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BenVillalobos /
Created Jul 18, 2022
Hooking Into SetPlatform Negotiation

Say you want to modify each project reference once you know what platforms it can build as, the only place to do it (before PlatformNegotiation kicks in) is...

BeforeTargets=_GetProjectReferencePlatformProperties AfterTargets=_GetProjectReferenceTargetFrameworkProperties

_GetProjectReferenceTargetFrameworkProperties is the target that calls MSBuild on a project reference to gather its information (and see what it would build as). Only AFTER this target you can mess with ProjectReferences while understanding what they can build as.

If you target runs between the two above, you should have an _MSBuildProjectReferenceExistent item you can mess around with.

BenVillalobos /
Last active Jul 5, 2022
sdk properties for build outputs: the canonical ones for exe's and dll's

The Output Dll (regular builds)

$(TargetPath) The full path to the main dll $(TargetFileName) (TargetPath without the path) `$()

The Output Exe (apphost)

$(TargetDir)$(AssemblyName)$(_NativeExecutableExtension) is the canonical construction of the shipping executable. Verified this in a build using /p: SelfContained=true. Crtl+f through SDK targets for <RunCommand, which was suggested to me as the canonical way the SDK constructs it.


Including Generated Files Into Your Build

In any given build, files that get generated during the build behave differently from static files (eg. source files). For this reason, it's important to understand How MSBuild Builds Projects. I'll cover the main two phases here at a high level.

Evaluation Phase

  • MSBuild reads your project, imports everything, creates Properties, expands globs for Items outside of Targets, and sets up the build process.

Execution Phase

  • MSBuild runs Targets & Tasks with the provided Properties & Items in order to perform the build.

Key Takeaway: Files generated during execution don't exist during evaluation, therefore they aren't included in the build process.

BenVillalobos /
Last active Aug 10, 2021
Inline UsingTask Template
<UsingTask TaskName="Foo.Bar" TaskFactory="RoslynCodeTaskFactory" AssemblyFile="$(MSBuildToolsPath)\Microsoft.Build.Tasks.Core.dll">
      <AnnotatedProjects ParameterType="Microsoft.Build.Framework.ITaskItem[]" Required="true" />
      <ParentProjectPlatform ParameterType="System.String" Required="true" />
      <PlatformLookupTable ParameterType="System.String" Required="false" />
      <AssignedProjectsWithPlatform ParameterType="Microsoft.Build.Framework.ITaskItem[]" Output="true" />
View Commits Where I learned Something
Turning chars into its integer hex representation:
More insight on how MSBuild logging works:
Comment explaining default excludes in sdk-style projects:
BenVillalobos /
Created Jul 21, 2020
Debugging Node Communication in MSBuild

Debugging Node Communication in MSBuild

To capture logs of how MSBuild nodes talk to each other:

  2. Set MSBUILDDEBUGPATH=<some_folder_path>
  3. Run your scenario
  4. The node communication traces should exist in the folder you specified.
BenVillalobos /
Last active May 26, 2020
Known values for TargetFrameworkIdentifier

[5/21 4:03 PM] David Kean The format is; [Identifier], Version=v[Version], Profile=[Profile] where profile is optional.

Valid identifier values off the top my head:




BenVillalobos /
Last active Feb 24, 2021
How MSBuild Manifest Resource Naming Works

Manifest Resource Names and You!

For explicit information on how resource names are chosen, see this dotnet docs issue.

This gist is meant to be a slightly higher level explanation on how resource names are used. Mostly I'm just documenting as much context as possible before I forget.

So we start with some Foo.resx

That Foo.resx will get passed to a few tasks in different forms throughout the build.

Relevant tasks: