Sitecore DevOp Series – Part 8 – Setup Slack Notifications with TeamCity and Bitbucket

This is last part of the Sitecore DevOp series. Previously, we have installed a local instance of the Sitecore site, configured VS project, configured TDS, configured Sitecore Glass added our project to source control , congured DB and QA servers and configured CI server. The blog series is aimed at newer audience and developers who are setting up CI for the first time.

There are 2 processes that you need to track during the build:

  • Code submissions (check-ins)
  • CI build events (start/stop/failures)

By default, we can use emails as notifications whenever CI server triggers a build or when source control detects a check-in, but in my opinion, this is not the most effective way. Depending upon your team size, there may be many check-ins every day, and many CI builds. If you start getting hundreds of emails everyday, you will simply create a rule/folder where all such emails will be directed and forgotten.

Also, not all of your team members will receive such notifications emails and you still have to send a ‘pre deployment’ email to notify team and ‘post deployment’  email to confirm that deployment has ended.

If you are a team lead or QA or PM, I am sure you would have asked or heard questions like these:

‘When are we deploying latest build on QA?’

‘Is our latest build finished on QA?’

‘What all did we deploy? 

… and so on.

There are better communication tools out there like Slack or HipChat. You can integrate either of them or another messaging tool of your choice. Personally, I like Slack and will be discussing how to integrate Slack with our TeamCity server and BitBucket project in this blog post.

Step 1: Create a Slack Channel

If you don’t have a Slack account, create a free one. Then create a free Slack channel for your project, invite all team members and also create 2 open public channels for incoming notifications:

  • #bitbucket
  • #teamcity

slack-12

Step 2: Configure TeamCity for Slack Notifications

Navigate to Apps and Integration section and click on the link

slack-1

 

Step 3: Generate a webhook for CI server

Within the slack admin interface, search for incoming hooks:

slack-2

Select ‘Incoming Webhook’ and then select the one of your channel:

slack-3

Once you click Add Incoming WebHooks integration, it will generate a unique Webhook URL, copy this URL for later.

slack-4

Step 4: Install a Slack plug-in for TeamCity

Download a TeamCity plug-in for slack notifications and install it as per the instructions on the documentation

slack-5

There is no admin interface for setting up the incoming hook for the plug-in as of now. So you have to RDP and update a config settings to the relevant web hook

<slackNotifier postSuccessful="true" postFailed="true" postStarted="true">
 <slackDefaultChannel>#teamcity</slackDefaultChannel>
 <slackPostUrl>https://hooks.slack.com/services/xxxxxxx/yyyyyy</slackPostUrl>
 <slackLogoUrl>http://build.tapadoo.com/img/icons/TeamCity32.png</slackLogoUrl>
 </slackNotifier>

Once it is installed correctly, for every build start, build finished and build failed you and every team member will get a notification in the channel.  How cool is that 🙂

slack-6

Step 6: Generate a webhook for BitBucket

Slack is also very friendly with BitBucket source control. Search for a BitBucket integration on Slack and generate a Webhook URL for your #bitbucket channel

slack-10

Step 7 : Configure Bitbucket

Within your bitbucket admin interface for the project, navigate to settings and add a new webhook for the channel. Copy/paste the URL that was generated.

slack-9

Once it is done, commit and push some changes, you will start getting notifications in Slack!

slack-11

So now every time someone in your team is going to do a check-in, you and all your team will get a notification. Install Slack for mobile and desktop and keep tracking those notifications.

With this blog post, we have come to the end of the Sitecore DevOp Series.

Thanks for the reading the blog post and the series, I hope it will benefit the Sitecore community. Any comments feedback will be appreciated.

Naveed.

Updated April 2017

My Talk at DC Sitecore User Group

Short video demo

Related Blogs

  1. Part 1 – Continuous Integration – Why your Sitecore project deployments must be automated ?
  2. Part 2 – Setup and Configure Visual Studio Sitecore Project
  3. Part 3 – Setup and Configure TDS
  4. Part 4 – Setup Sitecore Glass
  5. Part 5 – Setup Source Control (Git)
  6. Part 6 – Setup QA Server, DB server and CI server
  7. Part 7 – Setup Continuous Integration using Team City
  8. Part 8 – Setup Slack Notifications with TeamCity and Bitbucket

Sitecore DevOp Series – Part 7 – Setup Continuous Integration using Team City

This is part 7 of the blog series. Previously, we have installed a local instance of the Sitecore site, configured VS project, configured TDS, configured Sitecore Glass added our project to source control and congured DB and QA servers.

