DropkicK–Deploy Fluently

DropkicK (DK) has been in development for over two years and has been used for production deployments for over a year. Dru Sellers originally posted about DK back in 2009. While DK isn’t yet as super easy to grok as some of the other ChuckNorrisFramework tools and offers little in the idea of conventions, it is still a stellar framework to use for deployments.

DK works well in environments where you know all of the environments you will deploy to ahead of time (although not required due to the ability to pull in JSON settings files and servermaps). It is not for every environment, as DK will need to be able to get to the remote location through UNC (if deployed from a local server everytime it won’t be an issue) except for the database. DK is continually improving, so expect a transition into adding FTP type deployments as well.

I am going to stay somewhat introductory, so you won’t see this post get too detailed into exactly how you can use DK for deployments. That would be best covered by reading the wiki and looking at examples or a series of articles.

Concepts of Kicking Your Code Out with DropkicK

Deployment Step – The simplest concept of execution of deployment. This is a step that is involved with getting something set up during a deployment. This could be copying files or setting a folder permission.

Deployment Task – This is a collection of one or more steps to do in making something happen during the deployment. Say a task is to copy some files. A step in that task might be to clean/clear folders. Another step is to remove read only attributes. The last step in that is to actually copy files/folders. This is nearly synonymous with the concept of deployment steps and often referred to that way, even by the maintainers of DK.

Deployment Role – A role is a collection of tasks that as an atomic unit have set up a particular area of a deployment. Like a database. Or a Web site. A role contains one or more deployment tasks.

Deployment Plan – This is a collection of all roles for making a deployment happen. This is what you write when you sit down to write a dropkick deployment for your code.

Deployment Settings – These are settings you can draw from in any deployment step. A core concept to DK is the idea of environments and is baked into all settings.

Deployment JSON Settings – This is the equivalent of the deployment settings, with the actual values that you want the deployment settings to get at run time. This is separate so that you can make changes in case you need to make changes prior to deployment.

Deployment Server – A deployment role is targeted against one or more servers.

Deployment ServerMaps – This is the physical server or servers that you want to target Deployment Roles to for a particular environment. Each role you want to deploy will need at least one physical location.

Remote Execution – When certain tasks must be run against the server they are targeting, DK will copy over an executable to a known location on that machine, run it through WMI on that particular machine, wait for it to finish, and then bring the execution log back to the main logs. This means you do not need a service installed on the remote machine for installation.

Deployment Logs – DK has a few logs that it puts together during the deployment. The one you see in the console is a summary of what is happening. There is a run log that contains details of everything that is happening. There is also a db log, a security log, and a file change log. These logs can be passed to each party that cares about them after a deployment for auditing sake.

NuGet Install

If you want to get a quick start on seeing a good example of DK, just pull in the dropkick nuget package and it will bring some sample code.

Running DropkicK

DropkicK expects you to tell it where the deployment DLL file is, what environment it is deploying to, what roles it is deploying, and where the deployment settings files are located. It runs in trace mode by default, determining if one can actually execute the deployment plan (has permissions, servers exist, etc).

The syntax for running dropkick is:

dk.exe [command] /environment:ENVIRONMENT_NAME [/ARG_NAME:VALUE] [--SWITCH_NAME]

At a minimum you can run dropkick with dk.exe execute. This will deploy all roles to ‘LOCAL’ environment with ‘Deployment.dll’ (seated next to dk.exe) looking for ‘.\settings\LOCAL.servermaps’ and ‘.\settings\LOCAL.js’

dk.exe execute /deployment:..\deployments\somename.deployment.dll /environment:LOCAL /settings:..\settings /roles:Web,Host

The above should give you an idea of all of the options you can pass to DK for execution.

You can pass a silent switch to DK to allow for completely silent deployments. Although rough at the moment, there is a wiki article for deploying from TeamCity. That can be found here: https://github.com/chucknorris/dropkick/wiki/TeamCityIntegration

Enough Talk - Show Me the Code!

