Cleaning drop folder of Microsoft assemblies when building SharePoint Projects – TFS Build 2010 tip #2

The 'Remove non-project files' activity highlighted in the build workflow
When building SharePoint Projects using TFS Build 2010 many of standard available Microsoft assemblies are copied to the drop folder. This not only clutters your drop folder but also takes a lot of space on your disk. Find out how to remove all assemblies other than yours when building SharePoint Projects using TFS Build 2010.

Cluttered drop folder – the inconvenience

Each time you build a SharePoint Project using TFS Build 2010 it will copy along with your binaries a number of Microsoft assemblies on which your project depends. Those, however, are all standard assemblies available with SharePoint 2010 which you don’t need to ship yourself. Unfortunately you cannot control the process of copying dependent assemblies and eventually you end up with a lot of standard binaries cluttering your output folder and consuming space on your hard disk.

Drop Folder cluttered with standard SharePoint assemblies

Jeremy Jameson wrote about this issue previously. In his article Jeremy presented a solution based on a custom MSBuild target file that you have to include in your solution and then reference from your project. Although it works, it creates a binding between the project and the build template which might be an issue should you ever want to use another build template. It turns out that you can achieve comparable results by modifying the standard build template and without having to modify your project files!

Cleaning drop folder by modifying the default build template

The process of removing non-project files from the drop folder consists of three steps. First we have to make a list of all files that belong to our project and that we want to keep in the drop folder. Then we have to make a list of all files in the drop folder. The last step is to iterate through the list of all files and compare each file with the list of project files. If the file isn’t named in the list of project files it should be deleted.

Preparations

Let’s start by creating a custom build template based on the DefaultTemplate.

Creating a new build template based on the DefaultTemplate

Once the Workflow opens, zoom in to the following item:

Sequence > Run On Agent > Try Compile, Test, and Associate Changesets and Work Items > Finally > Revert Workspace and Copy Files to Drop Location > If DropBuild and DropLocation is Set

The ‘If DropBuild and DropLocation is Set’ item highlighted in the build template

Since the Then clause can contain only one item we have to wrap the Copy Files to Drop Location item into a Sequence. For this temporarily move the Copy Files to Drop Location item to the Else clause.

The ‘Copy Files to Drop Location’ item moved to the ‘Else’ clause

Next add a new Sequence item to the Then clause.

A new ‘Sequence’ item added to the ‘Then’ clause

And finally move the Copy Files to Drop Location item into the Sequence that we have just added to the Then clause.

The ‘Copy Files to Drop Location’ added to the ‘Sequence’ in the ‘Then’ clause

Making a list of project files

Before the Copy Files to Drop Location add a new Sequence that will wrap our cleaning logic and call it Remove non-project files.

The ‘Remove non-project files’ sequence added to the workflow

To store the list of project files we will need a variable. Let’s select the Remove non-project files sequence and in the Variables window create a new variable called ProjectFiles of type IEnumerable<String>.

The ‘ProjectFiles’ variable defined in the ‘Remove non-project files’ sequence

One more thing that we need in order to make a list of project files is the project name against which we will be matching file names. There are many ways in how you could implement this. In this sample we will add a new build property that we will be able to configure through Build Definition settings. For this open the Arguments window and add a new In argument called ProjectName. Set the argument type to String.

The ‘ProjectName’ argument configured in the Workflow

Next modify the default value of the Metadata argument (1). In the Metadata Editor click the Add button (2). Set the Parameter Name to ProjectName (3), Display Name to Project Name (4), Category to Required (5) and check the Required checkbox (6).

Configuring the ‘ProjectName’ Metadata argument

With that confirm the changes by clicking the OK button (7).

To make a list of all project files add the FindMatchingFiles activity to the Remove non-project files sequence. In its properties set the Display Name to Get Project Files, the Match Pattern to:

String.Format("{0}*.*", System.IO.Path.Combine(BinariesDirectory, ProjectName))  

and the Result to ProjectFiles.

Configuration of the ‘Get Project Files’ activity

Making a list of all files in the drop folder

The next step is to make a list of all files in the drop folder. Because we will have to process this list later on we have to store it in a variable. To create the variable select the Remove non-project files sequence and in the Variables window create a new variable called AllFiles of type IEnumerable<String>.

The ‘AllFiles’ variable defined in the ‘Remove non-project files’ sequence

Next add another FindMatchingFiles sequence and set its Display Name to All Files, Match Pattern to:

String.Format("{0}\*.*", BinariesDirectory)  

and the Result to AllFiles.

Configuration of the ‘All Files’ activity

Removing non-project files

The last step is to iterate through the list of all files, compare each file against the list of files that belong to our project and if the file is not on that list, delete it.

Under the All Files activity add a ForEach<T> activity, set its Type to String and Values to AllFiles. As the name of the Foreach variable type file.

Configuration of the ‘ForEach’ activity

Next add an If statement that we can use to compare the filename. In its condition type:

Not ProjectFiles.Contains(file)  

Configuration of the ‘If’ statement

Finally in the Then clause add a new InvokeMethod activity. Set its Display Name to Delete File, Method Name to Delete, Target Type to System.IO.File and in the parameters list add a new In parameter of type String with the value set to file.

Configuration of the ‘Delete File’ activity

And that’s all. Save and check in the Workflow, and the next time you run a build, you should see no files other than those that belong to your project.

Drop folder that contains only files which belong to the project

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