Building External Projects
An external project is a Visual C++ project that uses a makefile or other facilities that are outside (foreign or external to) the Visual C++ development environment.
If you have an external project (for example, a makefile project) that you want to build in the Visual C++ development environment, create a Makefile project and specify your project's build command and output in the Makefile Application Wizard. For more information, see Creating a Makefile Project.
Note that Visual C++ no longer supports the ability to export a makefile for the active project from the development environment. Use Devenv Command Line Switches to build Visual Studio projects at the command line.