April 27, 2009

Automate adding/using of the SVN revision to/as the version of a .net project, through a build target

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — yasi8h @ 11:16 am

a bit too complex title eh? sorry about that. i am finally blogging about something after a long while. its a good idea to use the revision number of your source tree in thee release versions of your software. because it will enable you to ‘connect and identify’ your release versions with your source tree’s different revisions. this is how i went about ‘automating’ it. note that I use svn as my source control system, and VS(2008) as my IDE at work.

What we are trying to do

Read the AssemblyInfo.cs file in a project and replace the(/a part of the) version number for that project with it’s svn revision number.

What you need


<!-- Import of the MSBuildCommunityTask targets -->
<Import Project="$(MSBuildExtensionsPath)\MSBuildCommunityTasks\MSBuild.Community.Tasks.Targets" />

  <!-- to AssemblyInfo to include svn revision number -->
<Target Name="BeforeBuild">
	<SvnVersion LocalPath="$(MSBuildProjectDirectory)" ToolPath="$(ProgramFiles)\VisualSVN\bin">
	   <Output TaskParameter="Revision" PropertyName="Revision" />

	<FileUpdate Files="Properties\AssemblyInfo.cs"
                ReplacementText="$1.$2.$3.$(Revision)" />


  • Locate and open your project file. ex:- exampleProject.csproj in a editor.
  • Edit(SvnVersion node’s ToolPath attribute) the path of the svn bin folder, where you find the executables(ex: svn.exe, svnversion.exe…).
  • go the very end and add the following code to the file. be sure to add this code before the </project> tag closing. so that your code is still inside the <project> node.
  • Save the exampleProject.csproj file.
  • it’s done! now every time you build your project, it’s AssemblyInfo.cs file’s version will contain the svn revision number as it’s last part(x.x.x.svn-revison)


Let me start by saying that I am no expert in MSBuild(reffer MSDN for more info). MSBuild is the build system used by VS to build your projects. when you create a project file it is basically a MSBuild file. the build file tell MSBuild how your project should be build/compiled and about any other actions that needs to taken to insure a succesful build. when we needed to include the svn revision number of our project in the AssemblyInfo.cs file we simply added a build target called AssenblyInfo. inside that we uses two MSBuild CommunityTasks(“The MSBuild Community Tasks Project is an open source project for MSBuild tasks. The goal of the project is to provide a collection of open source tasks for MSBuild.“).

  • SvnVersion – “Summarize the local revision(s) of a working copy.” – we use this to get the svn revision of our project. the result(revision) is stroed in a property called Revision.
  • FileUpdate – “Replace text in file(s) using a Regular Expression.” – we use this task to replace the revision portion of the version string(x.x.x.revision) with the content of the Revision property.

and that’s it. pretty simple eh!


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