Thursday, March 13, 2008

BizTalk Deployment with MSBuild without Custom Task

In this post, I will be discussing more on BizTalk Deployment to production environment.

I just had a deployment yesterday, the scenario :
We have some bug fixes to some orchestrations which we need to apply to an existing BizTalk application in production.

I have been interested in automated BizTalk deployment since I read a post about Creating highly-repeatable builds and deployments from Brian Loesgen. However, Brian's post is about compilation and export of the application to MSI, and he's using a plain batch command file.
Later I found a post about Using MSBuild to Build and Deploy BizTalk 2006 Solutions from Stephen W. Thomas. The post is more relevant to my scenario, however I found that there are some custom tasks being used to perform the deployment.

I'm trying to make things simpler by using the existing tools because we have a quite strict policy for deployment and I hope with this, others can also use it without having to dig in into the custom tasks.

So based on both articles, I managed to come out with a set of MSBuild files for the deployment.

  1. Deploy.bat : Batch command file for the IT person to run the MSBuild with it parameters (project file & log file)
  2. Build.proj : Main project file which specifies all the steps (targets) to execute
  3. : Definition of variables & collections for the deployment
  4. Deploy.targets : List of steps (targets) for the deployment
Grab the files from here :

Scenario :
  1. Stop BizTalk Host Instance
  2. Register Helper library to GAC
  3. Stop & Unenlist Orchestration
  4. Import MSI
  5. Install MSI
  6. Import Binding File
  7. Start & Enlist Orchestration
  8. Start BizTalk Host Instance
  9. Copy MyWebServices update files
@ECHO Starting up MS Build
C:\WINDOWS\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v2.0.50727\MSBuild.exe Build.proj /l:FileLogger,Microsoft.Build.Engine;logfile=Build.log;append=false;verbosity=diagnostic;encoding=utf-8
<Project xmlns="" DefaultTargets="StopBizTalkServices;RegisterGAC;StopOrchestration;DeployMSI;InstallMSI;ImportBindingFile;StartOrchestration;StartBizTalkServices;DeployWS">
<Import Project="" />
<Import Project="Deploy.targets" />
Note: Specify the steps (targets) to execute at DefaultTargets attribute value
<Project xmlns="">
<!-- Path to the .Net utilities (gacutil.exe) folder -->
<DotNetPath>C:\Program Files\Microsoft.NET\SDK\v2.0\Bin\</DotNetPath>
<!-- Path to the BizTalk folder -->
<BizTalkPath>C:\Program Files\Microsoft BizTalk Server 2006\</BizTalkPath>
<!-- Path to the deployment root folder -->
<!-- Path to the Web Services Deployment path -->
<!-- Path to the build dll files -->
<GACPath>$(DeploymentPath)\Common Library\</GACPath>
<!-- Path to the msi files -->
<MSIPath>$(DeploymentPath)\MSI Files\</MSIPath>
<!-- Path to the binding files -->
<BindingPath>$(DeploymentPath)\Binding Files\</BindingPath>
<!-- Path to the WMI script files -->
<!-- Name of the BizTalk Application to deploy code into -->
<!-- Bts Log File -->
<!-- MsiExec Log File -->

<!-- List all .net items that need to be GACed -->
<GacStuff Include="MyLibrary1.dll" />
<GacStuff Include="MyLibrary2.dll" />
<!-- List all MSI Files -->
<MSIFile Include="MyBizApp.msi" />
<!-- List all affected BizTalk Services to restart -->
<BizTalkServices Include="BizTalk Service BizTalk LOCAL : BizTalkServerApplication" />
<!-- List all web services files to deploy -->
<WSFiles Include="$(DeploymentPath)\MyWebServices\**\*.*" />
Note: I grouped the deployment files into certain folders to make it easier to understand :
  1. Common Library folder -> Consists of helper dlls which needs to be GAC-ed seperately
  2. MSI Files folder -> BizTalk generated MSI Files to import and to install
  3. Binding Files folder -> Binding Files to import
  4. WMIScripts folder -> Consists of vbs files to stop (StopOrch.vbs) & start (EnlistOrch.vbs) the orchestrations, you can find the vbs files under the C:\Program Files\Microsoft BizTalk Server 2006\SDK\Samples\Admin\WMI
  5. MyWebServices folder -> Consists of updates for the existing MyWebServices
<Project  xmlns="">

<!-- Stop BizTalk Services -->
<Target Name="StopBizTalkServices" >
<Exec Command="NET STOP "%(BizTalkServices.Identity)"" ContinueOnError="true" />
<Message text="Stopped BizTalk Services : %(BizTalkServices.Identity)" />

