MSBuild SDK package for SDK-style .NET solution projects (.slnproj)
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README.md

Sdk-style solution file (.slnproj)

MSBuild.SolutionSdk is the equivalent of the new csproj "sdk-style" format applied to sln files.

With MSBuild.SolutionSdk, the content of a solution file can be as lean as this:

<Project Sdk="MSBuild.SolutionSdk/X.X.X" />

X.X.X represent the latest version of the MSBuild.SolutionSdk NuGet package.

Building a .slnproj

A .slnproj file is a standard msbuild project, the command line build experience is the same as a .sln file.

The default properties are Configuration=Debug;Platform=AnyCPU and the default target is Build.

msbuild MySolution.slnproj
msbuild MySolution.slnproj /p:Configuration=Release /t:Rebuild

The supported targets are:

  • Build
  • Clean
  • Rebuild
  • Restore
  • Publish
  • ListProjects

Comparison with sln files

Slnproj may not be meant for you if you only work in Visual Studio since they are not supported*, but it can be an interesting choice for working with VS Code or creating build-only solution files.

.slnproj

Pros Cons
Readable/editable file format Not supported by Visual Studio*
Easy to merge in source control
Sane and powerful configuration management

.sln

Pros Cons
Supported by Visual Studio Nearly impossible to edit without tool
 Hard to merge in source control conflicts
 Configuration management impossible without tool
 Even with tool configuration management is limited

* .slnproj can work with "Visual Studio -> Open Folder"

Examples

The defaults

<Project Sdk="MSBuild.SolutionSdk/X.X.X" />

By default, all csproj/vbproj/fsproj/vcxproj under the folder hierarchy of the solution file will be included in the solution. For simple solutions, the .slnproj file may never have to be edited again.

Explicit project inclusion

<Project Sdk="MSBuild.SolutionSdk/X.X.X">

    <PropertyGroup>
        <EnableDefaultProjectItems>false</EnableDefaultProjectItems>
    </PropertyGroup>

    <ItemGroup>
        <Project Include="ProjectA\ProjectA.csproj" />
        <Project Include="ProjectB\ProjectB.csproj" />
    </ItemGroup>

</Project>

This .slnproj disabled automatic project include by setting the EnableDefaultProjectItems property to false. Projects can then be added by specifying Project elements in an ItemGroup.

Custom configuration management

<Project Sdk="MSBuild.SolutionSdk/X.X.X">

    <ItemGroup Condition="'$(Configuration)' == 'Debug'">
        <Project Update="ProjectA\ProjectA.csproj" Configuration="windows-debug" />
    </ItemGroup>

</Project>

Here, the Debug configuration is overriden by windows-debug for ProjectA.csproj.

Build a project twice

<Project Sdk="MSBuild.SolutionSdk/X.X.X">

    <PropertyGroup>
        <EnableDefaultProjectItems>false</EnableDefaultProjectItems>
    </PropertyGroup>

    <ItemGroup Condition="'$(Configuration)' == 'Debug'">
        <Project Include="ProjectA\ProjectA.csproj" Configuration="windows-debug" />
        <Project Include="ProjectA\ProjectA.csproj" Configuration="linux-debug" />
    </ItemGroup>

    <ItemGroup Condition="'$(Configuration)' == 'Release'">
        <Project Include="ProjectA\ProjectA.csproj" Configuration="windows-release" />
        <Project Include="ProjectA\ProjectA.csproj" Configuration="linux-release" />
    </ItemGroup>

</Project>

You can include the same project multiple times with different metadata to build different savor of the same project with a single msbuild command.

Declaring project dependencies

<Project Sdk="MSBuild.SolutionSdk/X.X.X">

    <PropertyGroup>
        <EnableDefaultProjectItems>false</EnableDefaultProjectItems>
    </PropertyGroup>

    <ItemGroup>
        <Project Include="ProjectA\ProjectA.csproj" />
        <Project Include="ProjectB\ProjectB.csproj" DependsOn="ProjectA" />
    </ItemGroup>

</Project>

The build order is normally enforced by ProjectReference. Otherwise, explicit project dependencies can be declared to enforce a custom build order.

Automatically skipping unsupported configurations and platforms

You may have defined custom build configurations that not every project in your solution implements. You would typically go in the Visual Studio Configuration Manager and uncheck those projects to prevent them from building.

This is done automatically by .slnproj, but you need to add a PackageReference to all projects (ideally declared once in Directory.Build.props).

    <PackageReference Include="MSBuild.SolutionSdk.Hook" Version="X.X.X" />

Roadmap

  • Full documentation
  • Integrate with SlnGen

Open Questions

  • Should the Sdk import and extends Microsoft.Common props & targets?
  • Otherwise, should it import Directory.Build props & targets?