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Recursive Copy in TFS MSBuild

In working with TFS I just discovered the Well-Known Item Metadata (bad name in my opinion as I don't they they are really all that "Well-known") which can be used in MSBuild. One of these is %(RecursiveDir) .

From MSDN:

If the Include attribute contains the wildcard **, this metadata specifies the path to the file, beginning at the location of the wildcard. For more information on wildcards, see How to: Use Wildcards to Build All Files in a Directory. 
This example has no RecursiveDir metadata, but if the following example was used to include this item, the item would contain a RecursiveDir value of MyProject\Source\. 
 
<ItemGroup> 
    <MyItem Include="C:\**\Program.cs" /> 
</ItemGroup> 
 
If the following example was used to include this item, the RecursiveDir value of the item would remain MyProject\Source\. 
 
<ItemGroup> 
    <MyItem Include="C:\**\Source\Program.cs" /> 
</ItemGroup> 

This gives a lot of flexibility when using MSBuild. It allows you to create a ItemGroup element which can include and exclude files in a directory recursively and then copy those files recursively to another directory!

This allowed me to do the following to copy the build out put of a web site (which naturally has a lot of sub-folders) easily up to the server.

<Target Name="AfterDropBuild" >
  <Message Text="AfterDropBuild being fired" />
  <ItemGroup>
    <Compile Include="$(DropLocation)\$(BuildNumber)\Mixed Platforms\Release\_PublishedWebsites\User Interface\**\*.*"
             Exclude="$(DropLocation)\$(BuildNumber)\Mixed Platforms\Release\_PublishedWebsites\User Interface\connectionStrings.config"/>
  </ItemGroup>
 
  <Copy SourceFiles="@(Compile)" DestinationFolder="\\ServerName\MyFolder\%(RecursiveDir)"></Copy>
  <Message Text="Completed coping files" />
</Target>

MSBuild takes awhile to learn all the tricks, but the more tricks I learn the more I like it.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Thanks man
TFS MSbuild an excellent feature which uses metadata to manage records.MSbuild flexible to work on.Thanks for giving the coding of the metadata as it makes the task simple to understand.I"ll try to run the code and see how it works.

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