How To: Set Up a Scheduled Build in Visual Studio Team Foundation Server

- J.D. Meier, Jason Taylor, Alex Mackman, Prashant Bansode, Kevin Jones

Applies To

  • Microsoft® Visual Studio® 2005 Team Foundation Server (TFS)
  • Microsoft Visual Studio Team System (VSTS)

Summary

Although Visual Studio 2005 Team Foundation Server does not provide scheduled builds out of the box, you can use the TFSBuild command to implement your own scheduled builds. This How To article walks you through the process of setting up a scheduled build by using the TFSBuild command and the Microsoft Windows® Task Scheduler.

Contents

  • Objectives
  • Overview
  • Summary of Steps
  • Before You Begin
  • Step 1 – Create and Test Your Build
  • Step 2 – Create the TFSBuild Command Line
  • Step 3 – Test the TFSBuild Command Line
  • Step 4 – Create a Batch File
  • Step 5 – Test the Batch File
  • Step 6 – Add a Scheduled Task
  • Step 7 – Test the Scheduled Task
  • Additional Resources

Objectives

  • Learn what a scheduled build is.
  • Create a scheduled build by using the TFSBuild command utility and the Windows Task Scheduler.

Overview

It is highly important that a project development team to generate regular builds in order to get timely feedback from a test team as well as other stake holders. This can be achieved through the use of scheduled builds. You can choose to schedule your build on a nightly, weekly, biweekly, or on any other regular schedule depending upon your project scope and requirements.

Although the Team Build feature in TFS does not have support scheduled builds out of box, it does provide a TFSBuild command line utility that enables you to initiate team builds from the command line. You can use any scheduler, such as the Windows Task Scheduler, to run the TFSBuild command utility in order to start builds at regular intervals.

Summary of Steps

  • Step 1 – Create and Test Your Build
  • Step 2 – Create the TFSBuild Command Line
  • Step 3 – Test the TFSBuild Command Line
  • Step 4 – Create a Batch File
  • Step 5 – Test the Batch File
  • Step 6 – Add a Scheduled Task
  • Step 7 – Test the Scheduled Task

Before You Begin

Make sure the account that runs your build service is assigned Start a build = Allow permission in TFS.

Step 1 – Create and Test Your build

In this step, you create a test build and make sure the team-build works from within Visual Studio Integrated Development Environment (IDE). If the build does not work, you should fix it before moving on to the next step.
  1. Create a Microsoft Windows® Form project that you can use for testing the build.
  2. Build the project and make sure that it is working correctly.
  3. Check your project into source control
  4. Create a team build as follows:
    1. In Team Explorer, right-click Team Builds, and then click New Team Build Type.
    2. Complete the self-explanatory Team Build Type Creation Wizard.
  5. Perform the following steps to verify that the team build is working:
    1. In Team Explorer, double-click the Team Build Project you just created
    2. On the Build menu of the Visual Studio instance, click Build Team Project <<Your Team Build Name>>.
    3. Confirm that the correct build type is selected and the click Build
  6. Review the build output and make sure that there are no errors in the build process

Important: Make sure that your build services account (TFSService) has Full Control permission to the shared folder for the drops, as specified in the Team Build Type Wizard.

Step 2 – Create the TFSBuild Command Line

In this step, you create a command for the TFSBuild utility for the purpose of starting a build.
  1. As the TFSBuild command utility needs a number of parameters in order to start a build, you first need to determine the parameters to be used, as follows.
    1. Team Foundation Server – The TFS URL where the solutions being built are checked in.
    2. Team Project – The name of the team project which you want to build.
    3. Build Type – The build type that you created using the Build Type Wizard in Step 1.
    4. Build Machine – The name of the build server that you want to use for building your project. This is an optional parameter; by default, it uses the build server specified in the team build type.
    5. Build Directory – The path to the directory where the build occurs. This is an optional parameter; by default, it uses the path specified in the team build type.
  2. Create the build command as follows:

TfsBuild start <<TeamFoundationServer>> <<TeamProject>> <<BuildTypeName>>

If you plan to override the build machine name and build directory path specified while creating the build type, the command would then be as follows:

TfsBuild start <<TeamFoundationServer>> <<TeamProject>> <<BuildTypeName>> /m:<<MachineName>> /d:<<BuildDirectory>>

Step 3 – Test the TFSBuild Command Line

In this step, you test that the TFSBuild command is working correctly.
  1. Open the Visual Studio command prompt
  2. Type the TfsBuild command that you created in Step 2.
  3. Review the output to make sure that no errors occurred and that the build was created successfully.

Step 4 – Create a Batch File

In this step, you create a batch file that will be used for scheduling the builds.
  • Open Microsoft Notepad and type following command; please note that the full path to the TFSBuild.exe file is specified so that it can run from Windows command prompt. The following is an example of the command:

"C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio 8\Common7\IDE\TFSBuild" start <<TeamFoundationServer>> <<TeamProject>> <<BuildTypeName>>

If you override the build machine and build directory path, the command in the batch file would be as follows:

"C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio 8\Common7\IDE\TFSBuild" start <<TeamFoundationServer>> <<TeamProject>> <<BuildTypeName>> /m:<<BuildMachineName>> /d:<<BuildDirectoryPath>>
  • Save the file as a batch file; for example, batchbuild.bat
  • Place the file in a build scripts folder in TFS server source control, for example Main\Scripts.

Step 5 – Test the batch file

In this step, you verify that the batch file you created works correctly.
  1. Open a Windows command prompt. - Note: Do not open a Visual Studio command prompt; by default the Windows scheduler will run the batch file in a Windows command prompt.
  2. Start the batch file on the command line.
  3. Ensure that the build works correctly without any errors.

Step 6 – Add a Scheduled Task

In this step, you add a schedule task for running the build command at regular intervals as required by your project.
  1. Click Start and then click Control Panel.
  2. Select the Scheduled Tasks option and then click Add Scheduled Tasks.
  3. In the Scheduled Task Wizard click Next.
  4. Click Browse and select the batch file you created in Step 4, then click Next.
  5. On this page, type the name of the task and select the frequency at which you want to run the tasks – for example, Daily and then click Next
  6. Configure the Start time and Start date and then click Next.
  7. Enter user name and password of an account with Start a build permissions and click Next
  8. Then click Finish.

Step 7 – Test the Scheduled Task

In this step, you verify that the scheduled task is running at the right time and that the build work properly.
  1. Wait for the time at which the scheduled task should execute. -or- Click Start and then click Control Panel, then select Scheduled Tasks option, from the list right click on your scheduled task and select Run.
  2. A command prompt should appear and your build should start.
  3. If you do not have access to the build machine at the time the task should execute, you can check back later and see if a build has completed:
  4. In Team Explorer double-click All Build Types.
  5. View the list of builds to see if a build is completed at the time you scheduled.

Additional Resources

Last edited Aug 6, 2007 at 4:34 PM by mycodeplexuser, version 2

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