September 18, 2006

MSBuild

MSBuild Team Blog.
MSBuild documentation (msdn)
BuildTask creation
MSBuild used by VS projects to build items. You can add build tasks to your Project file, either by directly adding to the .proj file or by creating .targets files with the task within and then adding this .targets file to your project file using the include option. The BuildTask can do anything you wish but the format which you call it is basically the same.
To use a build task you must include the file that contains the BuildTask functionality. The BuildTask itself is just a class that extends Microsoft.Build.Utilities.Task.
Compile it into a dll and include the dll in your project file with the UsingTask . The AssemblyFile points to the location and name of the task's assembly, AssemblyFileName can also be used but only requires the file name, this means the file must be in the GAC or in the installation of .NET.

<pre> <usingtask taskname="SetupUtils.RegistryTask" assemblyfile="..\Setup Util\bin\Debug\Setup Util.dll">
<target name="EnvSetup"></target></usingtask>
</></a><usingtask taskname="SetupUtils.RegistryTask" assemblyfile="..\Setup Util\bin\Debug\Setup Util.dll"><target name="EnvSetup"><registrytask variable="RegistrySetting" registrykey="Software\\Solutions Ltd\\Installation">
<output taskparameter="RegistryValue" propertyname="RegistryKeyValue">
</output>

Some other useful formats of the BuildTask are,

</a><usingtask taskname="SetupUtils.RegistryTask" assemblyfile="..\Setup Util\bin\Debug\Setup Util.dll"><target name="EnvSetup"><registrytask variable="RegistrySetting" registrykey="Software\\Solutions Ltd\\Installation">
<output taskparameter="RegistryValue" propertyname="RegistryKeyValue">
</output>

it can take parameters and also return strings
which can then be used to set other variables in the project file.

<message text="The result is : $(RegistryKeyValue)">
</message>
</registrytask></target></usingtask></pre>

The above example sets the RegistryKeyValue variable to the Property RegistryValue found in the BuildTask itself, see below, the function with the Output property indicates to MSBuild that this is an output. So the Output method using the TaskParam shown above and provide and PropertyName to hold the result.
        using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Text;
using Microsoft.Build.Framework;
using Microsoft.Build.Utilities;
using Microsoft.Win32;


namespace SetupUtils
{
///
/// Get or Set the Registry Entries
///

public class RegistryTask : Task
{
private string _variable;//not significant
private string _registryKey;//the Registry Key ,
e.g. "Software\Solutions Ltd\Installation"
private string _registryKeyValue;//the value of the _registryKey.


[Required]
public string Variable
{
get { return _variable; }
set { _variable = value; }
}


[Required]
public string RegistryKey
{
get { return _registryKey; }
set { _registryKey = value; }
}


[Output]
public string RegistryValue
{
get { return _registryKeyValue; }
set { _registryKeyValue = value; }
}


public override bool Execute()
{
if (_registryKeyValue != null)
{
RegistryKey key = Registry.CurrentUser.OpenSubKey(_registryKey);
if(key != null)
key.SetValue("Default",
_registryKeyValue, RegistryValueKind.String);
else
Log.LogMessage(MessageImportance.Normal,
"No key by that name : " + _registryKey);
}
else
{
RegistryKey key = Registry.CurrentUser.OpenSubKey(_registryKey);
if (key.GetValue("Default") != null)
{
_registryKeyValue = (string)key.GetValue("Default");
Log.LogMessage(MessageImportance.Normal,
"the variable value is : "
+ _registryKeyValue);
}
}
return true;
}
}
}

There is a also a third party tool which I have found very useful for Zipping files into a single zip file, the MSBuild
Zip utility is not usefult enough. It can be downloaded from an opensourse project MSBuildTasks. The download
provides the dll with the functionality, a targets file to import into you project file to point to the dll and a
help file. In my case I used
<target name="All">
<calltarget targets="Build">
<calltarget targets="Zip">
</calltarget>
</calltarget>
</target>

<itemgroup>
<zipfiles include="Templates\MyTemplate.vstemplate">
<itemgroup>
<target name="Zip">
<zip workingdirectory="Templates" files="@(ZipFiles)" zipfilename="Templates\MyDevenv.zip"><copy sourcefiles="@(ZipToCopy)" destinationfolder="">

<output taskparameter="CopiedFiles" itemname="SuccessfullyCopiedFiles">
</output>
<itemgroup>
<zipfiles include="Templates\MyTemplate.vstemplate">
<itemgroup>
<target name="Zip">
<zip workingdirectory="Templates" files="@(ZipFiles)" zipfilename="Templates\MyDevenv.zip">




In order to direct the output messages of the BuildTask to the correct tab in the output console of
Visual Studio you need to follow a particular string format, Errors get filtered to the Error List in the Console window.

MSBuild / Visual Studio aware error messages and message formats