I am assuming that you have gone through the previous 6 parts and completed them as this blog post will depend upon them. I am also assuming that you have a brand new CI server with following applications installed:

  1. TeamCity latest stable version
  2. Visual Studio Community Edition
  3. Team Development Server for Sitecore (TDS)
  4. Chocolaty
  5. Git

This is a pretty lengthy blog and contains with lots of screen shots for every step of the TeamCity server configuration. If you get stuck at any point please look at the CI build logs, QA server logs and utilize Google to resolve your errors/issues.

The blog series is aimed at newer audience and developers who are setting up CI for the first time.

Step 1: Create TeamCity Project

Once TeamCity is installed, create your TeamCity project:

tc-1

Once the project is created, you will have the ability to configure it with your source control:

tc-2

Step 2: Configure with Source Control

Select ‘Create build configuration from URL‘ and give the source control URL of your project along with login details.

tc-3

If your connection details are correct, you will see the confirmation screen like below:

tc-4

Step 3:Configure Build Steps

Now its time to configure your build steps. The TeamCity will try to auto-detect your build steps:

tc-5

If everything on the server has been configured correctly, it will configure the VS build step:

tc-6

Step 4: Configure NuGet step and re-order

Create a new step by clicking on ‘Add build step’  and add a ‘NuGet Installer’  step type. Specify the path to the solution:

tc-7

The build steps will be executed in the sequence they are ordered, so you need to re-order them. Click on ‘Reorder build steps‘ and put NuGet installer step before the VS build step:

tc-8

If you are using any front-end frameworks, like Gulp or Grunt, you can also add a step for them using Node.Js as runner type.

Step 5: Configure Parameters

As we have added 2 steps, at this point we should test our CI server with only these 2 steps and try to fix any errors before proceeding further. Before we run the build, we need add some configuration parameters and tell TeamCity to use our QA publish profile so it can correctly transform the config files. The configuration parameters can be added in-line within the build steps but a better way is to add them as system parameters. Navigate to the ‘parameter‘ section to add parameters:

tc-9

By clicking ‘add new parameters‘ a dialog box will show up, you can then add ‘System‘ parameters for your build as shown:

tc-10

Repeat the process of adding new parameters and add all of the following parameters for your initial build. Update the system.username and system.password values relevant to your CI server. The system.PublishProfile should also be updated as per your VS project’s publish profile name:

tc-11

Step 6: Run a Test Build

Click on the ‘Run’ button and test your build for the 2 steps that you have added:

tc-12

I only had 2 steps, but I still got some errors on the first build which I resolved by looking at the ‘Build log‘ (like I missed a file to push to bitbucket and then my password was incorrect). After few attempts, I saw the green tick which was very re-assuring. So if your build fails for the first time, it’s OK, work through the build log and remove errors:

tc-13

Step 7: Configure Sitecore.Ship

As of now, we were only deploying code files from VS with our 2 steps. But we also want to deploy our Sitecore Items generated through TDS update packages. By default, you can use TDS to deploy .update packages, however, there are other alternatives too. I am going to use an open-source module Sitecore.Ship which deploys update packages over http requests. The module should be configured as NuGet package with you main web project:

tc-14

Once you install this, you will notice that there are some changes in your web.config files as well, check-in all of your changes and push them to the server.

Step 8: Configure TDS.Master

The next step is to configure TDS.Master to generate an update package. Navigate to MyProject.TDS.Master project’s properties, make sure the build mode is ‘Release‘ and update the settings as shown below:

tc-15

Once you will build this, it will generate an .update package at a location bin/package_release

Step 9: Add a build step for TDS Master

An update package has been generated, now we want to deploy and publish this package along with our code to the QA server. We will be using curl to post HTTP request for update packages. Chocolatey is a package manager which can give us access to curl through its command line.

