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What is "FAKE - F# Make"?


Modern build automation systems are not limited to simply recompile programs if source code has changed. They are supposed to get the latest sources from a source code management system, build test databases, run automatic tests, check guidelines, create documentation files, install setup projects and much more. Some companies are even deploying virtual machines, which are created during a nightly build process. In order to simplify the writing of such build scripts and to provide reusability of common tasks most build automation systems are using a domain-specific language (DSL). These tools can be divided into tools using external DSLs with a custom syntax like make, tools using external DSLs with an XML based syntax like MSBuild or Apache Ant and tools using internal DSLs which are integrated in a host language like Rake, which uses Ruby.

FAKE - An integrated DSL

"FAKE - F# Make" is a build automation system, which is intended to combine the advantages of the above mentioned tools but to provide a better tooling support. Due to its integration in F#, all benefits of the .NET Framework and functional programming can be used, including the extensive class library, powerful debuggers and integrated development environments like Visual Studio 2008 or SharpDevelop, which provide syntax highlighting and code completion.

The new language was designed to be succinct, typed, declarative, extensible and easy to use. For instance custom build tasks can be added simply by referencing .NET assemblies and using the corresponding classes.

Lastest builds and changelog

You can download the latest builds from You don't need to register, a guest login is ok.

Nuget package

We have a Nuget package at You can install it with:

install-package FAKE

How to contribute code

  • Login in github (you need an account)
  • Fork the main repository from Github
  • Push your changes to your fork
  • Send me a pull request

Mailing list

The "FAKE - F# Make" mailing list can be found at


Main Features

Predefined tasks

  • Clean task
  • NUnit support
  • support
  • MSpec support
  • NCover support
  • FxCop support
  • ExecProcess task (To run tools via the command line)
  • MSBuild task (to compile *.csproj and *.fsproj projects or run MSBuild scripts)
  • XMLRead task
  • VSS task (Get sources from Visual Source Safe)
  • XCopy task
  • Zip task
  • git tasks
  • AssemblyInfo task
  • MSI task (to run msi-setups with msiexec)
  • RegAsm task (to create TLBs from a .dll)
  • ...

Using FAKE


Targets are the main unit of work in a "FAKE - F# Make" script. Targets have a name and an action (given as a code block).

// The clean target cleans the build and deploy folders
Target "Clean" (fun _ -> 
    CleanDirs ["./build/"; "./deploy/"]

Build target order

You can specify the build order using the ==> operator:

// "FAKE - F# Make" will run these targets in the order Clean, BuildApp, Default
  ==> "BuildApp" 
  ==> "Default"

If one target should only be run on a specific condition you can use the =?> operator:

  ==> "BuildApp"
  =?> ("Test",hasBuildParam "test")  // runs the Test target only if FAKE was called with parameter test
  ==> "Default"

It's also possible to specify the dependencies for targets:

// Target Default is dependent from target Clean and BuildApp
// "FAKE - F# Make" will ensure to run these targets before Default
"Default"  <== ["Clean"; "BuildApp"]

Running targets

You can execute targets with the "run"-command:

// Executes Default target
Run "Default"

Final targets

Final target can be used for TearDown functionality. These targets will be executed even if the build fails but have to be activated via ActivateFinalTarget().

// FinalTarget will be excuted even if build fails
FinalTarget "CloseSomePrograms" (fun _ ->
    // close stuff and release resources

// Activate FinalTarget somewhere during build
ActivateFinalTarget "CloseSomePrograms"


"FAKE - F# Make" uses similar include and exclude patterns as NAnt and MSBuild.

File includes

// Includes all *.csproj files under /src/app by using the !+ operator
!+ "src/app/**/*.csproj"

// Includes all *.csproj files under /src/app and /test with the ++ operator
!+ "src/app/**/*.csproj"
  ++ "test/**/*.csproj"

File excludes

// Includes all files under /src/app but excludes *.zip files
!+ "src/app/**/*.*"
  -- "*.zip"

Scan vs. ScanImmediately

"FAKE - F# Make" provides two scan methods: Scan() and ScanImmediately().

Scan is a lazy method and evaluates the FileSet as late as possible ("on-demand"). If the FileSet is used twice, it will be reevaluated.

