The Windows Azure Web Sites hosting solution is really a fantastic hosting solution. You might already know that you can even push web sites using Git, but lately this feature has been improved so that it can automatically pull an external repo you already own.
The idea is that you allow Azure Web Sites to access your repository and it will configure it so that it sends a notification whenever a specific branch has been changed. At this time Azure Web Sites will pull the modifications locally, recompile your solution and publish the website if the compilation succeeded. This works fine with GitHub, CodePlex and also BitBucket.
In the case of Orchard we provide a ready to use repository that you can fork then use to publish on Azure Web Sites.
Forking the repository
The Orchard repository is hosted on the Azure Web Sites organization on GitHub. You will find several other repositories here that you can publish on Azure Web Sites using the same technique.
Fork the Orchard repository on your account:
For instance as my user account is sebastienros, the new repository lives at https://github.com/sebastienros/OrchardCMS.git.
Creating an Azure Web Site
Open your Windows Azure Dashboard at https://manage.windowsazure.com, and register if you haven’t done it so far. By registering you get access to 10 free hosted web sites on shared hosting.
Create a new Web Site using the “Quick Create” option, in this case the Web Site is called “orchardgit”:
Once in the dashboard click on “Set up Git publishing”
You should get a confirmation message.
Expand the “Deploy from my GitHub repository” section, and click on “Authorize Windows Azure”
Select the repository you fork in the first part.
Wait … wait again, then Azure Web Sites should start building and deploying the web site.
When the web site is ready you can then browse it directly, in this case on http://orchardgit.azurewebsites.net/, and your Orchard web site is then running:
Updating the repository
The nice thing with it is that whenever you push a modification to your repository, Azure Web Sites will be notified, build and deploy your changes. Continuous deployment for free, and so easy to setup and use.
Azure Web Site Git publishing is really an awesome feature, and really appeal to developers. And this new automatic notification from external repositories makes it even more awesome. Someday we might also be able to deploy from a set of well known public repository hosted on Git. Kind of a Git Web Application Gallery, who knows ;)