Friday 31 January 2014

Adding files to TeamMentor's web root via a UserData folder (synced with GitHub)

This post shows how to add custom files to the TeamMentor's webroot using a special feature of the TeamMentor's UserData folder.

In this demo I'm going to use the UserData setup in this post (currently synchronised with a GitHub repo)

Basically we are going to edit a file in GitHub, which will end up in the root of the associated TeamMentor website (which is quite a powerful PoC and bug fixing feature).

First step is to go to the synced GitHub repo (created here) and click the Create a new file here button in GitHub's UI:

... the next page allows us to define a folder name (which needs to be WebRoot_Files if we want these files to the copied to webroot of the current TeamMentor application) :

... and a file name (which can be anything):

... the file contents are added using the GitHub's text editor:

... and saved using the Commit New File button:

Here is the file added to the GitHub's UserData repo:

Here is the commit (created by GitHub)

Back in TeamMentor, if we click on the Reload UserData

A server side (to TeamMentor) git pull will occur, and the file added in the GitHub's UI is now also present in the local TeamMentor's UserData folder:

Note: in the next version of TM, the Git messages are much better (for example they will show the names of the files affected by a pull)

Here is a simple C# script that confirms that the file is already in the local UserData folder (this script was executed in the C# REPL that is part of TeamMentor's admin features)

But, at this stage, if we try to open the hello.txt file in a browser, we will see that it doesn't (yet) exist:

The reason is because the logic that checks for the existence of WebRoot_Files in the current UserData folder, is only executed on server startup or cache reload.

The best solution is to go to the TBot's Reload Server Objects page and click on the Reload Cache button:

And once that is done, the hello.txt file will now exist in the TeamMentor's root folder:

Just to confirm that all is ok, let's try renaming that file in GitHub: helloAgain.txt

... saving it:

 ... checking that update commit is there:

... reloading the TeamMentor's cache:

... and finally confirming that the file has been updated in the live TM server.

Note: Doing this for *.txt file is not that interesting.

Where this technique will really show its power, is when we create *.aspx server-side pages, *.html  client-side pages, *.ashx handlers  or *.cshtml Razor pages (these last ones will need to be placed inside a special TBot folder).

I will show how this works in one of my next blog posts.