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MSBuild Split Off from .NET Framework

It's also being packaged as part of a separate product.

Microsoft has de-coupled MSBuild from the .NET Framework, shipping it as part of Visual Studio beginning with the upcoming version, Visual Studio 2013.

Will Buik, a program manager with the Visual Studio team, discussed the change in a Visual Studio Blog posting today. In addition to breaking from .NET dependence, Microsoft is also creating a new product combining MSBuild and the VB/C# compilers into a standalone, free package called Microsoft Build Tools. This package will also be installed with VS 2013, but is available without Visual Studio as well.

Buik wrote that the change doesn't affect older versions of MSBuild and .NET:

"MSBuild 4.5 is still part of the .NET 4.5.1 Framework. The Framework's MSBuild will still be used by Visual Studio 2012, and is able to build any projects that round trip from Visual Studio 2013 to Visual Studio 2012. However, future innovation, new features, and support for new project types will not be ported to the Framework MSBuild."

The separation was done, Buik said, to allow Microsoft to "more rapidly evolve MSBuild." It gives developers more control over build behavior without worrying about the effect on the build of .NET.

It does come at a price, however. Numerous changes will be required, including new locations for the binaries. Buik spells out in detail where the new paths are; Microsoft has added a new method, GetPathToBuildToolsFile, to the ToolLocationHelper class.

Buik also noted that since MSBuild 2013 isn't a .NET component, it will be found in the Extensions tab for assemblies once it's installed.

About the Author

Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Virtualization & Cloud Review. Follow him on Twitter @VirtReviewKeith.

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