Running your TeamCity builds from PowerShell for any Git branch

Plage le long de la Savane des Pétrifications

I love TeamCity and use it since a while to automate my build/release processes. As human we should never do the work a machine can do, we have certainly better and more interesting things to do.

The habit I saw in the different projects I worked for is to create new TeamCity builds for the branches you work on. It take quite some work to do, even with templates…

So I came with another way of doing it. It is leverage Git, PowerShell and the possibility to run TeamCity builds by “Accessing Server by HTTP”. Basically you just need to make a HTTP request to an Url like this:

http://testuser:testpassword@teamcity.jetbrains.com/httpAuth/action.html?add2Queue=bt10&system.name=<property name1>&system.value=<value1>&system.name=<property name2>&system.value=<value2>&env.name=<environment variable name1>&env.value=<environment variable value1>&env.name=<environment variable name2>&env.value=<environment variable value2>

We will also use the possibility to pass custom parameters (system properties and environment variables) through the HTTP request.

The parameter we want to pass is the Ref name of the Git VCS Root, so we start by setting it using a configuration parameter called BuildRefName, as this:


Git, PowerShell, TeamCity

Then we need to add a configuration parameters for our TeamCity project with the name BuildRefName which we currently set to master, so that if the parameter is not defined it will default to this value:

Git, PowerShell, TeamCity 2

Now that we have configured this you can already start a build from your browser by calling the URL!


Be sure to replace bt10 with your build id.

Nice ,but we want to get a step further and be able to start the build from PowerShell, which is quite easy!

To achieve this goal you add those two functions to your PowerShell profile:

function Get-Web($url, 
    #    Downloads a file from the web
    #    Uses System.Net.Webclient (not the browser) to download data
    #    from the web.
    #.Parameter self
    #    Uses the default credentials when downloading that page (for downloading intranet pages)
    #.Parameter credential
    #    The credentials to use to download the web data
    #.Parameter url
    #    The page to download (e.g. www.msn.com)    
    #.Parameter toFile
    #    The file to save the web data to
    #.Parameter bytes
    #    Download the data as bytes   
    #    # Downloads www.live.com and outputs it as a string
    #    Get-Web http://www.live.com/
    #    # Downloads www.live.com and saves it to a file
    #    Get-Web http://wwww.msn.com/ -toFile www.msn.com.html
    $webclient = New-Object Net.Webclient
    if ($credential) {
        $webClient.Credentials = $credential
    if ($self) {
        $webClient.UseDefaultCredentials = $true
    if ($toFile) {
        if (-not "$toFile".Contains(":")) {
            $toFile = Join-Path $pwd $toFile
        $webClient.DownloadFile($url, $toFile)
    } else {
        if ($bytes) {
        } else {

function tcBuild([string]$branch) {

	$url = "http://YourServerUrl/httpAuth/action.html?add2Queue=YourBuildId"

	if ($branch) {
		$url = $url + "&name=BuildRefName&value=" + $branch
	$credentials = New-Object System.Net.NetworkCredential("Username", "Password")

	Get-Web $url -credential $credentials

Please adapt the tcBuild script by replacing the YourServerUrl, YourBuildId, Username, Password by your personal values.

The first function Get-Web is from this blog post: “Microcode: PowerShell Scripting Tricks: Scripting The Web (Part 1) (Get-Web)”.

The second, tcBuild, is quite easy and is the one you will use to start a build on the TeamCity server.

My workflow now is the following one:

  1. I commit on my local Git repository then
  2. when I want to run a build I push to the centralized Git origin repository in my branch then
  3. I start my build on the Git Branch from PowerShell by typing :

> tcBuild Jobping-10-NewFeature

where Jobping-10-NewFeature is the name of my Git branch.

This is quite cool and give me also the possibility to run kind of personal builds!

Comments (2) -

Pavel Sher

You've done a good job to discover this possibility! I think many TeamCity users do not know how powerful a combination of custom build and parameters in VCS roots can be.

BTW, something similar can be accomplished by remote run on branch trigger. It will watch for branch names with some pattern and trigger personal build on behalf of the last committer. Internally it works almost the same way, as your approach with custom parameters.


Thanks Pavel for your comment!

Yes I knew about this before but somehow forgot about it. Then I implemented this way when playing with our whole build infrastructure.

The link you are talking about is this one I guess confluence.jetbrains.net/.../Branch+Remote+Run+Trigger

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About Laurent

Laurent Kempé

Laurent Kempé is the editor, founder, and primary contributor of Tech Head Brothers, a French portal about Microsoft .NET technologies.

He is currently employed by Innoveo Solutions since 10/2007 as a Senior Solution Architect, certified Scrum Master and Founding Member.

Founder, owner and Managing Partner of Jobping, which provides a unique and efficient platform for connecting Microsoft skilled job seekers with employers using Microsoft technologies.

Laurent was awarded Most Valuable Professional (MVP) by Microsoft from April 2002 to April 2012.

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