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Support .NET Builds without requiring Visual Studio on the server

To build certain PCL libraries and libraries for Windows 8 RT requires having Visual Studio on the server.

Nick Berardi writes about a workaround that allows running a build server without VS, but it's really just a workaround for functionality that should be easy.

Not to mention there's probably licensing considerations we're just ignoring by doing that.

http://nickberardi.com/a-net-build-server-without-visual-studio/

Please make it easy (and legal) to build .NET projects on a server without requiring a Visual Studio installation (or license) on that server.

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    Phil HaackPhil Haack shared this idea  ·   ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →

    12 comments

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      • Sten FrostholmSten Frostholm commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I would very much like to see a special build server MSI installer - which shoud install only the necessary stuff required to build .NET Projects made from Visual Studio (without VS itself). Not only Windows 8 builds requires workarounds if VS is not installed

        Here is a few examples we had to deal with at GN ReSound:

        1) Put Microsoft unittesting dll's in NuGet packages - normally located in the GAC here:
        "C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\assembly\GAC_MSIL\Microsoft.VisualStudio.QualityTools.UnitTestFramework"

        2) Add another Visual Studio Web Publishing dll to source control (C:\Program Files (x86)\MSBuild\Microsoft\VisualStudio\v11.0\Web\Microsoft.Web.Publishing.Tasks.dll).

        Above is just examples, I'm sure many other task, build and test stuff is missing if VS is not installed on a build server.

        3 votes from me

      • Martin HinshelwoodMartin Hinshelwood commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Should I point out that there are no licencing considerations with this. You are free to install VS Ultimate on all of your build servers if your organisation owns even a single Ultimate licence. Your build server should reflect your development environment and not your production one... there is no compelling reason to invest in not requiring VS on the build server.

      • Kat Lim RuizKat Lim Ruiz commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I agree, although the request should be stated differently.
        The request should be: make Visual Studio, as an application, lighter, more portable and more self-contained (everything under one folder like Eclipse, or all the others).
        And this would automatically drive the separation of interests between the tools, the IDE, and so on.
        Additionally, when we install several VS versions it's ****!. All the DLLs, different folders, csproj associations, etc.

      • MotoWilliamsMotoWilliams commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Also doing file system web publishing would be a must for a build server.

        I've gotten it working with the following steps:
        - Installing BuildTools_Full.exe
        - NDP451-KB2861696-x86-x64-DevPack.exe
        - Copying C:\Program Files (x86)\MSBuild\Microsoft\VisualStudio\v12.0\Web\ from a VS Machine
        - Copying C:\Program Files (x86)\MSBuild\Microsoft\VisualStudio\v12.0\WebApplications\ from a VS Machine

        But this should be a simple installer to go from a clean OS install to working build server. For the sake of the children of planet earth don't make this part of TFS.

      • Immo Landwerth [MSFT]Immo Landwerth [MSFT] commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I completely agree. It's more than just PCLs, though. It's effectively all SDKs and 3rd party tools that extend the build process, such as Windows Installer XML (WIX). I'm not trying to say "this is no my problem" (in fact it's very much in my yard) but I think we need a more generalized approach, akin to package management.

      • matthewdeanmartinmatthewdeanmartin commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Better yet, could this be a part of the RTM TFS. In certain large organizations you can't event get power tools or service packs on a TFS server, forget about Visual Studio.

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