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Inside the Microsoft Build Engine 2nd Edition [Paperback]

Sayed Ibrahim Hashimi , William Bartholomew

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Book Description

18 Jan 2011 0735645248 978-0735645240 2

As software complexity increases, proper build practices become ever more important. This essential reference-fully updated for Visual Studio 2010-drills inside MSBuild and shows you how to maximize your control over the build and deployment process. Learn how to customize and extend build processes with MSBuild-and scale them to the team, product, or enterprise level with Team Foundation Build.

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Product Description

About the Author

Sayed Ibrahim Hashimi is a consultant, trainer, and senior software developer who has designed large-scale, distributed applications using a variety of programming languages and platforms, including Microsoft .NET, C++, and Java. This is his third book on MSBuild.

William Bartholomew is a software development engineer at Microsoft Corporation in Redmond, WA. He is a member of the Developer Division Engineering Systems group, which includes the build lab responsible for building and shipping Microsoft Visual Studio®.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.8 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kindle Users: Carefully Buy the Right Version of This Book! 19 July 2011
By Davin Mickelson - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
First off, this is a fantastic book. I used the 1st edition with TFS 2008. This new edition includes great content for the new, completely revamped, build workflow process in TFS 2010.

However, as a new Kindle user, when I went to purchase the second edition, I ended up with the wrong one. After returning it via the Amazon Kindle return process (which is pretty painless), I was able to get the correct version. I wish Amazon had a better way of classifying/naming their book versions. They should call the Kindle versions "Version 1" and Version 2" to coincide with the book versions. Instead, there is the regular Kindle version (which is the new one!) and the Kindle "November 11, 2009" edition. Hover your mouse cursor over the Kindle links to see which picture appears. If you want the newer edition, be sure to click on the Kindle link with a "2" appearing in the picture of the cover.

As with any IT books for the Kindle, watch for missing content. I've been seeing this problem with a lot of IT books from Amazon. Maybe we need to create a web site called or a way (unknown to me!) to report Kindle errors to Amazon so they can fix it.

So far, no problems with this book. Big thumbs up!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 2nd Edition: Practical Features are Covered 20 Jun 2012
By Richard Ruge - Published on
Overall the book has a lot of MSBuild detail, it fills in many gaps that are missing from Microsoft's documentation, and it demonstrates some practical features that anyone using MSBuild would find useful. This is for the developer or build master that would like to learn a little or a lot more on tweaking the MSBuild engine. The authors know MSBuild very well and provide example after example of good practices when putting together an MSBuild (XML) project file.

If you didn't already know it, MSBuild is an effective way to "script" the build using XML markup based on Commontypes.xsd and Core.xsd Schema Definitions. This means Intellisense is available when working with the XML project file's markup.

Although it's labeled as an Intermediate/Advanced book, the Quick Start sections found throughout the book are very helpful at any level. These have some "Hello World" examples that quickly illustrate some of the features that MSBuild has. As you are ready for more material and detail, the authors' Deep Dive chapters drill into the specifics.

The book is well organized into seven parts and literally covers about a hundred topics. The authors also did well with the table of contents. Quickly find the general subject then drill down and find your specific topic. That works well when you have a vague idea of the task you need. Each topic is sort of a "build use case" with MSBuild and a way to help form the build process to meet your needs.

Also covered is setting up custom tasks and logs of the build. MSBuild has two loggers out of the box: Console and File Logging. With logging, you can extend MSBuild by implementing your own ILogger interface using .NET code. For example, writing to a database. MSBuild takes another step up with an event handling system. So you can tie into key build events, perform an operation, then return from a hand-coded event handler.

I consider this a well-rounded and complete guide to the MSBuild tool that comes with Visual Studio .NET. It's a good reference book to help control a very powerful build engine. The documentation from Microsoft is very terse with no How-To sections. This book is a long list of How-To topics using MSBuild.

Note: Originally published by the Denver Visual Studio User Group at [..]
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great reference, examples , and support! 5 Mar 2012
By Software Carpenter - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a great reference to understanding MSbuild and the other Microsoft technology that depends on it. Even if you do not use TFS in your build cycle this is a must have book.
4.0 out of 5 stars Deep technical reference for MsBuild and Team Build 26 Feb 2013
By J. Houwing - Published on
When you're doing the deep dive into MsBuild or Team Build, especially around extending the existing build process, this book is a must have. Even though there are a few great examples in here, I regard it mostly as a reference guide. If you want practical examples on how to extend the build process using existing content, then I strongly recommend the ALM Ranger Guidance on Build Customization as well. They make a great combination.

The first half of the book, on MsBuild, should be read by all .NET developers so that they actually understand the way the project files in Visual Studio work, how they can extend the build processes with simple hooks, such as tasks and post build event efficiently.

The second half of the book, on Team Build, I found a little harder to place. A team working on Continuous Integration and Deployment surely will benefit from the knowledge on the Workflow engine, but newer items such as MsDeploy and Azure aren't covered at all. So it's mostly a theoretical business. Having a firm knowledge on Workflow Foundation and Xaml is really helpful in this area as well.

All in all, a great book, a great reference. Combine it with the Microsoft ALM Ranger guidance for Build Customization to have a complete picture.
5.0 out of 5 stars MSBuild unmystified 5 May 2011
By salsabytes - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is an absolute must if you want to do anything useful in MSBuild. There is a baffling lack of MSBuild documentation on MSDN and there are not enough examples and tutorials in blogs to fill in MSDN's vast documentation gap. Buy this book if you need to learn the basics and inner workings of:

+ How and when projects and imports are parsed and processed
+ How and when properties and items are evaluated
+ How target and task batching work
+ How to chain targets together
+ How to create incremental builds
+ How to integrate other tools into MSBuild
+ How to write your own custom tasks when MSBuild lacks the expressive power.

This book leaves nothing unexplained. If you have any MSBuild questions at all, this book will answer them.
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