MSBuild Concepts

For the latest documentation on Visual Studio 2017 RC, see Visual Studio 2017 RC Documentation.

MSBuild provides a basic XML schema that you can use to control how the build platform builds software. To specify the components in the build and how they are to be built, use these four parts of MSBuild: properties, items, tasks, and targets.

MSBuild PropertiesIntroduces properties and property collections. Properties are key/value pairs that you can use to configure builds.
ItemsDescribes the general concepts behind the MSBuild file format and how the pieces fit together.
TargetsExplains how to group tasks together in a particular order and enable sections of the build process to be called on the command line.
TasksShows how to create a unit of executable code that can be used by MSBuild to perform atomic build operations.
Comparing Properties and ItemsCompares MSBuild properties and items. Both are used to pass information to tasks, evaluate conditions, and store values that can be referenced throughout the project file.
MSBuild Special CharactersExplains how to escape some characters that MSBuild reserves for special use in specific contexts.
Walkthrough: Creating an MSBuild Project File from ScratchShows how to create a basic project file incrementally, by using only a text editor.
Walkthrough: Using MSBuildIntroduces the building blocks of MSBuild and shows how to write, manipulate, and debug MSBuild projects without closing the Visual Studio integrated development environment (IDE).
MSBuild ReferenceLinks to documents that contain reference information.
MSBuildPresents an overview of the XML schema for a project file and shows how it controls processes that builds software.