Custom Before/After Build Steps in the Build Lab in .NET

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Custom Before/After Build Steps in the Build Lab
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There are scenarios when you would like to execute a set of steps before or after a build executes, but only on certain machines. For example, on build machines you may want to encrypt con g les, or obfuscate your code every time a Visual Studio project is built. The Microsoft.Common.targets le exposes this functionality. Inside that le there are two import statements, one at the very top and the other at the very end, which are:
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<Import Project="$(CustomBeforeMicrosoftCommonTargets)" Condition="Exists('$(CustomBeforeMicrosoftCommonTargets)')"/> <Import Project="$(CustomAfterMicrosoftCommonTargets)" Condition="Exists('$(CustomAfterMicrosoftCommonTargets)')"/>
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Part IV
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MSBuild Cookbook
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These statements will import a le, if it exists, at the locations contained in the CustomBeforeMicrosoftCommonTargets and CustomAfterMicrosoftCommonTargets if they exist on disk. The default values for these locations are %MSBuildExtensionsPath%\vNNNN\ Custom.Before.Microsoft.Common.targets AND %PROGRAM_FILES%\MSBuild\vNNNN\ Custom.After.Microsoft.Common.targets, where NNNN is either 2.0 or 3.5 depending on your tools version. If you place an MSBuild le at either of those locations it will be picked up at the appropriate time. If you do create such les, keep in mind that they will be processed by every build of a managed Visual Studio project that is executed on that machine. Also it is worth noting that because you can have only one le imported before, or after, it is not typically useful to share various customizations. You can also override the properties CustomBeforeMicrosoftCommonTargets and CustomAfterMicrosoftCommonTargets to point to other locations. When you override these values you should always provide the full path to the les. If you want the override to be machine-wide then you could create these as environment variables. For a demonstration, I have created the following le, CustomAfter.proj.
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<Project xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/developer/msbuild/2003" ToolsVersion="3.5"> <!-Insert custom steps into the build process --> <PropertyGroup> <BuildDependsOn> CustomBefore; $(BuildDependsOn); CustomAfter; </BuildDependsOn> </PropertyGroup> <Target Name="CustomBefore"> <Message Text="Inside CustomBefore" Importance="high" /> </Target> <Target Name="CustomAfter"> <Message Text="Inside CustomAfter" Importance="high" /> </Target> </Project>
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In this le, I extend the build process by injecting the CustomBefore and targets into the build dependency list. From the C:\Data\MSBuildExamples\WindowsApplication4 directory the following command was executed:
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msbuild WindowsApplication4.csproj /p:CustomAfterMicrosoftCommonTargets=C:\Data\MSBuildExamples\CustomAfter.proj
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The end of the build is shown in Figure 8-2. From Figure 8-2, you can see that the targets were successfully injected into the build process and executed at the appropriate time. I chose to override the CustomAfterMicrosoftCommonTargets property from the command line for this example (because I don t want this to execute with every
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8
Practical Applications, Part 1
FIGURE 8-2 External build customization demonstration
Visual Studio project build), but you could have placed this le in the previously mentioned location to have it automatically executed. If you do use this procedure, keep in mind that if you need to inject steps into the build process using the technique shown here, you must do this in the After targets le, not the Before targets le. If you override a property such as BuildDependsOn in a le that is imported in the Before targets le, then it will be overridden by the value contained in Microsoft.Common.targets itself.
Handling Errors
As you create project les you may need to perform some custom steps in the case that an error occurs. MSBuild has a speci c element that can be used for this exact task. This is the OnError element. If you use the OnError element it must be the last element found inside the Target element that contains it. If this is not the case, then the build will be stopped before any target is executed. Some good examples of when you may want to use this are: to free resources that may have been taken by a previous target, send an email alert that the build has failed, create a work item to track the failed build, or undo checkout The VB.NET/C# build process uses this to run build events that are supposed to be executed on compilation error. Team Build uses the OnError element in two places: in the CallCompile and CoreTest targets. If an error occurs, then either the SetBuildBreakProperties or SetTestBreakProperties target is called. Following this the OnBuildBreak target is executed to create a failure work item that will be assigned to a team member. The OnError element has a parameter ExecuteTargets, which contains one or more targets that should be executed if the target fails. If you specify more than one target, then the value should be a semicolon delimited list. Targets will be executed in the sequence that they are declared in the ExecuteTargets list. In the le HandleError01.proj, we demonstrate using this element. The contents of this le are shown in the following snippet.
<Project xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/developer/msbuild/2003" DefaultTargets="Build"> <Target Name="Build">
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