The deploy and publish step depends upon some configuration parameters. Navigate to parameters section and add the following configuration parameters:

tc-22

Navigate to the build step section add a ‘command line‘ build step for TDS Master pacakges and enter the value for custom script as shown below: (update the project path relevant to your project)

tc-17

Custom Script:

%curl.path% -i --insecure --show-error --fail --silent --form "path=@MyProject.TDS.Master\bin\Package_Release\MyProject.TDS.Master.update" %deploy.url%

 

Step 10: Run a test build for TDS.Master

There were few tools and configuration were settings introduced in the previous steps and to make sure everything works as expected perform a test build. If it fails, look through the logs and try to resolve issues. Some places where you also want to look are Sitecore Logs (in the data folder) on the QA server and website/temp folder on the QA server.

When I ran the first build, I got 500 error in the TeamCity build log for the TDS.Master deploy step. The error messages within the build log for Sitecore.Ship are not exact messages and may be misleading, you need to check the logs on the QA server for correct messages.

When I checked if Sitecore.Ship is installed and accessible fromm the CI server, I was getting 401 error:

tc-ship-1

and when I checked this from the QA server, I was getting everything is OK

tc-ship-2

When I checked the Sitecore logs on QA server, I got the following message

tc-ship-4

Which meant that I have to update the ‘allowRemote’ settings to ‘true’ in the web.config to allow remote package installation. The feature is disabled by default for security reasons. I also added IP address of the TeamCity server to the whitelist section and made my remote deployments IP protected:

tc-ship-3

Once checked-in and pushed to the server, I got some more errors related to missing folders and permissions.  I was able to resolve them by checking the logs and giving NETWORK SERVICE permissions to the folders.

Eventually, the deploy step succeeded and I was able to see Sitecore.Ship posting my entries from the CI server to the QA server:

tc-ship-5

This is great news, it means that when I check-in TDS items and related code, I do not need a package to update the QA server ‘manually’. I can just run the build and it will pick up the latest changes and deploy them.

Step 11: Configure a TDS publish step

The previous step has only deployed our update package. We also want to publish our package post deployment. We can configure a publish step through curl and Sitecore.Ship

Navigate to the ‘Build Steps‘ section and add another ‘Command Line‘ step for publishing. Add the custom script as shown below:

tc-18

Custom Script:

%curl.path% -i --insecure --show-error --fail --silent --data '' %publish.url%

Run a test build to confirm it is working as expected.

Step 12: Configure TDS.Core and its build Step

One more step is to configure TDS.Core project with TeamCity server. We want our TDS project to generate an .update package for the TDS.Core project.

Navigate to MyProject.TDS.Core project’s properties and update settings as shown below:

tc-19

Then add a ‘command line‘ step in Team City similar to the TDS.Master deploy step with following script (which only changes the path variable)

%curl.path% -i --insecure --show-error --fail --silent --form "path=@MyProject.TDS.Core\bin\Package_Release\MyProject.TDS.Core.update" %deploy.url%

Re-order the steps so you have core packages deploying before the master packages. Your build steps should look like below:
tc-20

Depending upon your project and business requirements, you may want to add more steps like ‘Unit Testing’ or ‘Integration Test’ or other steps.

Step 13: Configure Triggers (Optional)

One optional thing to do is to configure trigger for the QA server, so that every time someone pushes the code to the source control, an automated build is started:

tc-21

This is optional and you shouldn’t be configuring this step for the production environments

More Environments

The blog post only showed how to add build steps for the QA environment, but you may have a UAT environment, a staging environment and a production environment. You can repeat the build configuration process and add more automated deployments for each of your environment.

The steps mentioned here are only an example and meant to provide the basics of setting up CI integrations. Once you get comfortable, you can enhance number of steps and/or use different deployment strategies.

Final Thoughts

As you have seen, it took few blog posts to get the Continuous integration working, but once it is established, it will save you tons of time during the application development and even post-launch. If your organizations sets up projects frequently, the time to setup QA, DB and CI servers and local environments can be further reduced by using standard PowerShell scripts.

One final optional blog post about Slack notifications is coming up next few days and then it will be a wrap.

