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~/Setting up TeamCity and GitVersion for an open source project

25 Jun 2015

Note that I’m using TeamCity 9.0 (build 32060) and GitVersion 2.0.1. These steps may be different in future versions. GitVersion seems to be slated for a 3.0 release very soon.

Practice makes perfect

I’m setting up TeamCity using GitVersion for a new open source project that I want to deploy via NuGet. I’ve used TeamCity a few times to set up basic builds but I’ve never got SemVer working in a nice way before, so I thought this would be a nice opportunity to try GitVersion.

The Release configuration is triggered manually to deploy the last built version to NuGet. It would probably be nicer to do this from Octopus but for now I’ll just use TeamCity.

Preparing the build agent

I’ve started out with an Azure VM configured with TeamCity 9. I first installed GitVersion on my build agent using Chocolatey. Install Chocolatey using an elevated Powershell console:

iex ((new-object net.webclient).DownloadString(''))

Then install GitVersion:

cinst gitversion.portable

You may also have to install msysgit. TeamCity has its own Git client built into the server but GitVersion needs to be able to access the Git history on the agent, which means the VCS checkout has to happen on the agent (configured below). Reboot the machine once this is done to make sure everything is on the path.

TeamCity setup

Now start setting up the project in TeamCity.

  1. Under Administration, create a new project
  2. Create a build configuration called CI
  3. In the VCS roots, just paste the HTTPS clone URL from Github into the Repository URL. Change the Authentication method to Password and enter your Github username and password. Note: I’m using HTTPS because GitVersion uses LitGit2Sharp, which doesn’t support SSH at the time of writing :’-( (at least GitVersion doesn’t support it AFAIK)
  4. Click Create

Now create the first build step for GitVersion. I used Jake Ginnivan’s post on his typical TeamCity build setup as a guide.

  1. Click Add build step
  2. Select Command Line as the Runner type
  3. Change the Run value to Executable with parameters
  4. Command executable is GitVersion
  5. Command parameters is . /updateAssemblyInfo /assemblyVersionFormat MajorMinorPatch /output buildserver

Note that there is a space between the . and the /updateAssemblyInfo:

Note with the 3.0 release of GitVersion the command parameters may be able to be removed in favour of a GitVersionConfig.yaml configuration file. Stay tuned.

Now create another build step to build the solution.

  1. Under Build Steps click Auto-detect build steps, which scans the repository and finds things to build. In this case it identified a Visual Studio (sln) build step which just builds PROJECT_NAME.sln. Select the step then clicked Use selected.
  2. Under Version Control Settings, change the VCS checkout mode from Automatically on server to Automatically on agent. This will check out the repository on the agent, which means the .git folder will exist and GitVersion should work properly.
  3. Also check the Clean build option.

To run GitVersion before building the solution:

  1. Reorder build steps
  2. Drag GitVersion above Visual Studio (sln)
  3. Apply

Now select Triggers and Add a new trigger. Select VCS Trigger then Save.

I wonder what happens if I press this…

Running the configuration worked for me at this point, resulting in a build versioned 0.1.0+21 (there were 22 commits, so that’s 21 commits since version 0.0.0). If you get an error about not being able to find GitVersion or git.exe make sure the build agent has rebooted and that GitVersion and Git are on the path.

Next you can add a step to run tests. I’m using xUnit. This is just a Command Line runner with the following custom script:

packages\xunit.runner.console.2.0.0\tools\xunit.console.exe src\YOUR_PROJECT.Tests\bin\Release\YOUR_PROJECT.Tests.dll

Releasing to NuGet

First you need to add a nuspec file alongside the library being released (add it to the project in Visual Studio) and push it up so TeamCity can see it. For example, .\src\frankenwiki\Frankenwiki.nuspec:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?> 
		<authors>Rebecca Scott</authors>
		<description>Markdown based statically generated wiki engine</description> 
		<file src="bin\release\Frankenwiki.dll" target="lib\net451"/>

The easiest way to generate the NuGet package (.nupkg) seems to be Octopack. Install Octopack to the library being released and push the changes up to the repository. Now edit the CI configuration and in the Visual Studio (sln) step (the actual build step) show the advanced options and add this to the Command line parameters:


Now when a build happens, OctoPack will create the .nupkg file named something like Frankenwiki.0.1.0.nupkg. This package gets consumed in the next step. Trigger a build now to make sure everything works and the package is created as an artifact.

Create a new build configuration called Release or Promote or Fly, my pretties, ah hahahaha!:

  1. Attach it to the existing VCS root created above
  2. Don’t use any of the detected build steps, just configure build steps manually
  3. Pick NuGet Publish as the runner type
  4. In Packages, use a wildcard to specify the .nupkg file (so it is independent of the version). Eg. Frankenwiki.*.nupkg.
  5. Paste in your NuGet API key
  6. Save

The last few steps are directly based on Jake’s post. Go to Build Features to set up labelling:

  1. Add build feature
  2. Select VCS Labelling
  3. Select the existing VCS root
  4. The default labelling pattern is Take out the build- part so it is just
  5. Save

Now go to Dependencies to set up the build chain:

  1. Add a new snapshot dependency
  2. Pick the CI build configuration and any other configurations that run before the Release configuration
  3. Do not run new build if there is a suitable one and Only use successful builds from suitable ones should both be ticked, if they aren’t then tick them
  4. Save
  5. Add a new artifact dependency
  6. Change Get artifacts from to Build from the same chain
  7. In Artifacts rules use the same wildcard specification as above to select the .nupkg file
  8. Check Clean destination paths before downloading artifacts
  9. Save

Go to General Settings and show advanced options. Change the Build number format to the following:

where MyProject_Ci is the build configuration ID of the CI step. Once you type in %dep it will suggest the available configurations.

Now you should be able to trigger a Release, which should successfully publish the package to NuGet! If everything works.

Tell TeamCity to build feature branches and tags

TeamCity can build feature branches and tags. This lets GitVersion version feature branches to reduce surprises.

  1. In Project Settings select VCS Roots
  2. Select the single VCS root created above
  3. Make sure the advanced options are visible
  4. In Branch specification, enter +:refs/heads/* (Working with Feature Branches)
  5. Check Enable to use tags in the branch specification
  6. Save

Using GitVersion

Jake’s post about Simple Versioning and Release Notes has some great info about changing the version but a good one seems to be using a feature branching strategy.

Push a branch with the new version number in the name. For example:

git checkout -b version-0.3.0
git commit ...
git push

Note that just pushing the branch won’t trigger the branch build, there needs to be a non-empty commit.

Feature branches building in TeamCity

You can see that TeamCity has built a new release from the feature branch and GitVersion has versioned it at 0.3.0-beta.1+4. Subsequent commits to this feature branch will increment the build number (eg. 0.3.0-beta.1+5). When the feature branch is merged into master, the master version will become 0.3.0 and you can just manually run the Release configuration to deploy to NuGet.

Extra tricks and gotchas

Commits with number can have unexpected results

Don’t add a branch or a commit with a version number in it unless you expect it to bump the version number. I merged a branch called change-to-dotnet-4.5.1 which GitVersion helpfully interpreted as a version bump to 4.5.1. I had to fix this by rewriting the commit comments to say 4dot5dot1.

Check the versioning scheme

If GitVersion report a particular version but Octopack generates nuspec files with a different version, check in the AssemblyInfo.cs file for a different version in the AssemblyVersion and AssemblyFileVersion attributes. This can be due to the versioning scheme, which can be set using the /assemblyVersionFormat parameter as above (or in GitVersionConfig.yaml once it is supported by GitVersion).