Opening Up A Windows Azure Deployment Package

1 March 2011

Unless you've been living inside a very dark cave with no internet, you're probably aware that a devastating earthquake struck Christchurch, New Zealand last week; as a consequence, me and some colleagues at work have been putting in some time in standing up a business pledge site in Windows Azure.

As part of the deployment into Azure, I was having issues with the connection strings defined in the web.config file pointing to instances of SQL Azure I wasn't expecting. To double check everything, I'd have to open up the contents of the .cspkg

Renaming it to a .zip file got me to the view the contents, but attempting to extract the other files, including the .cssx file which contained the actual files for the Web Role wouldn't work. Turns out that by default, when built in Visual Studio, Windows Azure packages are encrypted - however, you can disable this through the use of a System Variable for Windows. I found the instructions on how to do this here, but in essence you just need to add the following System Variable (somewhere in the Properties menu for My Computer):

_CSPACK_FORCE_NOENCRYPT_ with value set to true

Reopening Visual Studio and rebuilding again allowed me to look inside! (And it turns out, I just deployed the wrong package file in the first place...good times!)

Tags: Azure, package

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