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PSBuild: Like MSBuild on Steroids

PSBuild acts as a PowerShell wrapper for the Microsoft Build Engine.

Sayed Hashimi, a program manager with the ASP.NET team, has been working on a personal project that allows for making calls to the Microsoft Build Engine -- via PowerShell. We likened his project, PSBuild, to an"'MSBuild on steroids," but Hashimi said it's simply "a wrapper on top of msbuild.exe ... It makes it simpler to call msbuild.exe and also provides some extra value on top of it."

Psbuild, which is available through GitHub, has the decided advantage of being able to recreate the msbuild process via PowerShell commands. "This is especially useful if you are creating a NuGet package and need to modify the project and don't understand MSBuild APIs," said Hashimi.

When invoked, Hashimi said it uses the latest msbuild.exe residing on the target system by default. It sports a number of key features:

  • PowerShell-friendly interface (i.e. supports piping, passing in objects, etc)
  • Can support multi-core builds by default
  • Able to log diagnostics data for each build
  • Functions within psbuild adds functions for manipulating/reporting build diagnostics
  • Supports "default" properties

Hashimi has also built helper functions for reserved property names and escape characters that he said he's "constantly having to look up when I'm authoring MSBuild files."

He's also looking for help on the project, so if you're so inclined, you can find out more at https://github.com/ligershark/psbuild.

About the Author

You Tell 'Em, Readers: If you've read this far, know that Michael Domingo, Visual Studio Magazine Editor in Chief, is here to serve you, dear readers, and wants to get you the information you so richly deserve. What news, content, topics, issues do you want to see covered in Visual Studio Magazine? He's listening at mdomingo@1105media.com.

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