The following code defines a lazy FileSet:

// Includes all *.csproj files under /src/app and scans them lazy
let apps = 
  !+ "src/app/**/*.csproj"
    |> Scan

The same FileSet by using the !! operator:

// Includes all *.csproj files under /src/app and scans them lazy
let apps = !! "src/app/**/*.csproj"

ScanImmediately() scans the FileSet immediatly at time of its definition and memoizes it.

// Includes all files under /src/app but excludes *.zip files
//    eager scan ==> All files memoized at the time of this definition
let files = 
  !+ "src/app/**/*.csproj"
    -- "*.zip"
    |> ScanImmediately



// define test dlls
let testDlls = !! (testDir + @"/Test.*.dll")

Target "NUnitTest" (fun _ ->
        |> NUnit (fun p -> 
            {p with 
                ToolPath = nunitPath; 
                DisableShadowCopy = true; 
                OutputFile = testDir + "TestResults.xml"})


// define test dlls
let testDlls = !! (testDir + @"/Test.*.dll")

Target "MSpecTest" (fun _ ->
        |> MSpec (fun p -> 
            {p with 
                ExcludeTags = ["LongRunning"]
                HtmlOutputDir = testOutputDir                         
                ToolPath = ".\toools\MSpec\mspec.exe"})

// define test dlls
let testDlls = !! (testDir + @"/Test.*.dll")

Target "xUnitTest" (fun _ ->
        |> xUnit (fun p -> 
            {p with 
                ShadowCopy = false;
                HtmlOutput = true;
                XmlOutput = true;
                OutputDir = testDir })

Sample script

This sample script

  • Assumes "FAKE - F# Make" is located at ./tools/FAKE
  • Assumes NUnit is located at ./tools/NUnit
  • Cleans the build and deploy paths
  • Builds all C# projects below src/app/ and puts the output to .\build
  • Builds all NUnit test projects below src/test/ and puts the output to .\build
  • Uses NUnit to test the generated Test.*.dll's
  • Zips all generated files to deploy\

You can read Getting started with FAKE to build such a script.

// include Fake libs
#I "tools\FAKE"
#r "FakeLib.dll"

open Fake

// Directories
let buildDir  = @".\build\"
let testDir   = @".\test\"
let deployDir = @".\deploy\"

// tools
let nunitPath = @".\Tools\NUnit"
let fxCopRoot = @".\Tools\FxCop\FxCopCmd.exe"

// Filesets
let appReferences  = 
    !+ @"src\app\**\*.csproj" 
      ++ @"src\app\**\*.fsproj" 
        |> Scan

let testReferences = !! @"src\test\**\*.csproj"

// version info
let version = "0.2"  // or retrieve from CI server

// Targets
Target "Clean" (fun _ -> 
    CleanDirs [buildDir; testDir; deployDir]

Target "BuildApp" (fun _ ->
        (fun p -> 
        {p with
            CodeLanguage = CSharp;
            AssemblyVersion = version;
            AssemblyTitle = "Calculator Command line tool";
            AssemblyDescription = "Sample project for FAKE - F# MAKE";
            Guid = "A539B42C-CB9F-4a23-8E57-AF4E7CEE5BAA";
            OutputFileName = @".\src\app\Calculator\Properties\AssemblyInfo.cs"})

        (fun p -> 
        {p with
            CodeLanguage = CSharp;
            AssemblyVersion = version;
            AssemblyTitle = "Calculator library";
            AssemblyDescription = "Sample project for FAKE - F# MAKE";
            Guid = "EE5621DB-B86B-44eb-987F-9C94BCC98441";
            OutputFileName = @".\src\app\CalculatorLib\Properties\AssemblyInfo.cs"})          

    // compile all projects below src\app\
    MSBuildRelease buildDir "Build" appReferences
        |> Log "AppBuild-Output: "

Target "BuildTest" (fun _ ->
    MSBuildDebug testDir "Build" testReferences
        |> Log "TestBuild-Output: "

Target "NUnitTest" (fun _ ->  
    !! (testDir + @"\NUnit.Test.*.dll")
        |> NUnit (fun p -> 
            {p with 
                ToolPath = nunitPath; 
                DisableShadowCopy = true; 
                OutputFile = testDir + @"TestResults.xml"})

