In my previous post the concept of Continuous Integration has been introduced. In this post I’d like to zoom in on the Microsoft Dynamics NAV specific enhancements of Build Automation.
I recommend this video if you want to get an overview of Team Foundation Server Builds.
Team Foundation Server provides scalable solution for Build Automation. It is quite easy to scale up if you need more build power. In our case parallel processing was an important requirement. Luckily this is provided out of the box. So what server park do you need to facilitate NAV builds? I don’t have much reference material at the moment so I’ll take our scenario as an example: for Microsoft Dynamics NAV solutions with object collections varying from 1000 to 2000.
We have the following configuration for our Microsoft Dynamics NAV builds:
1 Team Foundation Application Server; this server hosts our Microsoft Dynamics NAV Team Project Collection.
1 Build Controller; each Project Collection has one Build Controller.
2 Build Machines; one Build Machine for all versions older than Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2103 and one for Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 (and higher…:))
6 Build Agents; a build agent runs the build workflow. We have four of these guys but we can easily increase the number of Agents. We can run two builds in parallel on each Build Service.
So how do you actually use the system in your development process? The first thing is that you have to create a New Build Definition from the Team Explorer.
This opens the Build Definition window in which you can specify the properties of the build. The Microsoft Dynamics NAV enhancement can be activated by selecting the appropriate Build Process Template.
Selecting the Microsoft Dynamics NAV Build Process Template enables the Microsoft Dynamics NAV parameters. After specifying these parameters you are ready to rock.
Conclusion: Build Automation for Microsoft Dynamics NAV is reality and can be enabled without tampering with you Team Foundation Server installation. Just follow the standard installation instructions and you are almost there. If you install the Microsoft Dynamics NAV build template (which can be obtained for a fair price at To-Increase) you are good to go.
Imagine how much power this will add to your development team and how much easier it will be to create shipable units of your Microsoft Dynamics NAV solutions or customizations. Build Automation will definitely change the way you ship your Microsoft Dynamics NAV solutions and will increase your productivity drastically. No, I am not a sales guy and Microsoft does not pay me for telling enthusiastic stories about Team Foundation Server…. 🙂