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Builds During Application Development

A solution and its individual projects are typically built and tested in a Debug build. Developers will compile a Debug build repeatedly, at each step in their development process. Debugging is a two-step process. First, compile-time errors are corrected. These errors can include incorrect syntax, misspelled keywords, and type mismatches. Next, the debugger is used to detect and correct such problems as logic errors and semantic errors that are detected at run-time.

When a project or solution is fully developed and sufficiently debugged, its components are compiled in a Release build. By default, a Release build employs various optimizations. Builds that are optimized are designed to be smaller and run faster than builds that have not been optimized. For more information on optimization, see Optimizations, Configuration Properties, <Projectname> Property Pages Dialog Box.

Selecting and Editing Build Configurations

Use the Project Property Pages dialog box to define project configurations, which are sets of properties for each supported combination of build and platform (for example, Debug .NET or Release Win32). Each project configuration appends to the Common project properties various Configuration properties specific to one kind of build on one platform. These properties determine which components of the project will be built and deployed, and how the project will be optimized. For more information, see <Projectname> Property Pages Dialog Box and Editing Project Properties.

Use the Solution Property Pages dialog box to define Common and Configuration properties for your solution. The Common properties include settings for Startup Project and Project Dependencies. The Configuration properties include drop-down menus listing kinds of project configurations and platforms available, and check boxes for selecting those projects to be built and (if enabled) to be deployed. The combination of project configuration and the platform chosen determines the project build configuration to be used. For more information, see Solution Property Pages Dialog Box.

Use the Solution Configurations drop-down list in the Standard toolbar to select the active solution build configuration, and to open the Configuration Manager dialog box. You also can access the Configuration Manager from the Solution Property Pages dialog box and the <Projectname> Property Pages dialog boxes.

Use the Configuration Manager dialog box to select and edit solution build configurations and rename or remove project configurations. You can create your own special builds, such as a QA build configuration for testers, or a personal build configuration to try out some preliminary code. For more information, see Configuration Manager Dialog Box.

Deploying Solutions

When you are ready to compile your solution's components and distribute the finished application to your users, you will often want to add a setup or deployment project. This type of project bundles the entire solution within a Microsoft Installer file, making it easy for users to install your application.

Each deployment project can be as selective as you wish, identifying certain components for deployment (for example, to be distributed to a testing server) while leaving others on the source machine. For more information about deploying and distributing your finished application, see Deploying Applications.

See Also

Default and Custom Builds | Build Configurations | Configuration Manager Dialog Box | Projects as Containers | Project Properties | C/C++ Building Reference | Build, Configuration Settings, <Projectname> Property Pages Dialog Box | Devenv Command Line Switches | Setting Visual Basic Project Properties | Editing Project Properties