Code Quality Rank: L1
Programming language: C#
License: MIT License
Tags: Windows     Microsoft     Msbuild     Unix     Mac    
Latest version: v16.8.0-preview

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Microsoft.Build (MSBuild)

The Microsoft Build Engine is a platform for building applications. This engine, also known as MSBuild, provides an XML schema for a project file that controls how the build platform processes and builds software. Visual Studio uses MSBuild, but MSBuild can run without Visual Studio. By invoking msbuild.exe on your project or solution file, you can orchestrate and build products in environments where Visual Studio isn't installed.

For more information on MSBuild, see the MSBuild documentation on docs.microsoft.com.

The [changelog](documentation/Changelog.md) has detailed information about changes made in different releases.

Build Status

The current development branch is main. Changes in main will go into a future update of MSBuild, which will release with Visual Studio 17.0 and a corresponding version of the .NET Core SDK.

Build Status

We have forked for MSBuild 16.11 in the branch vs16.11. Changes to that branch need special approval.

Build Status

MSBuild 16.9 builds from the branch vs16.9. Only high-priority bugfixes will be considered for servicing 16.9.

Build Status

MSBuild 16.7 builds from the branch vs16.7. Only high-priority bugfixes will be considered for servicing 16.7.

Build Status

MSBuild 16.4 builds from the branch vs16.4. Only high-priority bugfixes will be considered for servicing 16.4.

Build Status

MSBuild 15.9 builds from the branch vs15.9. Only very-high-priority bugfixes will be considered for servicing 15.9.


Building MSBuild with Visual Studio 2019 on Windows

For the full supported experience, you will need to have Visual Studio 2019 or higher.

To get started on Visual Studio 2019:

  1. Install Visual Studio 2019. Select the following Workloads:
    • .NET desktop development
    • .NET Core cross-platform development
  2. Open a Developer Command Prompt for VS 2019 prompt.
  3. Clone the source code: git clone https://github.com/dotnet/msbuild
  4. Run .\build.cmd from the root of the repo to build the code. This also restores packages needed to open the projects in Visual Studio.
  5. Open MSBuild.sln or MSBuild.Dev.slnf in Visual Studio 2019.

Note: To create a usable MSBuild with your changes, run .\build.cmd /p:CreateBootstrap=true. To build release, add -c Release: .\build.cmd -c Release /p:CreateBootstrap=true.

This newly-built MSBuild will be located at artifacts\bin\bootstrap\net472\MSBuild\Current\Bin\MSBuild.exe. It may not work for all scenarios, including C++ builds.

Building MSBuild in Unix (Mac & Linux)

MSBuild can be run on Unix systems that support .NET Core. Set-up instructions can be viewed on the wiki: [Building Testing and Debugging on .Net Core MSBuild](documentation/wiki/Building-Testing-and-Debugging-on-.Net-Core-MSBuild.md)


You can turn on localized builds via the /p:LocalizedBuild=true command line argument. For more information on localized builds and how to make contributions to MSBuild's translations, see our [localization documentation](documentation/wiki/Localization.md)

Getting Started

Before you contribute, please read through the contributing and developer guides to get an idea of what kinds of pull requests we accept.

  • [Contributing Guide](documentation/wiki/Contributing-Code.md)

  • Developer Guide on:

    • [.NET Core](documentation/wiki/Building-Testing-and-Debugging-on-.Net-Core-MSBuild.md)
    • [Full Framework](documentation/wiki/Building-Testing-and-Debugging-on-Full-Framework-MSBuild.md)
    • [Mono](documentation/wiki/Building-Testing-and-Debugging-on-Mono-MSBuild.md)

Looking for something to work on? This list of up for grabs issues is a great place to start.

You are also encouraged to start a discussion by filing an issue or creating a gist.

MSBuild Components

  • MSBuild. Microsoft.Build.CommandLine is the entrypoint for the Microsoft Build Engine (MSBuild.exe).

  • Microsoft.Build. The Microsoft.Build namespaces contain types that provide programmatic access to, and control of, the MSBuild engine.

  • Microsoft.Build.Framework. The Microsoft.Build.Framework namespace contains the types that define how tasks and loggers interact with the MSBuild engine. For additional information on this component, see our [Microsoft.Build.Framework wiki page](documentation/wiki/Microsoft.Build.Framework.md).

  • Microsoft.Build.Tasks. The Microsoft.Build.Tasks namespace contains the implementation of all tasks shipping with MSBuild.

  • Microsoft.Build.Utilities. The Microsoft.Build.Utilities namespace provides helper classes that you can use to create your own MSBuild loggers and tasks.


MSBuild is licensed under the [MIT license](LICENSE).

*Note that all licence references and agreements mentioned in the MSBuild README section above are relevant to that project's source code only.