Using BTSTask to Create MSI Deployment Packages
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by Monish Nagisetty
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Build Scripts


The build and deployment scripts for a solution are maintained in the /Scripts/Build directory within the BizTalk solution. Refer to Figure 3 for a listing of these files. The Windows batch files (*.bat) are used to create an MSI and must be executed manually by a developer or administrator. These batch files contain a series of Windows commands that execute BTSTask and other commands to package all the BizTalk artifacts and create an MSI. On the other hand, the VBScript files are embedded within the MSI for later execution during the deployment process. In particular, BTSTask supports two types of embeddable scripts: Post-processing and Pre-Processing. These scripts are useful for setting up or tearing down non-BizTalk related infrastructure, such as Windows folders, permissions, and IIS virtual directories. In the following sections we will review each of the script files in further detail to better understand BTSTask.

Figure 3 - Build and Deployment Scripts


The RunMeToCreateMSI.bat file is a main script that simply calls BuildAndPackage.bat and captures all output to a log file (Line 17). Using a main script in this fashion allows you to easily redirect all output from the called script to a log file. Without the main script, the alternate method of logging output would require specifying the redirection (>) character for each command executed.

Figure 4 - RunMeToCreateMSI.bat


The BuildandPackage.bat file is the script that does all the work of creating an MSI. Figure 5 shows lines 9-21 where the script sets up the variables needed for the rest of the script. The command in Line 12 calls the Visual Studio batch file to initialize the Visual Studio command line environment variables. 

Figure 5 - BuildandPackage.bat: Initialize variables

Lines 23-37 are needed for building the Visual Studio solution. The command in Line 27 calls devenv.exe to build the Visual Studio solution. If this step fails for any reason, the script jumps to the end of the script and does not proceed any further.

Figure 6 - BuildandPackage.bat: Build Visual Studio Solution

Once the Visual Studio solution is built successfully, the script then proceeds to create an application in the BizTalk management database (Line 47 in Figure 7). During this step, it is important that the application is not already in the management database.  Be sure to delete the application before running the RunMeToCreateMSI.bat script.

Figure 7 - BuildandPackage.bat: Create BizTalk Application

Once an application is created, the necessary BizTalk artifacts can be added to the application.  Lines 64-68 in Figure 8 show how BizTalk and .NET assemblies can be added to the application.  The Type parameter is required to specify the type of artifact that is being added. For BizTalk assemblies, the Type parameter value should be BizTalkAssembly and for .NET assemblies the value should be Assembly.

Figure 8 - BuildandPackage.bat: Add BizTalk and .NET Assemblies

Figure 9 shows how to add a Post-processing script. This script is executed when installing the MSI.

Figure 9 - BuildandPackage.bat: Add Post-Processing Script

Figure 10 shows how to add command line utilities or miscellaneous tools to the application. In this particular scenario, the script adds gacutil.exe to the application. During un-installation, gacutil.exe is used by the post-processing script to remove the BizTalk and .NET assemblies from the GAC. In this particular scenario, gacutil.exe was added to the application because it was not in the .NET Framework directory on the production servers. Most production servers will not have gacutil.exe for security reasons. Refer to Deploying Shared Components to the Global Assembly Cache on MSDN for more information.

Figure 10 - BuildandPackage.bat: Add Utilities

Figure 11 shows how to add binding files to the application. The TargetEnvironment property is used to specify the environment for each binding file added to the application. During the MSI import process, the TargetEnvironment values specified in the script are available in a drop down list for selection (Figure 12).

Figure 11 - BuildandPackage.bat: Add Bindings

Figure 12 - MSI Import Process

The final step is to use the ExportApp command to create an MSI and then also remove it from the management database. If both commands are successful, an MSI with a timestamp in the filename should be generated in the directory path specified in the -package parameter (Figure 13).

Figure 13 - BuildandPackage.bat: Export MSI


The PostProcessingScript.vbs script is executed during the MSI installation and un-installation process. Figure 14 shows the VBScript commands required to create a directory structure for the BizTalk receive locations and send ports.

Figure 14 - PostProcessingScript.vbs: Installation

During un-installation, the PostProcessingScript.vbs script removes assemblies from the GAC and also deletes the directory structure created during the installation process. Figure 15 shows the commands that are used to call gacutil.exe to remove the assemblies from the GAC.

Figure 15 - PostProcessingScript.vbs: Un-installation

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