Target Overriding in MSBuild

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Target Overriding in MSBuild

25 Apr, 2008

Based on my last post, I have decided my course of action should be to attempt to override the _ResolveReferences target supplied to me by Web Deployment targets build file.

A quick Google search lead me to Jomo Fisher's blog post titled "Hack the Build: Target Overriding Step-by-Step". A quick read through and I was ready to proceed.

First I opened the Microsoft.WebDeployment.targets file provided by they Web Deployment project. The default location of this file is C:\Program Files\MSBuild\Microsoft\WebDeployment\v8.0\ . I copied the target xml for resolving references to the clipboard.

Next I opened my solution, right clicked on my web deployment project and selected Open Project File. This opens the MSBuild script file for the specific project I wish to override a target in. This is an important distinction because placing the override in the main TFSBuild.proj file is to late in the build process and will net you nothing.

I then pasted my new target into the project file near the end. My new target looks like this:

  <Target Name="_ResolveReferences"
        <Message Text="Overriden in NAMESPACE.Service Web Deployment Project." />
        <CreateItem Include="$(_FullSourceWebDir)\Bin\*.refresh">
            <Output TaskParameter="Include" ItemName="References_RefreshFile" />
        <ReadLinesFromFile File="%(References_RefreshFile.Identity)"
                           Condition=" '%(References_RefreshFile.Identity)' != '' ">
            <Output TaskParameter="Lines" ItemName="References_ReferenceRelPath" />
        <CombinePath BasePath="$(_FullSourceWebDir)" Paths="@(References_ReferenceRelPath)">
            <Output TaskParameter="CombinedPaths" ItemName="References" />
        <Copy SourceFiles="@(References->'%(FullPath)')"
              Condition="!Exists('%(References.Identity)')" ContinueOnError="true" />
        <ResolveAssemblyReference Assemblies="@(References->'%(FullPath)')"
            <Output TaskParameter="CopyLocalFiles" ItemName="References_CopyLocalFiles" />
        <Copy SourceFiles="@(References_CopyLocalFiles)"
              DestinationFiles="@(References_CopyLocalFiles->'$(_FullSourceWebDir)\Bin\%(DestinationSubDirectory)%(Filename)%(Extension)')" />
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Bobby Johnson

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I am a passionate engineer with an interest in shipping quality software, building strong collaborative teams and continuous improvement of my skills, team and the product.

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