You can use Visual Studio to build applications and to create assemblies and executable programs at frequent intervals during a development cycle. By building your code often, you can identify compile-time errors, such as incorrect syntax, misspelled keywords, and type mismatches, earlier. You can also detect and correct run-time errors, such as logic errors and semantic errors, by frequently building and running debug versions of the code.
When you have fully developed and sufficiently debugged a project or solution, you can compile its components in a Release build. By default, a Release build is optimized and designed to be smaller and run faster than a debug version. For more information, see Walkthrough: Building an Application.
You can build an application by using the default build options in the IDE, at a command prompt, or by using Team Foundation Build. Each of these options use MSBuild as the underlying technology, and each approach has specific benefits, as the following table shows.
For more information
Using the IDE
Running an MSBuild command line
Using Team Foundation Build
When you create a project, default build configurations are defined for it, and a solution build configuration is assigned to it to provide context for builds. Solution configurations define how the projects in solution are built and deployed. Project configurations are a set of project properties that are unique for a platform and build type (for example, Release Win32). You can edit these default configurations, and you can create your own configurations. For more information, see Introduction to the Project Designer and How to: Modify Project Properties and Configuration Settings.
From within the IDE, you can perform the following additional tasks:
Improve build performance by using parallel builds. For more information, see Building Multiple Projects in Parallel with MSBuild or the blog post Tuning C++ build parallelism.