Thanks.

Related Blogs

  1. Part 1 – Continuous Integration – Why your Sitecore project deployments must be automated ?
  2. Part 2 – Setup and Configure Visual Studio Sitecore Project
  3. Part 3 – Setup and Configure TDS
  4. Part 4 – Setup Sitecore Glass
  5. Part 5 – Setup Source Control (Git)
  6. Part 6 – Setup QA Server, DB server and CI server
  7. Part 7 – Setup Continuous Integration using Team City
  8. Part 8 – Setup Slack Notifications with TeamCity and Bitbucket

Sitecore DevOp Series – Part 6 – Setup QA Server, DB server and CI server

Happy New Year 2017!!!

This is part 6 of the Sitecore DevOp series. Previously, we have installed a local instance of the Sitecore site, configured VS project, configured TDS, configured Sitecore Glass and added our project to source control. In this post we will install blank Sitecore site on QA server and setup QA website’s Web Deploy publish profile with our VS project. The blog series is aimed at newer audience and developers who are setting up CI for the first time.

Assumptions

I am assuming that you have RDP access to at least 3 Windows based server within your local network/organization. From the diagram below, the QA server will host CM and CD part of the website (qa.myproject.local). The DB server will host SQL server and MongoDB databases. The CI server will host the TeamCity server (teamcity.myproject.local). The blog series is based upon Sitecore version 8.2

my-project-qa-setup

This is only a QA setup diagram, for staging and production environments, it is strongly recommended to add separate CD and CM servers.

Step 1 : Configure DB Server

The first step will be to configure the DB Server.

  1. Download and install SQL express
  2. Download and install MongoDB

For compatibility purposes of SQL and MongoDB versions with your version of Sitecore, please check the KB page https://kb.sitecore.net/articles/087164

Setup MongDB to run as Window Service and open the relevant ports from the windows firewall utility on the DB server for incoming and outgoing connections.

Alternatively, if you are new to MongoDB and not sure how to configure and install MongoDB, you can also use mlab free Sandbox environment which gives 500 MB of free storage. You can setup your MongoDB servers following this post and just update the connection strings for the QA server config file.

Step 2 : Install Sitecore Databases

RDP to the DB server and install Sitecore using the official installer. During the wizard steps, select the ‘New Instance‘ option and then select ‘Database Only‘ option:

db-1

Follow the installation wizard as per the installation guide and complete it.At the end, you should have the following 5 SQL databases:

Core, Master, Web, Analytics and Session

db-2

Step 3 : Configure QA Server

RDP to the QA server and using the official installer, select ‘New Instance’ and ‘Client Only’ option:

qa-client-1

Follow the installation wizard and complete all steps. Update your local DNS server or your own hostfile so that http://qa.myproject.local point towards the QA server. Login via the CMS interface using default admin credentials and complete the post-deploy steps from the installation guide.

Step 4: Configure Web Deploy on QA Server

Web Deploy is an IIS extension/utility that provides ability to deploy new updates on the website using IIS only. If your server does not have this utility for IIS, install it via standard installer.

Once installed complete the following steps:

  • Open IIS, navigate to the website which corresponds to http://qa.myproject.local
  • Right-Click on the website and generate WebDeploy Publish Profile

 

qa-client-2

 

  • Select a local computer user like (machinename\WDeployAdmin) and give this user admin rights by making it of the local admin groups.
  • Save the publish profile as a file on the desktop and copy it to your local machine.

As a reference, follow the installation guide.

Publish Profile for QA server

Open the VS project and import the profile for the QA site. You can open the publish profile using notepad and re-name the profile name. Make sure you can validate the connection for the publish profile. If you are getting errors, please resolve them using this post before proceeding further:

qa-client-3

XML transform files for QA profile

Add XML transform files for the new ‘qa‘ publish profile. As a minimum, add transforms for ConnectionStrings.config and Sitecore.config. You will be required to update values for connection strings and dataFolder:

qa-client-6

Try to publish to the QA server via VS project, if everything has been done correctly, you should see the successful message. Navigate to http://qa.myproject.local and ensure everything is correct. If there are errors, resolve them before proceeding further.

qa-client-7

This ensures that Web Deploy is configured correctly and there are no permissions or network issues. This is only the initial part, what we really want to build and deploy from our CI server and not from a local machine of a developer.

