- Automate the file and assembly version numbers to use the Subversion revision number for the revion number in '
. . . '.
- Make the project configuration visible in the Visual Studio 2008 UI.
- Suitable for debugging by typical developers using the VS2008 UI.
- Project compilation without third party application installation.
The MSBuild community task approach works but its configuration is obfuscated from the typical software developer user. It requires all users to have the MSBuild community tasks installed on the developer's (user) PC. That alone is not the 'obfuscation', thing is that if a user tries to build the project on a PC that does not have the MSBuild communicaty tasks intalled they are given an error that cannot be fixed withing the Visual Studio 2005/2008 UI that they are using. This is the critical 'usability' issue that I have found.
It has not been such a problem for commercial use as a software devs are resolved early and only once on each developer box and probably documented for future developement or maintenance.
But I have found it to be a big inhibitor for open source software users. The code cannot just be download and compiled without either reading all the documentation to find such details (a deoderant ... it ought to be self evident or, better still ... just work). It means that if you have many users you will incur a significant support cost or the inhitor will reduce user product acceptance. In other words ... ungood.
After much googling I came across Bruce Boughton's blog showing how to use the TortoiseSVN SubWCRev.exe utility in a pre-build event. His solution did require a little pocking around in the Visual Studio project file and also required TortoiseSVN to be installed on the PC. I've adapted it a bit here is my solution:
- Add the existing AssemblyInfo.cs file to Subversion's ignore list. This file will be replaced by the auto generated file later.
- Copy your existing AssemblyInfo.cs file to a file named AssemblyInfo_temp.cs. This will become the source file used by the auto generator. Move this new file into the Properties folder by drag and drop in VS Solution Explorer pane.
- In the new AssemblyInfo_temp.cs file add required SubWCRev.exe keywords. We want to set the version revision so change your [assembly : AssemblyVersion("126.96.36.199")] to [assembly : AssemblyVersion("1.0.0.$WCREV$")]. If you want the FileVersion to be the same, delete the FileVersion entry.
- Copy the TortoiseSVN SubWCRev.exe file into your source tree. I keep a Lib folder in the root (trunk) of all my project source folders. In this case I copy the file to Lib\TortoiseSVN\SubWCRev.exe to make it clear it is a TortoiseSVN file. This way anybody can download the project and compile without the need to install TortoiseSVN (although anybody using Subversion should anyway).
- Now add as a project pre-build event: $(SolutionDir)..\Lib\TortoiseSVN\subwcrev.exe $(ProjectDir). $(ProjectDir)Properties\AssemblyInfo.cs.tmpl $(ProjectDir)Properties\AssemblyInfo.cs.