One of the most useful practices that I’ve been using during the last years is continuous integration and for that purpose, TeamCity is the tool of choice, which offers a free professional version with up to 20 users and 20 build configurations, enough for a small team.

Recently I tried (again, first time I found some trouble) to create an MsBuild script to make a web publication to a folder an then zip that folder in order to make a simple distributable with all the things needed to set up our web project that anyone in the organization could download and install, instead of having to create that zip myself or publishing through Visual Studio.

Finally, I got the script and seems to work using MsBuildCommunityTasks and some community knowledge.

The first part deals with publishing the site:

  <Target Name="PublishSite">
    <Message Text="Publishing in folder: $(OutputFolder)" />
    <RemoveDir Directories="$(OutputFolder);$(TempFolder)" ContinueOnError="true" />
      StopOnFirstFailure="true" />
    <RemoveDir Directories="$(TempFolder)" ContinueOnError="true" />

I define some variables and then I call the _WPPCopyWebApplication which is the important target (in .NET 2.0 was _CopyWebApplication). This should be the same as publishing a web site to a folder using the wizard.

Then, I get the files in the OutputFolder and make a zip with them:

  <Target Name="PackageSite" DependsOnTargets="PublishSite">
      <PublishFiles Include="$(OutputFolder)\**" />
    <Message Text="Packaging Site" />

I simplified this a little bit because I have as well a target that generates the build number from SVN and changes the AssemblyInfo.cs and uses this numbers to name the zip.

In TeamCity, you can create a new configuration with *.zip as artifacts, that points to your SCM (Subversion in my case) and the most important thing is that uses the MsBuild runner targeting PackageSite.

The only thing that was that if I put the <ItemGroup> section out of the <Target>, works on the command line but not inside TeamCity.

That’s all, I hope this helps.