A while back someone asked me if you could sync 2 or more folders with one statement using MSDeploy. I said of course, if you perform the sync using manifest files. Manifest files allow you to "group" sync operations into a file. When you invoke msdeploy.exe and point it to a manifest file, each provider will be executed in the order in which it appears inside the manifest file. A common scenario for using manifest files is to sync websites. This way you can specify the files that should be synced, the website (application) name, ACL values, etc. But you are not limited to using manifest files for web related sync operations. When using manifest files, you would specify the provider to be manifest. We will see this in the command used to snyc two folders. Often times when using a manifest file for the source you will also use one for the destination. Here are the two files.
In this example I am syncing two folders C:\temp\MSDeploy\Source01 and C:\temp\MSDeploy\Source02 to another drive location on E. The command to perform the sync would be
msdeploy -verb:sync -source:manifest=sourceManifest.xml -dest:manifest=destManifest.xml
And here are the results of that sync operation, when the destination directories don't exist.
As you can see the destination directories were created and the files synced into the destination folders. First all the content of the Source01 folder is synced and then the Source02 folder as expected. If you perform the sync operation and all files are up-to-date then no changes will be made.
This is just a very basic example of how you can use MSDeploy manifest files to perform a sync operation, but you can create manifest files that perform many different actions. Visual Studio 2010 uses manifest files when it creates the web packages for deployment.
Sayed Ibrahim Hashimi