How to build and deploy your front-end application from GitHub to Azure with Kudu

Contents

  • Introduction

Introduction

Today we will learn how to build and deploy your front-end application directly from your GitHub account to the site hosted on Azure.

Actually, there are at least two ways how to do this. First one is to setup continues integration for the project. It is a nice and powerful tool but requires too much time to set-up. So, if you need something simple and quick — this is not for you. The second way is to use Kudu.

Prerequisite

You will need node, npm, GitHub account and some front-end project. For this example, I will create new Angular 5 project using @angular/cli. Also, you will need Azure account to host your app. If you don’t have it you can create a new account and get some free money just for experiments.

Start a new project

If you already have any front-end project and all staff mentioned before just skip this step. If no — let’s start from the very beginning.

Go to the Github and create a new repository. Then clone it to your local workspace and create there a new index.html file with any content you want. This is only to check that basic synchronization mechanism works correctly. Commit your index.html and push it to the remote.

First sync with Azure

Now it is time to sync your repository with Azure. Open Azure.Portal and create new WebApp.

Feel free to select any service plan you want, this doesn’t matter. When this will be done, select your website and click on “Deployment options” menu.

Here you need to pick GitHub as the source, provide your credentials and select the remote repo you want to sync with. After this, Azure will clone your repository, push all files under the wwwroot folder and start serving static files with IIS server. As far as we have the index.html file in the root of the repository it will be given by default and now you should see it.

The simplest sync is done. If you need, you can add some js, images, etc., manually and all should work just fine. But we can do much better.

Automate deployment setup

Go back to your local repository and install @angular/cli if you don’t have it.

npm install -g angular\cli

Then switch to your local repository folder and create a new angular project.

ng new app

Now, jump into app folder and run your new app.

cd appng serve

Your application should rise and be testable on http://localhost:4200. Check this and let’s go further.

Right now, we have the repository, that synced with your Azure’s WebApp and new Angular 5 project. But if you will commit this right now, you will see your first index.html file. This happens because, by default, Azure only copy files from your repository under and nothing more. So, we need to provide some additional information about our deployment process. Fortunately, it is not hard.

Firstly we need to add to the root file named .deployment with next text:

[config]
command = build.cmd

This will instruct Azure to execute build.cmd file after you commit something new to the repository. And there, you can do whatever you want. It is pure command line file that can do almost everything you need. Isn’t this cool?

So we can write our own deployment script or modify existed one. But if we will do this manually it will take some time and be not very efficient. Now it’s time for Kudu. Under the hood, Azure uses it to sync your code and your publish folder. So we also can use Kudu for our needs. Grab build.cmd file from my repository and let’s take a look at it.

Default build.cmd contains few sections.

  • Check prerequisites (node must be installed)

So, as you see all is quite simple. What do we need is to create new step to build our project and modify deployment script to put artifacts in the proper place.

Add this after setup step

@echo "installing ui dependencies"
cd ./app
call npm ci
@echo "building ui"
call npm run build
@echo "returning back to root"
cd ..

Just regular and simple code. No magic. Second and the last step is to modify deployment script. As far as we have no server to serve static, we need to put resources under the wwwroot. Just change this one:

call :ExecuteCmd "%KUDU_SYNC_CMD%" -v 50 -f "%DEPLOYMENT_SOURCE%" -t "%DEPLOYMENT_TARGET%" -n "%NEXT_MANIFEST_PATH%" -p "%PREVIOUS_MANIFEST_PATH%" -i ".git;.hg;.deployment;build.cmd;app;node_modules;"

to this one:

call :ExecuteCmd "%KUDU_SYNC_CMD%" -v 50 -f "%DEPLOYMENT_SOURCE%\dist" -t "%DEPLOYMENT_TARGET%" -n "%NEXT_MANIFEST_PATH%" -p "%PREVIOUS_MANIFEST_PATH%" -i ".git;.hg;.deployment;build.cmd;app;node_modules;"

I know this looks like a bit messy but it is just a call to the Kudu (don’t mess with Ktulhu) with a few params. It’s really not scary. And that’s it.

Now, commit and push your code, wait a few minutes and your application will be built and deployed to the Azure. Now you can setup some preconditions for the push to the master branch (like tests, code-style e.t.c) and whenever you update master — your application will be delivered and deployed.

Conclusion

Deployment setup from GitHub to Azure is:

  • Quite simple

A working example can be found in my repository. Hope this helps!

Senior Software Developer. Working with .NET and TypeScript. Interested in #websecurity, love #webperformance