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Building the Release Definition
Wed, Apr 5th 2017 1
Creating A Dummy Service In Rancher
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Adding A Dockerfile to the project
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Getting Your Rancher API Keys
Fri, Mar 31st 2017 3
Defining Your VSTS Build
Thu, Mar 30th 2017 3
A VSTS Build Agent For Rancher
Wed, Mar 29th 2017 3
Extending Your Rancher Environments
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Deploying Your Applications
Mon, Feb 13th 2017 7
Adding A Dockerfile to the project
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Managing your source code and issue tracking
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Declan Lynch    

If you are part of a team of developers and you are not using source control then you really need to start, if you are a sole developer and you are not using source control then you also really need to start. Source control is your friend, it will record all your code changes, it will merge in changes from different team members and allow you to manage new features and hot fixes with ease.

Alongside source control you also need to look at a system to manage your issue tracking and it is always a good idea to try to pick a combination that can talk to each other so that you can easily link your source control commits to particular issues. Doing this gives you a more accurate history of the application and allows you to quickly see why a particular change was made.

In the past I have recommended Redmine and Mercurial. Redmine is a free and open source issue tracking system and Mercurial is easy to set up and integrate with it. Both are excellent solutions and could be used with any development stack going forward.

For our new stack, however, we decided to look at other options. I looked at Pivotal Tracker which could integrate easily with GitHub. I looked at Jira which could integrate with Bitbucket or Github but ultimately ended up looking at a Microsoft product…

Yes, you heard me correctly we ended up looking at a Microsoft product even though we had decided on using Java as our backend code. Even 5 years ago the very idea that Microsoft and Java would be in the same sentence together was pretty laughable but times change and they now have some excellent java tools and sample code and even Eclipse and IntelliJ IDEA developer toolkits.

We looked at Microsoft Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS) because another team within the company was also starting to use it to manage issue tracking and build management for our new Microsoft Dynamics AX deployment. It made sense to investigate it and after testing all the features and capabilities we discovered that it did everything we needed and the logical conclusion was that we should standardize on the tool instead of having different systems for the different teams.

VSTS is free for 5 users, it is cloud based so you don’t have to set up any servers to get up and running and there are plenty of integrations in the VSTS Marketplace. It has its own GIT repository system or you can integrate it to external source repositories and has full Agile and Scrum based issue tracking systems that are very easy to customize.

I highly recommend looking at VSTS if you are ever in the situation of looking for a new issue tracking and source control system and in later blog posts I’ll also be talking about how it is also a build and release management system.

Feb 10, 2017
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Recent Blog Posts
Building the Release Definition
Wed, Apr 5th 2017 12:30p   Declan Lynch
The Release definition in VSTS allows you to define the steps needed to be taken to deploy a build of your application to your deployment environments. On the Releases tab of your project you click on the ‘New Definition’ button and then select the ‘Empty’ profile. On the next screen it will automatically fill in your current VSTS project and the VSTS build definition so you can just go ahead and click Create. First things first is rename the autogenerated definition nam
Creating A Dummy Service In Rancher
Tue, Apr 4th 2017 12:30p   Declan Lynch
The last thing that we need to do before we can create the deployment scripts is to create a dummy service in Rancher that we can then replace with our deployed application. We need to do this because our deployment scripts need to reference a service id and will fail if the id doesn’t exist yet. In the Rancher interface create a new ‘Stack’ for your applications. Stacks are a way to organize different applications together. Give your stack a name and click on the create butto
Adding A Dockerfile to the project
Mon, Apr 3rd 2017 12:30p   Declan Lynch
Before we can deploy anything to Rancher it needs to be in a docker image so I’ll be asking my VSTS scripts to build a docker image that can then be uploaded to a Docker container/image repository before being deployed to the Rancher server. To create the Docker image I need a Dockerfile added to the project and I need to also tell my build script to copy it to a location that the release script can access. First I will create a new folder in my project under src/main called ‘docker&
Getting Your Rancher API Keys
Fri, Mar 31st 2017 12:30p   Declan Lynch
Before we can start the process of automatically deploying our application to Rancher we need to setup the API access keys that will allow you to use the Rancher Command Line Interface and API. Load up Rancher and log in as your administrator account and make sure that you are in the correct environment ( you will need to do this process in each environment that you will be deploying to ) and then go to the API menu. There are two kinds of API keys in Rancher. There are Account Keys and Environm
Defining Your VSTS Build
Thu, Mar 30th 2017 12:30p   Declan Lynch
The build definition in VSTS is designed to build and compile your code and then take the resulting build and save them to an artifact store. You can create build definitions for Visual Studio applications, XCode applications, Android applications and, of course, Java applications. In VSTS go to the Build & Release section of your project and then make sure you are on the Builds tab. Click on the New Definition button to get started. You should see a list of predefined build templates, th
A VSTS Build Agent For Rancher
Wed, Mar 29th 2017 12:30p   Declan Lynch
By default Visual Studio Team Services provides you with one hosted pipeline and one private pipeline when you are using the free services. You can add additional pipelines at a cost of $15 a month if you need them however a single pipeline should work ok for a small team. The private pipeline is something that you run on your own infrastructure and Microsoft provides pipeline agents that will run on Windows, OS X and Linux machines. These agents will listen to your VSTS account and accept jobs
Extending Your Rancher Environments
Tue, Mar 28th 2017 4:30p   Declan Lynch
In the last post we setup the Rancher server and added our first Rancher Host. One of the nice features of Rancher is that you can setup multiple environments so that you can keep your Development testing system separate from your QA system and separate from the Production system yet keep a single Rancher server orchestrating it all. Click on the ‘Environment’ tab and select the option to ‘Manage Environments’ The first thing I’m going to do is rename the Default e
Setting Up Your Rancher Infrastructure
Mon, Mar 27th 2017 9:30p   Declan Lynch
Before we can build and deploy our application we will need to first setup the infrastructure. I’ve decided that I’m going to be using Docker as the container service and Rancher as the orchestration layer. This blog post is just a quick overview of how to create a basic demo Docker/Rancher infrastructure. If you are considering using Docker/Rancher for production that I would highly encourage you to do plenty of additional research beyond this posting before setting anything up. Fo
AJAX and ThymeLeaf For Modal Dialogs
Fri, Mar 24th 2017 8:30p   Declan Lynch
The final part of the basic phonebook application is being able to click on a person and see details about them. For this part I’ve decided for now not to open a new page but to open the persons details in a modal dialog box on the current screen just so I can demo how to do ajax calls using Spring and Thymeleaf. First of all I need a PersonController which will populate the modelmap with the selected persons attributes and then return a thymeleaf page. This controller is very simple an
Highlighting The Selected Area With Thymeleaf
Thu, Mar 23rd 2017 4:30p   Declan Lynch
Now that I have pulled the side navigation menu out in to its own reusable code fragment I can now make a small adjustment to it to highlight the currently selected option in the navigator. In the Domino/XPage world this would be the script that you write to add a css class to a menu item using the selected property. For the bootstrap based side navigator that I am using in this application you can add a background color to the side navigator by adding a css class of ‘active’ to the

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