A command line launcher for Invoke-Build, with a simple NuGet plugin convention for easy distribution of common scripts
PowerShell Batchfile C#
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A PowerShell task runner based on Invoke-Build. Invoke-Build is a build and test automation tool which invokes tasks defined in PowerShell scripts. It is similar to psake but arguably easier to use and more powerful.

PowerTasks was created in order to remove the boilerplate code from your build scripts. It's called PowerTasks instead of PowerBuild because it's a generic task runner rather than just a build runner. The inspiration for creating a task runner based on PowerShell was born from some of the ideas talked about in these blog posts:

By having your build scripts be simple shell scripts checked in with your source code, you can execute a build on your developer machine exactly as it does on your continuous integration server. This also means that your continuous integration server doesn't need to be very full featured - it only needs to be able to execute a shell script - and that also allows you to switch between different continuous integration servers easily.

PowerTasks is designed to work without needing to check your NuGet packages into source control. To enable this, a Windows batch file is added to your solution folder when you install PowerTasks. The purpose of this batch file (pt.bat) is to:

  1. Download NuGet.exe if it isn't already in your PATH or in in %LocalAppData%\NuGet
  2. Execute NuGet package restore for the solution
  3. Dot source the provided common helper functions in Functions.ps1 for use in your tasks
  4. Set the current location to the location of your startup project (the project you should install PowerTasks into)
  5. Set a $basePath variable which is the relative path from your startup project to the solution folder
  6. Set a $projectName variable which is the name of your startup project
  7. Set a $packagesPath variable which is the relative path from your startup project to the NuGet packages folder
  8. Set a $invokeBuildPath variable which is the relative path from your startup project to the Invoke-Build package which PowerTasks depends on
  9. Execute Invoke-Build on the .Tasks.ps1 file that was added to your startup project when you installed PowerTasks, passing all command line arguments along to Invoke-Build
  10. Propagate the exit code from your task(s) back to the shell

This batch file should not be hand-edited and will be replaced when updating PowerTasks to a newer version.


You can install PowerTasks from NuGet. The PowerTasks package and its plugins have been defined as developer dependencies so that if you are building a NuGet package from your project they don't get added as dependencies in your NuGet package.

Writing your own tasks

Upon installing PowerTasks into your startup project, a PowerShell script file named .Tasks.ps1 is included in the project. It has been prefixed with a dot so that it always appears as the first file in your project. This is where you should define your tasks. By default, this file contains a single line of script which is a function call to include "plugin" scripts, which will be explained later in this readme. If you are not using any plugins, you can go ahead and remove this line, but it will do no harm to leave it there.

For help defining your own tasks, refer to the documentation of Invoke-Build.


To further reduce the amount of boilerplate code in your build scripts, a set of tasks have been defined as "plugins" for PowerTasks. These are available as separate NuGet packages.

When you have one or more of these plugin packages installed in your project, they get loaded via dot sourcing by invoking a function named Include-PluginScripts in your .Tasks.ps1 file. This is done by convention, where the only requirement of a "plugin" is that its package id starts with "PowerTasks.Plugins.*" and that it deploys the script(s) that are intended to be dot sourced, as files with an extension of .ps1 in a folder named scripts.

If you find yourself writing the same tasks over and over again, you should consider creating a plugin package of your own. You are free to do this as you please and if you feel that the task is very generic and potentially useful to others, then you should consider hosting it on NuGet for others to use.

If you do choose to host a plugin package on NuGet, then it is up to you whether you host the code in your own source code repository, or submit a pull request to get it into this repository. Otherwise, you can create your own plugin packages that are specific to your use case or that contain intellectual property which you would like to keep private, in which case you would host the packages in a private NuGet feed.