React in a weekend…

Last week was a bit of a ride. My wife was thrust into her real estate career by a somewhat abrupt (but not totally unexpected) reduction in force at her company. We spent the middle of the week shopping to replace her company vehicle, which I do not recommend in the current market. I also offered to spend some time on standing up a small lead generation site for her so that she can establish a presence on the web for her real estate business.

I spent maybe 10-12 hours getting something running. Could it have been done more quickly? Sure. But I am never one to resist the chance to setup deployment pipelines and API specifications. I figured the project would run longer than 5 days.

Why only 5 days? Well, Coldwell Banker (her real estate broker) provides a LOT of tools for her, including a branded website with tie in’s to the MLS system. So I forwarded to her website and my site will be digitally trashed.


For familiarity, I chose the .Net 5 ASP.NET / React template as a starter. I have a number of API projects running so I was able to utilize some boilerplate code from those projects to configure Serilog to my internal ELK stack and basic authentication to my Identity Server. The above tutorial is a good start to getting things moving forward with the site.

On the React app site, I immediately updated all the components to their latest versions. This included moving Bootstrap to version 5. Reactstrap is installed by default, but does not have support for Bootstrap 5. I could have dropped Reactstrap in favor of the RC version of React-Bootstrap, but I’m comfortable enough in my HTML styling, so I just used the base DOM elements and styled them with the Bootstrap styles.

It probably took me an hour or so to take the template code and turn it into the base for the home page. And then I built a deployment pipeline…

A Pipeline, you say..

Yes. For what amounts to a small personal project, I built an Azure DevOps pipeline that builds the project and its associated Helm chart, publishes the resulting docker image and Helm chart to feeds in Proget, and initiates a release in Octopus Deploy.

While this may seem like overkill, I actually have most of this down to a pretty simple process using some standard tools and templates.

Helm Charts made easy

For the Helm charts, I utilizes the common chart from k8s-at-home’s library-charts repository. This limits my Helm chart to some custom values in values.yaml file to define my image, services, ingress, and any other customizations I may want.

I typically use a custom liveness and readiness probe that lets me hit a custom health endpoint served up using ASP.NET Core’s Custom Health Checks. This allows me some control to add more than just a ping check for the service.

Azure DevOps Pipelines

As mentioned in more than one previous post, I am thoroughly impressed with Azure DevOps Build Pipelines thus far. One of the nicer features is the ability to save common steps/jobs/stages to a separate repository, and then re-use those build templates in other pipelines.

Using my own templates, I was able to construct a build pipeline that compiles, creates and publishes a docker image, creates and publishes a Helm chart, and creates and deploys an Octopus Release in a 110 line YAML file.

Octopus Project / Release Pipeline

I have been experimenting with different ways to deploy and manage deployments to Kubernetes. While not the fanciest, Octopus Deploy does the job. I am able to execute a single step to deploy the Helm chart to the cluster, and can override various values with Octopus variables, meaning I can use the same process to deploy to test, stage, and production.

Wasted effort?

So I spent a few days standing up a website that I am in the middle of deleting. Was it worth it? Actually, yes. I learned more about my processes and potential ways to make them more efficient. It also spiked my interest in putting some UIs on top of some of my API wrappers.






Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *