Monday, August 27, 2012

Why I created my own PowerShell scripts for BizTalk deployment

Most of us working with BizTalk has at one point or another started scripting our deployments instead of doing them manually. I have during the years seen many variants of automating the deployment process. At one place the "old" way of using bat-files calling BTSTASK where used extensively. At another, a custom .Net program with a GUI was developed that would call the different API:s available. I myself resorted to using PowerShell to create a fully automatic deployment routine.

My scripts has two parts. One with different functions that I wrote and one part that encapsulates the functions and executes them in the correct order. As input I create an XML file that specifies which .msi packages that are to be deployed, which applications to remove/update/add, settings for the IIS virtual directories and so on. Since it is quite common during complicated deployments that something will err, I added functions to test run the scripts in advance. The test run simply checks for dependencies in the BizTalk configuration, making sure that applications can be modified as configured. It also checks that all files needed are provided in the setup package.

When creating the scripts, I briefly looked at using the BizTalk Deployment Framework and other extensions to PowerShell, but opted on developing it all in my own scripts. This due to several reasons, each quite strong in my case:
  • I would learn more about PowerShell as well as the API:s and tools found in BizTalk
  • I would know exactly where things could go wrong and what to do about it.
  • It allowed me a greater flexibility since nothing was hidden in dll files or needed installation. As long as PowerShell was installed on the servers, the scripts would work. Nothing else is needed. This is also something that administrators liked. Some of them are a bit weary about installing "some stuff I found on the net". 
This post is the theoretical background to posts that are to follow that will showcase and explain my scripts in individual blocks. I have already started in advance with the post Recycle IIS application pools using PowerShell, and more snippets are to come.


  1. Are you able to add some links to the blogs about your actual deployment scripts please?

    1. I have not been able to post as much scripts as I've wanted to due to time constraint. There are a few bits up so far, but I'll try to get some more examples up asap!

    2. Hi Marcus,

      Can we start up a conversation via email? I have added my email address on my linked-in profile page. I was hoping you can help to de-mystify the whole Biztalk Deployment.