Going meta with Meta-Runners in TeamCity
We have seen that build runners can be very handy. Even though most build runners can be replaced with an equivalent command using the command-line runner, build runners come with the convenience of easily setting up build steps, along with the necessary agent requirements and parameters.
While templates can be used to create and maintain build configurations that are very similar, Meta-Runners can be used across build configurations that perform the same build steps. Moreover, a build configuration can only be based on one template, but it can make use of multiple Meta-Runners.
In Chapter 3, Getting Your CI Up and Running, we created the deploy-to-test build configuration that deploys the Django application to Heroku. Using this build configuration as an example, we can see how we can extract a Meta-Runner Deploy To Heroku that can be used by any build configuration that wants to deploy to Heroku.
git remote add heroku email@example.com:django-ci-example.git git push heroku master
git remote add heroku %heroku.remote% git push heroku master
Now we are ready to create a Meta-Runner from this build configuration. This can be done by clicking on the Extract Meta-Runner button in the right-hand side bar of the build configuration settings page. This brings up the Extract Meta-Runner dialog, which is shown in the following screenshot:
Click on Extract to create the Meta-Runner. Once the Meta-Runner is created, we can see it listed in the Meta-Runners tab on the project administration page. We can also edit the Meta-Runner to fine-tune it as desired.
We can now use the Meta-Runner that we created pretty much like a normal build runner. We will remove the existing build step in the deploy-to-test build configuration (from which we extracted the Meta-Runner) and add a Deploy To Heroku Meta-Runner-based build step.
In the New Build Step page, for the Runner type field, the newly created Deploy To Heroku Meta-Runner is available, as shown in the following screenshot:
Once we choose the Deploy To Heroku Meta-Runner, we can see that the heroku.remote parameter is one of the fields to be configured. Since we created the Meta-Runner with the heroku.remote parameter with the value firstname.lastname@example.org:django-ci-example.git, that remote is available by default. The Deploy To Heroku runner configuration page is shown in the following screenshot:
Of course, the value of Meta-Runners becomes more apparent when we create them out of multiple build steps. The same set of steps that may be repeated across multiple configurations can be extracted into Meta-Runners.
Reference Book – Learning Continuous Integration with TeamCity by Learning Continuous Integration with TeamCity
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