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Wolfpack vNext = vExcited

I'm getting excited about the next release of Wolfpack (v2.3). It's going to be the first application  that uses Sidewinder (unless someone beats me to it with my own framework!).

I'd been discussing updates and NuGet with a few people and wondered how it could be applied to Wolfpack - its plugin architecture makes it a perfect candidate for being able to download or upgrade plugins plus I also wanted to explore a better way of upgrading the entire install - make this as painless as possible.

Taking inspiration from the NuGet.exe commandline app that self updates I had a look at the code and took the plunge and created Sidewinder. I'll let you investigate Sidewinder yourself (if it sounds interesting) but wanted to share what this will mean when it lands in the next version of Wolfpack and how I plan to use it.

Wolfpack is a pluggable, modular system - a number of contrib projects have sprung up and a few dedicated individuals have invested time and effort into adding to the HealthCheck and Publisher plugins available (Thanks guys!). Sidewinder, harnessing NuGet will bring application update to your Wolfpack installation but also provides it with the ability to pull down new plugins and deploy them into your Wolfpack installation folder (including any configuration files required).

Updating your Wolfpack install will be as simple as running...

Wolfpack.Agent.exe /update

That's it - the entire installation will be updated if a new version has been published. Your configuration files will not be updated, only new configuration files will be installed - existing ones will remain unchanged and will need manual update if changed (I'm working on a mechanism to allow the update to make changes as part of the install).

Wolfpack vNext is also taking the first steps towards a more modular system. Feedback has highlighted that the system contains lots of functionality, AppStats, BuildAnalytics, NServiceBus, WCF, Growl, Geckoboard and it would be good to split these away from a "Core" system - making these optional sub-systems that you use if required/suitable for you. I've fragmented the configuration files and started to look at turning these areas of Wolkpack into separate packages to be delivered via Sidewinder. I am also refactoring the Wolfpack.Contrib components into new NuGet packages that can be delivered with Sidewinder...they will be the first plugin test pilot packages for Wolfpack/Sidewinder!

Finally Wolfpack vNext has got some other improvements including...

  • Logging improvements to it's startup code it make it easier to debug/understand/fix configuration issues.
  • New HealthCheck - Host (ICMP) Ping
  • Ability to load HealthCheck components directly into the IoC container (this makes DI into the check possible now) 
A really cool new feature developed by Phil Bolduc is a Powershell HealthCheck - this health check can execute a powershell script to perform any tests/checks you need - this is in beta and will be delivered after vNext as an optional package like this.

Wolfpack vNext will be appearing in a NuGet gallery near your very soon!


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Walk-Thru: Using Wolfpack to automatically deploy and smoke test your system

First, some history... The advent of NuGet has revolutionised many many aspects of the .Net ecosystem; MyGet, Chocolatey & OctopusDeploy to name a few solutions building upon its success bring even more features to the table.

I also spotted that NuGet could solve a problem I was having with my OSS System Monitoring software Wolfpack; essentially this is a core application framework that uses plugins for extension (Wolfpack Contrib) but how to unify, standardise and streamline how these plugins are made available? NuGet to the rescue again - I wrapped the NuGet infrastructure (I deem NuGet to be so ubiquitous and stable that is has transcended into the software "infrastrucuture" hall of fame) with a new OSS project called Sidewinder. Sidewinder allows me to wrap all my little extension and plugins in NuGet packages and deploy them directly from the Wolfpack application - it even allows me to issue a new version of Wolfpack and have Wolfpack update itself, sweet huh?


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[Update 18th July 2013]
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[Original Post]
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The new url is:!
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