Step 5: Setup CI server (TeamCity and Plug-ins)

Assuming it is a brand new Windows server with nothing installed, you need to download and install the following the TeamCity server

  1. TeamCity latest stable version
  2. Visual Studio Community Edition
  3. Team Development Server for Sitecore (TDS)
  4. Chocolaty
  5. Git

All of the above tools have a standard Windows base installer and they follow ‘Click Next’ type wizard to complete. Once all these utilities are installed, we will begin setting up the CI server in next blog post.

Stay tuned.

Thanks

Related Blogs

  1. Part 1 – Continuous Integration – Why your Sitecore project deployments must be automated ?
  2. Part 2 – Setup and Configure Visual Studio Sitecore Project
  3. Part 3 – Setup and Configure TDS
  4. Part 4 – Setup Sitecore Glass
  5. Part 5 – Setup Source Control (Git)
  6. Part 6 – Setup QA Server, DB server and CI server
  7. Part 7 – Setup Continuous Integration using Team City
  8. Part 8 – Setup Slack Notifications with TeamCity and Bitbucket

Sitecore DevOp Series – Part 1 – Continuous Integration – Why your Sitecore project deployments must be automated ?

Over past few years with Sitecore, I have worked with various technical teams to deliver Sitecore powered websites. Sometimes we all are located in the same office, but most of the times, we are located in different offices and in different countries.

Part of my job role is to make sure that all of the development work is ready for testing (QA) at agreed time intervals (end of development sprint).

Quality Assurance (QA) is an important part of delivering any project and when a QA team member discovers a defect in the system, my usual conversation with the QA team member goes something like this:

QA : “Naveed, this feature is not working on the QA site?

Me: “Hey John (the fellow developer who did the original code), can you check why is it not working on the QA website?

John: “I am not sure, all my code is checked-in and it works on my machine as expected!

If you have worked on a Sitecore project, you must have had a similar conversation. The reason we have this conversation is because the deployment was done “manually”, which is an unreliable and error-prone process. A file or a package can very easily be missed during the deployment or a wrong version of a file can be deployed.

Moreover, the “manual deployment” process is very time consuming and it will increase the development cost. A typical Sitecore project may have numerous environments like QA, UAT and Production and each environment may have multiple CM and CD servers. As each server may be configured differently and may have different set of config files or config settings, the “manual” deployment process becomes even more complex. So you can see the “manual deployment” process, which started with one QA server, can quickly become very time consuming (read costly).

In an ideal world, what we would like for a Sitecore powered project, is that if someone has written a piece of code and/or updated Sitecore items, it should work on their local machine, it should work on the QA server (or any other non-production servers) and it should work on the production servers. The effort required should be minimal and nothing should be missed during deployment process. And for audit purposes every deployment should be documented.

Automated Deployments (Continuous Integration)

The best possible way to achieve this to make sure that the deployment process is fully automated from start to finish. All pieces of code and related Sitecore items should be packaged, deployed and published with “one single click” of a button.

To achieve our goal of ‘one-click-deployment’, there are tools and techniques available today (well actually since few years) which we can configure for continuous integrations and automated deployment. This will solve our 2 main issues:

  • Our deployments will be reliable and consistent.
  • We will be saving time and money.

If you are still doing “manual deployments” within your organization, it is time to re-think and re-evaluate this process.

The purpose of the blog series is to target newer audience/developers/tech teams, who have never done CI before and take them through a ‘hello world’ type of continuous integration process (automated builds).

Server Architecture

For the automated deployments to work, the code udpate workflow should be as following:

1- Developers should work locally and check-in their code in the source control (use of feature branches, fix branches and pull-requests is highly recommended)

2-Continuous Integration server  builds and deploys the code to the QA server

The diagram below shows a typical server architecture for the local and QA environment:

my-project-qa-setup

 

The important thing to notice here is that Sitecore items (templates, layouts, renderings, sub layouts) can be sourced control using tools such as TDS or Unicorn tools. I will be referring to TDS within the blog series.

