTemplate.12.xaml

    • TFS 2012: ReleaseDefaultTemplate.11.1.xaml

    • TFS 2010: ReleaseDefaultTemplate.xaml

  4. Add the template to version control. It is a good idea to put the template in the BuildProcessTemplates folder of your team project.

  5. From the Builds Icon Builds page, (Keyboard Ctrl + 0, B), create or edit a build definition.

  6. From the Process tab, choose New to select the template to use for your Build process file. (You should be able to browse to select the template that you just added.)

A: Add sections to your custom build process template to provide the workflow logic. Download the snippets file with these sections here. Use the snippets to add these arguments to your build process template: ConfigurationsToRelease, ReleaseBuild, ReleaseTargetStage, DropBuild.

Save the build process template. If you use Team Foundation version control, check it in. If you use Git, commit and push the build process template.

A:: Yes, create components through the Release Management client and add them to your release template.

You can then add these components to your build.

Add component to release template

When the Components window is displayed, double-click the component that you want to add.

Each component that you add must be configured as Builds with application or Builds externally.

Components page, Source tab

A '\' in the Build Drop Location indicates that the build is located at the root of the drop folder.

A: For each component you define, you can select the tool to use from the Deployment tab. Go here to learn more about each tool.

Component page, Deployment tab

Replace the Arguments with information specific to deploying this component.

To use a custom tool, first add the tool through the Inventory page, and then select it from the Deployment tab.

Make sure that any files referenced by your command will be available in your package location at the time of deployment.

Here are some possible issues:

  • If you configure your build to trigger a release (Release Build=True) and you don’t select the Can Trigger a Release from a Build? check box for your release template. This actually causes the build to fail and consequently the release is not started either.

  • If you configure your release template to use a build definition that isn’t set to trigger a release (Release Build=False) or doesn’t contain the correct release logic.

  • If a release template contains any component that is configured to build independently.

  • If you don’t set the Acceptance Step and the Deployment Step to Automated for the stage that you selected to trigger from the release, the release will not start. You must set these steps to be automated for this release path.

  • If you haven’t installed the Release Management client on the machine that is running your Team Foundation Build server.

  • If the time it takes for a deployment to complete exceeds 10 minutes. You can change the value assigned to the TFS-Triggered Deployment Timeout from the Administration tab, Settings page.

A: Use tokenized configuration files.

For each configuration file in your solution that requires different values in different environments, create a tokenized version of that file.

For example, if your solution contains a file labeled web.config, make a copy of that file and label it web.config.token. Your web.config file does not change and is used when you run the app locally. The web.config.token file contains tokens instead of actual values.

As an example, if your web.config file contains this line:

<add key="SMTPHostServer" value="mysmtp.myserver.domain"/>

then your web.config.token file will contain this line, where SMTPHostServer is the token:

<add key="SMTPHostServer" value="SMTPHostServer"/>

Keep your local files and tokenized files synchronized.

A: For each component you define, you can specify the file extension filter on the Configuration Variables tab.

Component, Configuration Variables tab

The deployment agent you specified for the component uses pattern matching to scan the set of files that need tokens replaced with variables. Separate two or more file extensions using a semi-colon (;).

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