Scott Hanselman

MSBuild Structured Log: record and visualize your builds

June 05, 2016 Comment on this post [7] Posted in MSBuild | Open Source
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MSBuild has been open source for a while (over a year now!) and is used to build .NET and .NET Core projects. In fact, MSBuild is used to build the .NET Core Runtime itself.

MSBuild Structured Log

Recently Kirill Osenkov published a new tool called MSBuild Structured Log that makes it easy to visualize your builds and the build process. Install and run MSBuild Structured Log from here.

It is an MSBuild logger that can be passed to MSBuild during a build and it records information about everything that happens in the build. But instead of just dumping everything into a huge text file it preserves the structure and relationships between elements, and lets you save and open the structured log in .xml format. This has significant advantages to help you understand and navigate large build logs.

It's easy to install and auto-updates itself. You can open a log file directory or it will build your project and show you the results in a friendly and searchable tree format:

MSBuild Log visualized as a tree view

Here's a more complex multi-project example. You can see what ran, what didn't, dependencies, and the logs themselves.

A complex MSBuild example visualized


There is a great list of MSBuild-related resources and tips and tricks including these tools:

Sponsor: Many thanks to Stackify for sponsoring the feed this week! Stackify knows developers are the center of the universe. That’s why Stackify built Prefix and will give it out free forever. No .NET profiler is easier, prettier, or more powerful. Build better—now!

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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June 05, 2016 2:38
Soooooo nice to see XML back in season. :) :) :)
June 05, 2016 23:34
thanks my friends
June 09, 2016 14:24
That's great!!!!
June 13, 2016 10:33
good post
June 13, 2016 21:56
Scott - completely off topic here. Do you keep changing/deleting your RSS feeds? My sage reader says you have none.

I look forward to your posts, but I'm having issues aggregating them with the rest of my reading list.
June 14, 2016 7:30
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June 15, 2016 18:46
I tried this tool out and it is great, I would love to have it as a VS extension instead of a standalone application.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.