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Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Build Visual Studio solutions without Visual Studio

I have a project that has four separate Visual Studio solutions. It is a bit annoying when I do an update from SVN and have to open each solution in Visual Studio just so I can build them. Visual Studio is hardly a lightweight program so surely there's a simpler way?

Most sys admins or developers accustomed to automated builds will probably start to titter at this point, but you can do it easily using NotePad (and the various stuff already installed on your dev machine). I don't want a mega complex system to deploy in a special way to a different server using expensive software, I just want to build everything without having to load many Visual Studio instances. So here is how.

Simple way to build all solutions with a batch file

First open NotePad and write the following code:

@echo off
CALL "C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 10.0\VC\vcvarsall.bat"
MSBUILD /v:q C:\Projects\Forums\Forums.sln
MSBUILD /v:q C:\Projects\MainSite.sln
MSBUILD /v:q C:\Projects\Users\UserMgmt.sln
MSBUILD /v:q C:\Projects\Core\Global.sln
PAUSE

Save this as something like BuildAll.bat then whenever you want to build everything just double click this file.

What was that?! Explain (a bit)

To use MSBUILD you must be running the Visual Studio command prompt but by default batch files run in normal compand prompt so line 2 enables all the Visual Studio-ness. Also, I added the /v:q parameter so that MSBUILD wont output every little detail about the build, just the important bits (PASS/FAIL).

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