As a minimum, automated deployment process for the above mentioned QA environment will require three servers :

1 – QA Server – Sitecore CM/CD combined on same instance

2- DB Server – Sitecore SQL server databases and MongoDB

3 – CI Server  – TeamCity server for continuous build and deployment

In theory, you can use only server, but it will have performance issues for the QA website.

Tools Stack

The tools stack that I will use to demonstrate the process in the series is as below :

  1. Sitecore CMS 8.2
  2. Visual Studios 2015
  3. SQL Express 2014
  4. Hedgehog Team Development (TDS) (licenses required)
  5. Sitecore Glass
  6. SlowCheetah
  7. Git
  8. TeamCity
  9. Chocolatey
  10. Sitecore Ship

There are other tools that can be used for the dev ops, for example, Jenkins can be used in place for TeamCity. Octopus Deploy can be used solely for deployment purposes, leaving CI server to do one job, that is to build the latest code. The decisions to choose the correct stack tools should be dependent upon your business requirements.

For simplicity purposes and for the newer audience, I will be using TeamCity for both build and deployment processes. Once you get confident with simpler process, you can enhance it/supplement it with different tools as you see fit for your project.

Assumptions for the blog series

I will assume that you starting a new project and have a blank machine/servers with only Windows on it or it is your first day at your new job. You can skip any of the below steps if you feel necessary:

  1. Download and install latest version of Visual Studios on your local machine or VM. At the time of writing this post, I have used VS 2015.
  2. Download and install latest version of SQL Express on you local machine or VM. At the time of writing this post, I have used SQL Express 2014
  3. Download and install TDS for VS2015 (requires commercial license, you can use 30 days evaluation for free)

I will also assume that you have RDP and FTP access to the QA, DB and CI servers as described in the architecture diagram to setup continuous integration.

As mentioned before, the blog series is intended for the  ‘new audience’, developers or teams who have never done CI integrations. The series will be pretty detailed and a single blog post will not do any justice, therefore it is divided into smaller logical parts of the setup process all of which will be posted in coming weeks.

The next part of the series are:

Sitecore DevOp Series – Part 2 – Setup and Configure Visual Studio Project

Sitecore DevOp Series – Part 3 – Setup and Configure TDS

Sitecore DevOp Series – Part 4 – Setup Sitecore Glass

Sitecore DevOp Series – Part 5 – Setup Source Control (Git)

Sitecore DevOp Series – Part 6 – Setup QA Server, DB server and CI server

Sitecore DevOp Series – Part 7 – Setup Continuous Integration using Team City

Sitecore DevOp Series – Part 8 – Setup Slack Notifications with TeamCity and Bitbucket

 

Local Sitecore Installation

Assuming it is a new project, the first part will be to install a blank Sitecore on your local machine. There are various options for installing Sitecore on your local machine

  1. You can install using the official .exe installer
  2. You can install using the official .zip file and attaching databases
  3. You can install using SIM module.
  4. You can install using Sitecore Rocks VS extension.

Every developer will have their preferred way for installing a brand new Sitecore website, I mostly prefer official .exe installer and will be referring to this in future posts as well.

Please refer to the official documents for installing the basic Sitecore website and do not forget to do the post-deployment steps.

 

my-project-local

 

For the purpose of the blog series, the project will be called ‘myproject‘. Once you have installed Sitecore locally and you can navigate the link http://myproject.local on your machine you are ready for the next step. By default, the installation location will be C:\inetpub\wwwroot\myproject\

In the next part of the series we will setup a VS project locally, configure a publish profile and add XML config transforms.

Stay tuned.

Thanks.

 Related Blogs

  1. Part 1 – Continuous Integration – Why your Sitecore project deployments must be automated ?
  2. Part 2 – Setup and Configure Visual Studio Sitecore Project
  3. Part 3 – Setup and Configure TDS
  4. Part 4 – Setup Sitecore Glass
  5. Part 5 – Setup Source Control (Git)
  6. Part 6 – Setup QA Server, DB server and CI server
  7. Part 7 – Setup Continuous Integration using Team City
  8. Part 8 – Setup Slack Notifications with TeamCity and Bitbucket