<!-- Register GAC -->
<Target Name="RegisterGAC" >
<Exec Command=""$(DotNetPath)gacutil.exe" /i "$(GACPath)%(GacStuff.Identity)" /f" />
<Message text="Registered DLLs to GAC : %(GACStuff.Identity)" />

<!-- Stop Orchestration : The process sequence matters because of the dependency -->
<Target Name="StopOrchestration" >
<Exec Command="cscript.exe $(WMIScriptPath)StopOrch.vbs [Orchestration name 1] [Assembly Name 1] Unenlist" />
<Exec Command="cscript.exe $(WMIScriptPath)StopOrch.vbs [Orchestration name 2] [Assembly Name 2] Unenlist" />

<Message text="Stopped and Unenlisted Orchestrations" />

<!-- Deploy MSI -->
<Target Name="DeployMSI" >
<Exec Command=""$(BizTalkPath)BtsTask.exe" ImportApp /Package:"$(MSIPath)\%(MSIFile.Identity)" /ApplicationName:$(BTApplicationName) /Overwrite >> $(BtsLogFile)" />
<Message text="Deployed $(BTApplicationName)" />

<!-- Install MSI in quite mode -->
<Target Name="InstallMSI" DependsOnTargets="DeployMSI">
<Exec Command="MsiExec.exe /i "$(MSIPath)\%(MSIFile.Identity)" /quiet /l+ $(MsiLogFile)" />
<Message text="Installed %(MSIFile.Identity)" />

<!-- Import Binding File -->
<Target Name="ImportBindingFile" DependsOnTargets="DeployMSI">
<Exec Command=""$(BizTalkPath)BtsTask.exe" ImportBindings -Source:"$(BindingPath)$(BTApplicationName).BindingInfo.xml" -ApplicationName:$(BTApplicationName) >> $(BtsLogFile)" />
<Message text="Imported Binding for $(BTApplicationName)" />

<!-- Start Orchestration : The process sequence matters because of the dependency -->
<Target Name="StartOrchestration" DependsOnTargets="DeployMSI;ImportBindingFile">
<Exec Command="cscript.exe $(WMIScriptPath)EnlistOrch.vbs [Orchestration Name 2] [Assembly Name 2] Start" />
<Exec Command="cscript.exe $(WMIScriptPath)EnlistOrch.vbs [Orchestration Name 1] [Assembly Name 1] Start" />

<Message text="Enlisted and Started Orchestrations" />

<!-- Start BizTalk Services -->
<Target Name="StartBizTalkServices" DependsOnTargets="DeployMSI;ImportBindingFile;StopOrchestration">
<Exec Command="NET START "%(BizTalkServices.Identity)"" ContinueOnError="true" />
<Message text="Started BizTalk Services : %(BizTalkServices.Identity)" />

<!-- Update the Web Services -->
<Target Name="DeployWS">
<Copy SourceFiles="@(WSFiles)" DestinationFiles="@(WSFiles->'$(WSDestinationPath)%(RecursiveDir)%(Filename)%(Extension)')" />
<Message text="Deployed Web Services" />

Note: As you see above, I only use existing tasks such as exec and copy for the deployment and I use BtsTask.exe for BizTalk deployment. For the complete list of MS Build tasks, you can find it here.

After executing the deploy.bat, there will be 3 log files :
  1. Build.log -> MSBuild generated log file which contains all the deployment activities
  2. BtsTask.log -> BtsTask.exe generated log file for BizTalk deployment
  3. MsiExec.log -> MsiExec.exe generated log file for BizTalk Msi File installation
  • GACUtil.exe may not be available in the server if the SDK is not installed, I did it manually using the Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 Configuration yesterday.
  • cscript.exe will not have return success or fail to MSBuild so it will not stop when there is any error.
  • There is one tweak on the EnlistOrch.vbs, by default it will try to start and enlist the orchestration with the default host. Since I'm not using the default host for my application, i comment out the line 90 -> Inst.Enlist(HostName) and use only Inst.Enlist
  • I haven't tried yet, but the and files should be able to be merged into the Build.proj itself, however by splitting them into 2 files, they are easier to maintain and understand as well.
Why bother ourselves to use MSBuild than to use plain batch command for this like Brian's post?
  1. MSBuild provide built-in file log mechanism for the whole execution process
  2. Better and clearer dependency specification between tasks
  3. MSBuild comes with .Net Framework 2.0 which means that every BizTalk server should have MSBuild installed without any additional installation efforts.
My wish list :
  1. MSBuild provides new Built-in task for GACUtil
  2. BizTalk Server provides add-on BizTalk tasks for MSBuild
Please leave questions or comments if you have any ;)
Hope this helps :)


Lakshmi the Great said...

Hi Beng,
Lakshmi here.. am adding your blog in my blog. Please add mine in yours too..

My links are

Unknown said...


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