The below code shows an example deployment plan for executing a deployment to Db, Web, and Host roles. It leaves out the Virtual Directory setup, but that can be easily brought in from looking at an example (https://github.com/chucknorris/dropkick/blob/master/product/dropkick.tests/TestObjects/IisTestDeploy.cs).

using System.IO;
using System.Security.Cryptography.X509Certificates;
using dropkick.Configuration.Dsl;
using dropkick.Configuration.Dsl.Files;
using dropkick.Configuration.Dsl.Iis;
using dropkick.Configuration.Dsl.RoundhousE;
using dropkick.Configuration.Dsl.Security;
using dropkick.Configuration.Dsl.WinService;
using dropkick.Wmi;

namespace App.Deployment
public class TheDeployment : Deployment<TheDeployment, DeploymentSettings>
  public TheDeployment()
      Define(settings =>
                             s =>

                             s =>


                                 s.Security(securityOptions =>
                                     securityOptions.ForPath(settings.WebsitePath, fileSecurityConfig => fileSecurityConfig.GrantRead(settings.WebUserName));
                                     securityOptions.ForPath(Path.Combine(settings.HostServicePath, "logs"), fs => fs.GrantReadWrite(settings.WebUserName));
                                     securityOptions.ForPath(@"~\C$\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v4.0.30319\Temporary ASP.NET Files", fs => fs.GrantReadWrite(settings.WebUserName));
                                     if (Directory.Exists(@"~\C$\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework64\v4.0.30319\Temporary ASP.NET Files"))
                                         securityOptions.ForPath(@"~\C$\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework64\v4.0.30319\Temporary ASP.NET Files", fs => fs.GrantReadWrite(settings.WebUserName));

                                     securityOptions.ForCertificate(settings.CertificateThumbprint, c =>


                             s =>
                                 var serviceName = "ServiceName.{{Environment}}";



                                 s.Security(o =>
                                     o.ForCertificate(settings.CertificateThumbprint, c =>
                                     o.LocalPolicy(lp =>

                                     o.ForPath(settings.HostServicePath, fs => fs.GrantRead(settings.ServiceUserName));
                                     o.ForPath(Path.Combine(settings.HostServicePath,"logs"), fs => fs.GrantReadWrite(settings.ServiceUserName));
                                     o.ForPath(settings.ServiceWorkDirectory, fs => fs.GrantReadWrite(settings.ServiceUserName));
                                     o.ForPath(settings.ServiceTriggerWatchDirectory, fs => fs.GrantReadWrite(settings.ServiceUserName));
                                     o.ForPath(settings.SecureWorkDirectory, fs => 
                                 s.WinService(serviceName).Create().WithCredentials(settings.ServiceUserName, settings.ServiceUserPassword).WithDisplayName("servicename({{Environment}})").WithServicePath(@"{{HostServicePath}}\servicename.exe").

                                 if (settings.ServiceStartMode != ServiceStartMode.Disabled && settings.ServiceStartMode != ServiceStartMode.Manual)

    //order is important
    public static Role Db { get; set; }
    public static Role Web { get; set; }
    public static Role Host { get; set; }

You might immediately see how this really sets up an environment. The biggest ideas in DropkicK are that you can specify a complete setup from nothing to having a machine completely set up.

Posted 10-23-2011 10:52 AM by Rob Reynolds
Filed under: , , ,



jdn wrote re: DropkicK–Deploy Fluently
on 10-24-2011 8:45 PM

There are so many different things that seem to merit review that I feel like I have to 'triage' them, so to speak, but this post tells me that I really need to give Dropkick a serious look.

Thanks for this.

Rob Reynolds wrote re: DropkicK–Deploy Fluently
on 10-25-2011 6:23 AM

@jdn: This post was past due. I've been meaning to really talk about DK for a long time. It's a big subject to broach. :D

About The CodeBetter.Com Blog Network
CodeBetter.Com FAQ

Our Mission

Advertisers should contact Brendan

Google Reader or Homepage

del.icio.us CodeBetter.com Latest Items
Add to My Yahoo!
Subscribe with Bloglines
Subscribe in NewsGator Online
Subscribe with myFeedster
Add to My AOL
Furl CodeBetter.com Latest Items
Subscribe in Rojo

Member Projects
DimeCasts.Net - Derik Whittaker

Friends of Devlicio.us
Red-Gate Tools For SQL and .NET


SmartInspect .NET Logging
NGEDIT: ViEmu and Codekana
NHibernate Profiler
Balsamiq Mockups
JetBrains - ReSharper
Web Sequence Diagrams
Ducksboard<-- NEW Friend!


Site Copyright © 2007 CodeBetter.Com
Content Copyright Individual Bloggers


Community Server (Commercial Edition)