In a previous post, I was talking about how you can build SharePoint 2013 apps using TFS 2012. In this post, I will guide you through the process of creating App packages using a TFS 2012 build. There are some small things that you need to know.
Required Components on your on-prem TFS build server
To start, you need two extra components on your build server, to be able to create App packages on the one hand, and Web Deploy packages on the other hand (if you’re creating an “Auto Hosted” or a “Provider Hosted App”).
- The first component you need is Web Deploy V3, which you can download here.
- Next, you need to copy paste the following folder from your local machine to your Build Server. “C:\Program Files (x86)\MSBuild\Microsoft\VisualStudio\v11.0\Web”. Otherwise you will get this nice error:
Hosted TFS Build Server, you can use it, now!
In my previous post, I mentioned that the Hosted TFS Build Server could not yet be used because the “Office 2013 and SharePoint 2013 Developer Tools” were not installed. Well, good news, now they are! You can make use of the Hosted TFS Build Server. This is an overview of the installed component on the hosted Build Server.
Creating App Packages
Previous versions of SharePoint have the notion of SharePoint Solution Packages (wsp). It was also possible to use TFS (2010) for creating these packages. You can find a nice how-to on this link. It all comes down to that one parameter called “/p:IsPackaging=true”. You need to pass this parameter to MSBuild.
Now with the new App model of SharePoint 2013, this behavior is identically. You also need to pass this parameter to MSBuild. To do this, create a new TFS Build Definition (like described in my previous post). On the “Process” part, check the “Build process parameters” and find the “MSBuild Arguments” on section “3.Advanced”. Add the parameter “/p:IsPackaging=true”.
Save the build definition and queue a new build (right-click on the definition, and select “Queue New Build…”. After a while, you will see that you have a nice red build. Yes indeed, build failed!
The problem is in fact a (small) bug on the TFS part of the build process. To create an App package, the AppManifest.xml my not be marked as ‘read-only’. Because we’re using TFS, files are marked as ‘read-only’ once they are downloaded to the Workspace. The reason for that is because the TFS 2012 build server uses ‘Server’ workspaces. Meaning that every file gets this annoying ‘read-only’ file attribute. Local workspaces, on the other hand do not behave like that, but a Build Server always use the server workspace. (You can find a nice overview about the difference between Local and Server workspaces here). There are also reports that you can have the same behavior when you want to create an App package using Visual Studio. (Right-click on your project, and select ‘Deploy’). You will not have this issue when you’re using a local TFS workspace, as files will not be marked as “read-only” than.
Unfortunately, there is no easy solution to fix this error, except a small modification to the Build Process Template. (There is an awesome guide available by the ALM Rangers to get you started, get it here). What you could do is make a copy of the ‘DefaultTemplate.11.1.xaml‘ file, and add an extra workflow activity to this template who will remove to ‘read-only‘ attribute from the AppManifest file.
The Real Solution
Now I see you thinking: nah, I really don’t like editing WF 4.5 XAML files. Well, good news, someone already created a Build Process Template with this modification. There is a nice Codeplex project called “Office / SharePoint 2013 Continuous Integration with TFS 2012“. There you can download a customized Build Process Template that can be used. All you have to do is adding this XAML file to the (for example) “BuildProcessTemplates” folder in Source Control, and change your Build Definition that it will use the new Build Process Template. So it looks like:
That’s it. Just queue a build, and it should be green. (You also don’t really need to add the parameter “/p:IsPackaging=true” anymore, because this great Build Process Template will take care of this. But it’s also that smart that it will detect if you did pass the parameters, so no problem).
So for now, I talked about how you can actually build you SharePoint 2013 App project using TFS. In this post I described how you can produce an .APP package. In my next post, I will talk about how you can deploy your App. I will also make use of this Build Process Template from CodePlex, because it’s already all in there!
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