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trailway 10-15-2009 07:57 AM

Incremental builds
I have Visual Build project which consists of a set of Visual Studio build steps. For the sake of argument, let's say that there are 3 steps which build DLLs such at 3 depends on 2 and 2 depends on 1. So... the steps are built in order 1, 2, 3 - no problem.

The thing that I want to do is to move to an incremental build process, i.e. only build if required. That is certainly possible using in Visual Build and Visual Studio. When a component builds what actually happens is that Visual Studio unregisters the previous component, builds it, and then reregisters it.

The problem I have is that the unregistration can fail. For example, if I change an interface in component 1 then when component 3 tries to unregister the previous version it will fail in Visual Studio. The failure can be overcome but it breaks my automated build process which is unacceptable.

I get errors like "c:\WINDOWS\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v3.5\Microsoft. Common.targets(928,9): error MSB3395: Cannot unregister assembly...".

I am thinking that the only option is to unregister everything at the start and then have an explicit register step after each Visual Studio step. That way I can be sure that the component is registered whether or not it built.

Am I in the weeds? Any suggestions?

kinook 10-15-2009 08:15 AM

Some possibilities:

trailway 10-15-2009 08:49 AM

I do not believe that the error is a Microsoft bug. I think that it is simply a dependency ordering problem and wondered if anyone else had developed some technique to handle this pattern.

This is the bld file which is a set of 3 Visual Studio build steps
1) Unregister1, build1, register1
2) Unregister2, build2, register2
3) Unregister3, build3, register3

The unregister, build, register is what Visual Studio itself does when the Visual Build step executes.

In order to rebuild this what I think I need is:
1) Unregister * (3 then 2 then 1)
2) Build 1
3) Register 1
4) Build 2
5) Register 2
6) Build 3
7) Register 3

Note that I have to have a register step after each build step because the build is conditional in the sense that it may not execute because it is already update-to-date.

Does anyone else do this?

kinook 10-15-2009 10:12 AM

I think you could achieve this by disabling 'Register for COM Interop', using the COM Register+Process Files actions in VBP to unregister, and calling RegAsm.exe to register from post-build events in VS.

trailway 10-22-2009 11:52 AM

Does anyone know if there is a way that I can pass a parameter to MSBuild which tells is to execute the UnmanagedRegistration target?

What I like to have is a "Make VS 2008" build step which builds only if required but always registers for COM interop if this was set in the project.

In order to understand this, I tried to just add an MSBuild build step with this target but executing it did not do the registration. I also tried setting the Platform and Configuration properties but that did not cut it as well. I'm thinking that the problem relates to the dependency machine but I am such a MSBuild newbie that the answer is not obvious to me.

trailway 10-23-2009 09:01 AM

I figured my problem out. Visual Studio creates a file ProjectName.csproj.UnmanagedRegistration.cache and the existence of this file implies that the project has already performed registration. So, simply removing the file and then building causes Visual Studio to register it again.

All this logic is in the Microsoft.Common.targets file which the MSBuild uses.

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