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In my prior blog post on this topic, I showed how to use the PowerShell Start-Process command to initiate the rebuild of a Visual Studio solution using MSBUILD. With today's post, I'll show how I've wrapped this call into a PowerShell function to make it more PowerShell friendly.

As I mentioned last time, the wrapper function's name is Build-VisualStudioSolution. I know, I know... "Build" is not an approved verb. I decided it was the most appropriate verb for this function given the intent and circumstances. It is the verb of choice in Visual Studio and for a PowerShell function which performs an individual build, I hope even PowerShell gurus agree it is the best choice.

Visual Studio - Build Solution

Anyway, I've listed the code for this function below. Please note a couple of things:

  • $SolutionFile - This is a relative path to the solution file... but if you don't specify anything for $SourceCodePath then it would need to be the full absolute path to the solution file.
  • v2.0.50727 - Again, I'm using .Net Framework v2 for my work, but this could easily be updated for v3.5 or v4.
  • $ClearFirst - Part of my configuration management process is to perform a clean before a rebuild. This may be redundant to some. The function will skip the inital cleaning automatically if the -CleanFirst flag is omitted when calling the function.
  • $BuildLogOutputPath - Build log output defaults to the current user's desktop.

This function fits into a module which is still in draft, so if you have any feedback or suggestions, please post some comments. Thanks, and enjoy!

function Build-VisualStudioSolution            
{            
    param            
    (            
        [parameter(Mandatory=$false)]            
        [ValidateNotNullOrEmpty()]             
        [String] $SourceCodePath = "C:\SourceCode\Development\",            
            
        [parameter(Mandatory=$false)]            
        [ValidateNotNullOrEmpty()]             
        [String] $SolutionFile,            
                    
        [parameter(Mandatory=$false)]            
        [ValidateNotNullOrEmpty()]             
        [String] $Configuration = "Debug",            
                    
        [parameter(Mandatory=$false)]            
        [ValidateNotNullOrEmpty()]             
        [Boolean] $AutoLaunchBuildLog = $false,            
            
        [parameter(Mandatory=$false)]            
        [ValidateNotNullOrEmpty()]             
        [Switch] $MsBuildHelp,            
                    
        [parameter(Mandatory=$false)]            
        [ValidateNotNullOrEmpty()]             
        [Switch] $CleanFirst,            
                    
        [ValidateNotNullOrEmpty()]             
        [string] $BuildLogFile,            
               
	[ValidateNotNullOrEmpty()]                  
        [string] $BuildLogOutputPath = $env:userprofile + "\Desktop\"            
    )            
                
    process            
    {            
        # Local Variables            
        $MsBuild = $env:systemroot + "\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v2.0.50727\MSBuild.exe";            
                
        # Caller requested MsBuild Help?            
        if($MsBuildHelp)            
        {            
                $BuildArgs = @{            
                    FilePath = $MsBuild            
                    ArgumentList = "/help"            
                    Wait = $true            
                    RedirectStandardOutput = "C:\MsBuildHelp.txt"            
                }            
            
                # Get the help info and show            
                Start-Process @BuildArgs            
                Start-Process -verb Open "C:\MsBuildHelp.txt";            
        }            
        else            
        {            
            # Local Variables            
            $SlnFilePath = $SourceCodePath + $SolutionFile;            
            $SlnFileParts = $SolutionFile.Split("\");            
            $SlnFileName = $SlnFileParts[$SlnFileParts.Length - 1];            
            $BuildLog = $BuildLogOutputPath + $BuildLogFile            
            $bOk = $true;            
                        
            try            
            {            
                # Clear first?            
                if($CleanFirst)            
                {            
                    # Display Progress            
                    Write-Progress -Id 20275 -Activity $SlnFileName  -Status "Cleaning..." -PercentComplete 10;            
                            
                    $BuildArgs = @{            
                        FilePath = $MsBuild            
                        ArgumentList = $SlnFilePath, "/t:clean", ("/p:Configuration=" + $Configuration), "/v:minimal"            
                        RedirectStandardOutput = $BuildLog            
                        Wait = $true            
                        #WindowStyle = "Hidden"            
                    }            
            
                    # Start the build            
                    Start-Process @BuildArgs #| Out-String -stream -width 1024 > $DebugBuildLogFile             
                                
                    # Display Progress            
                    Write-Progress -Id 20275 -Activity $SlnFileName  -Status "Done cleaning." -PercentComplete 50;            
                }            
            
                # Display Progress            
                Write-Progress -Id 20275 -Activity $SlnFileName  -Status "Building..." -PercentComplete 60;            
                            
                # Prepare the Args for the actual build            
                $BuildArgs = @{            
                    FilePath = $MsBuild            
                    ArgumentList = $SlnFilePath, "/t:rebuild", ("/p:Configuration=" + $Configuration), "/v:minimal"            
                    RedirectStandardOutput = $BuildLog            
                    Wait = $true            
                    #WindowStyle = "Hidden"            
                }            
            
                # Start the build            
                Start-Process @BuildArgs #| Out-String -stream -width 1024 > $DebugBuildLogFile             
                            
