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AWS Toolkit for Visual Studio
User Guide

Custom ASP.NET Core Elastic Beanstalk Deployments

This topic describes how deployment works and what you can do customize deployments when creating ASP.NET Core applications with Elastic Beanstalk and the Toolkit for Visual Studio.

After you complete the deployment wizard in the Toolkit for Visual Studio, the toolkit bundles the application and sends it to Elastic Beanstalk. Your first step in creating the application bundle is to use the new dotnet CLI to prepare the application for publishing by using the publish command. The framework and configuration are passed down from the settings in the wizard to the publish command. So if you selected Release for configuration and netcoreapp1.0 for the framework, the toolkit will execute the following command:

dotnet publish --configuration Release --framework netcoreapp1.0

When the publish command finishes, the toolkit writes the new deployment manifest into the publishing folder. The deployment manifest is a JSON file named aws-windows-deployment-manifest.json, which the Elastic Beanstalk Windows container (version 1.2 or later) reads to determine how to deploy the application. For example, for an ASP.NET Core application you want to be deploy at the root of IIS, the toolkit generates a manifest file that looks like this:

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{ "manifestVersion": 1, "deployments": { "aspNetCoreWeb": [ { "name": "app", "parameters": { "appBundle": ".", "iisPath": "/", "iisWebSite": "Default Web Site" } } ] } }

The appBundle property indicates where the application bits are in relation to the manifest file. This property can point to either a directory or a ZIP archive. The iisPath and iisWebSite properties indicate where in IIS to host the application.

Customizing the Manifest

The toolkit only writes the manifest file if one doesn't already exist in the publishing folder. If the file does exist, the toolkit updates the appBundle, iisPath and iisWebSite properties in the first application listed under the aspNetCoreWeb section of the manifest. This allows you to add the aws-windows-deployment-manifest.json to your project and customize the manifest. To do this for an ASP.NET Core Web application in Visual Studio add a new JSON file to the root of the project and name it aws-windows-deployment-manifest.json.

The manifest must be named aws-windows-deployment-manifest.json and it must be at the root of the project. The Elastic Beanstalk container looks for the manifest in the root and if it finds it will invoke the deployment tooling. If the file doesn't exist, the Elastic Beanstalk container falls back to the older deployment tooling, which assumes the archive is an msdeploy archive.

To ensure the dotnet CLI publish command includes the manifest, update the project.json file to include the manifest file in the include section under include in publishOptions.

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{ "publishOptions": { "include": [ "wwwroot", "Views", "Areas/**/Views", "appsettings.json", "web.config", "aws-windows-deployment-manifest.json" ] } }

Now that you've declared the manifest so that it's included in the app bundle, you can further configure how you want to deploy the application. You can customize deployment beyond what the deployment wizard supports. AWS has defined a JSON schema for the aws-windows-deployment-manifest.json file, and when you installed the Toolkit for Visual Studio, the setup registered the URL for the schema.

When you open windows-deployment-manifest.json, you'll see the schema URL selected in the Schema drop down box. You can navigate to the URL to get a full description of what can be set in the manifest. With the schema selected, Visual Studio will provide IntelliSense while you're editing the manifest.

One customization you can do is to configure the IIS application pool under which the application will run. The following example shows how you can define an IIS Application pool ("customPool") that recycles the process every 60 minutes, and assigns it to the application using "appPool": "customPool".

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{ "manifestVersion": 1, "iisConfig": { "appPools": [ { "name": "customPool", "recycling": { "regularTimeInterval": 60 } } ] }, "deployments": { "aspNetCoreWeb": [ { "name": "app", "parameters": { "appPool": "customPool" } } ] } }

Additionally, the manifest can declare Windows PowerShell scripts to run before and after the install, restart and uninstall actions. For example, the following manifest runs the Windows PowerShell script PostInstallSetup.ps1 to do further setup work after the ASP.NET Core application is deployed to IIS. When adding scripts like this, make sure the scripts are added to the include section under publishOptions in the project.json file, just as you did with the aws-windows-deployment-manifest.json file. If you don't, the scripts won't be included as part of the dotnet CLI publish command.

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{ "manifestVersion": 1, "deployments": { "aspNetCoreWeb": [ { "name": "app", "scripts": { "postInstall": { "file": "SetupScripts/PostInstallSetup.ps1" } } } ] } }

What about ebextensions?

The Elastic Beanstalkebextensions configuration files are supported as with all the other Elastic Beanstalk containers. To include ebextensions in an ASP.NET Core application, add the .ebextensions directory to the include section under publishOptions in the project.json file. For further information about ebextensions checkout the Elastic Beanstalk Developer Guide.