Target "xUnitTest" (fun _ ->  
    !! (testDir + @"\xUnit.Test.*.dll")
        |> xUnit (fun p -> 
            {p with 
                ShadowCopy = false;
                HtmlOutput = true;
                XmlOutput = true;
                OutputDir = testDir })

Target "FxCop" (fun _ ->
    !+ (buildDir + @"\**\*.dll") 
        ++ (buildDir + @"\**\*.exe") 
        |> Scan  
        |> FxCop (fun p -> 
            {p with                     
                ReportFileName = testDir + "FXCopResults.xml";
                ToolPath = fxCopRoot})

Target "Deploy" (fun _ ->
    !+ (buildDir + "\**\*.*") 
        -- "*.zip" 
        |> Scan
        |> Zip buildDir (deployDir + "Calculator." + version + ".zip")

// Build order
  ==> "BuildApp" <=> "BuildTest"
  ==> "FxCop"
  ==> "NUnitTest"
  =?> ("xUnitTest",hasBuildParam "xUnitTest")  // runs the target only if FAKE was called with parameter xUnitTest
  ==> "Deploy"

// start build
Run "Deploy"

Deployment using FAKE

* Assumes Fake.Deploy.exe is available in the current directory or path.


The FAKE deployment tool allows users to deploy applications to remote computers and to run scripts on these remote agents. A typical scenario maybe as follows:

  • Build an application -> run tests -> create artifacts and save on build server (Classical FAKE build workflow)
  • Extract artifacts from build server and create a NuGet deployment package
  • Push the NuGet package to the desired computer this will run the package's FAKE script on the remote machine

Installing Fake deployment services

In order to deploy application to a remote computer a deployment agent needs to be running on that server.

To run an agent in a console, simply run:


To install a windows service on that agent:

  • Open a command prompt with Administrator Priviledges
  • Run Fake.Deploy /install

By default the service starts a listener on port 8080. This can however be configured by editing the Fake.Deploy.exe.config file and changing

<add key="ServerName" value="localhost" />
<add key="Port" value="8080" />

to the desired value. If you use the asterisk as port no. then Fake.Deploy will assign the first open port behind of 8080.

To ensure the service is running you can navigate to http://{computer}:{port}/fake/ and you should be presented with a page giving the status if the service

Uninstalling Fake deployment services

To uninstall an agent

  • Open a command prompt with Administrator Priviledges
  • Run Fake.Deploy /uninstall

Running a FAKE Deployment Package

Getting help

If you want to learn about Fake.Deploy's command line switches then run:

Fake.Deploy /help

Creating a Deployment package

Since Fake.Deploy uses Nuget packages for deployment you only need to create one of those and include a .fsx file in the root folder of the package.

Instructions for creating nuget packages can be found at the NuGet document page

Running deployment

Fake deployment packages can be run manually on the current machine or they can be pushed to an agent on a remote machine.

To run a package on the local machine located at C:\Appdev\MyDeployment.nupkg you would run the following command:

Fake.Deploy /deploy C:\Appdev\MyDeployment.nupkg

To run the same package on a remote computer (e.g. integration-1) you can run:

Fake.Deploy /deployRemote http://integration-1:8080 C:\Appdev\MyDeployment.nupkg 

It's also possible to just make a HTTP-POST with the package to http://integration-1:8080/fake

This will push the directory to the given url. It is worth noting that the port may well be different, as this depends on the configuration of the listening agent (see. Installing Fake deployment service)

Getting information about the deployments

The following assumes you have Fake.Deploy running.

It's easy to get information about the deployments. Just make a HTTP request to server with:

fake/deployments/                     -> gives all releases
fake/deployments?status=active        -> gives all active releases
fake/deployments/{app}                -> gives all releases of app
fake/deployments/{app}?status=active  -> gives the active release of the app

Rollback of releases

If you want to perform a rollback of a release so do a HTTP-PUT to:

fake/deployments/{app}?version={version} -> rolls the app back to the given version
fake/deployments/{app}?version=HEAD~2    -> relative rollback of the app (two versions earlier)
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