                # Display Progress            
                Write-Progress -Id 20275 -Activity $SlnFileName  -Status "Done building." -PercentComplete 100;            
            }            
            catch            
            {            
                $bOk = $false;            
                Write-Error ("Unexpect error occured while building " + $SlnFileParts[$SlnFileParts.Length - 1] + ": " + $_.Message);            
            }            
                        
            # All good so far?            
            if($bOk)            
            {            
                #Show projects which where built in the solution            
                #Select-String -Path $BuildLog -Pattern "Done building project" -SimpleMatch            
                            
                # Show if build succeeded or failed...            
                $successes = Select-String -Path $BuildLog -Pattern "Build succeeded." -SimpleMatch            
                $failures = Select-String -Path $BuildLog -Pattern "Build failed." -SimpleMatch            
                            
                if($failures -ne $null)            
                {            
                    Write-Warning ($SlnFileName + ": A build failure occured. Please check the build log $BuildLog for details.");            
                }            
                            
                # Show the build log...            
                if($AutoLaunchBuildLog)            
                {            
                    Start-Process -verb "Open" $BuildLog;            
                }            
            }            
        }            
    }            
                
    <#
        .SYNOPSIS
        Executes the v2.0.50727\MSBuild.exe tool against the specified Visual Studio solution file.
        
        .Description
        
        .PARAMETER SourceCodePath
        The source code root directory. $SolutionFile can be relative to this directory. 
        
        .PARAMETER SolutionFile
        The relative path and filename of the Visual Studio solution file.
        
        .PARAMETER Configuration
        The project configuration to build within the solution file. Default is "Debug".
        
        .PARAMETER AutoLaunchBuildLog
        If true, the build log will be launched into the default viewer. Default is false.
        
        .PARAMETER MsBuildHelp
        If set, this function will run MsBuild requesting the help listing.
        
        .PARAMETER CleanFirst
        If set, this switch will cause the function to first run MsBuild as a "clean" operation, before executing the build.
        
        .PARAMETER BuildLogFile
        The name of the file which will contain the build log after the build completes.
        
        .PARAMETER BuildLogOutputPath
        The full path to the output folder where build log files will be placed. Defaults to the current user's desktop.
        
        .EXAMPLE
        
        .LINK
        http://stackoverflow.com/questions/2560652/why-does-powershell-fail-to-build-my-net-solutions-file-is-being-used-by-anot
        http://geekswithblogs.net/dwdii
        
        .NOTES
        Name:   Build-VisualStudioSolution
        Author: Daniel Dittenhafer
    #>                
}
Posted on Friday, May 27, 2011 3:12 PM PowerShell , Visual Studio | Back to top


Comments on this post: Part 2 - Automating a Visual Studio Build with PowerShell

# re: Part 2 - Automating a Visual Studio Build with PowerShell
Requesting Gravatar...
I have found here what I am looking for.
Really you have described well how to build the VS projects thru PowerShell scripts...
Suggest me some best books on PowrShell on Windows.
Left by Vinayak on May 24, 2012 5:13 AM

# re: Part 2 - Automating a Visual Studio Build with PowerShell
Requesting Gravatar...
I am trying to navigate my way through Microsoft Visual Studio for a certain project and I'm glad I clicked this because it became easier for me to navigate after following your tips. Thanks.
Left by see this on Sep 27, 2012 6:14 AM

# re: Part 2 - Automating a Visual Studio Build with PowerShell
Requesting Gravatar...
your website is good but i need your help regarding jont pain!
Left by professional writing service on on Oct 16, 2012 7:04 AM

# re: Part 2 - Automating a Visual Studio Build with PowerShell
Requesting Gravatar...
This is a wonderful post. I enjoyed the information lot. I will bookmark this page. Thanks for sharing this information.
Left by idealscorp.com on Dec 27, 2012 11:37 AM

# re: Part 2 - Automating a Visual Studio Build with PowerShell
Requesting Gravatar...
It's great.

Now, how can I execute like this:


& $MsBuild "$WebProjectFile" "/t:ResolveReferences;_CopyWebApplication" /p:OutDir="$OutputPath"

Left by kiquenet on May 03, 2013 3:40 AM

# MsBuild and Ps Remoting
Requesting Gravatar...
Hi,

for me doesn't work when I use it with Powershell REmoting.

Problems using RedirectStandardOutput.

any solution ?
Left by kiquenet on May 03, 2013 4:49 AM

# re: Part 2 - Automating a Visual Studio Build with PowerShell
Requesting Gravatar...
great article
Left by Nazeel on May 07, 2013 4:43 AM

# re: Part 2 - Automating a Visual Studio Build with PowerShell
Requesting Gravatar...
Great post. You have typos in your text (this is not a criticism -- I just use Notepad++ which has spell check)"

The text:
Unexpect error occured while building

Should be
Unexpected error occurred while building

You have another typo with "occured" in another part of the code (should be occurred).

Again great post.
Left by Jan on Aug 16, 2013 11:58 PM

# re: Part 2 - Automating a Visual Studio Build with PowerShell
Requesting Gravatar...
Great stuff. This is gold.
Left by Carl Scarlett on May 05, 2015 1:45 AM

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