HomeWinBuzzer NewsMicrosoft Unveils Experimental MSBuild Editor to Simplify Developer Workflows

Microsoft Unveils Experimental MSBuild Editor to Simplify Developer Workflows

Coders rejoice! Microsoft's testing a new MSBuild editor for Visual Studio. It simplifies editing complex build files with features like IntelliSense


has unveiled an experimental version of the MSBuild editor, designed to facilitate and enhance the experience for developers working within the Visual Studio . The new tool aims to address the complexities associated with using the MSBuild platform, offering features that promise to streamline the editing process of csproj files and more.

MSBuild is a free and open-source build tool used for managing the process. It's especially used in conjunction with the .NET Framework and . MSBuild uses project files to define these build instructions and integrates seamlessly with Visual Studio, the popular development environment from Microsoft. However, MSBuild is flexible and can also be used independently or even incorporated into custom build systems. 

Key Features and Developer Benefits

The experimental MSBuild editor introduces several advanced features intended to improve usability and efficiency. Among these, the editor provides detailed information on properties, items, and metadata within MSBuild expressions, extending beyond the standard XML element data. A notable enhancement is the enriched Quick Info popup, which includes comprehensive links to relevant documentation and hyperlinks to references in other files, aiding developers in understanding the application of properties or items by the underlying targets.

Furthermore, Microsoft has integrated IntelliSense functionality “almost everywhere in the file,” supported by a new MSBuild-specific JSON-based schema format. This addition not only facilitates documentation access but also introduces a type system to help identify and correct “malformed conditions and expressions” prior to executing the build process.

Future Plans and Availability

Currently, the experimental MSBuild editor is available exclusively for Visual Studio users. However, Microsoft has expressed plans to extend support to Visual Studio Code, broadening the tool's accessibility. The company is actively seeking feedback from developers, particularly those who frequently edit csproj files directly for accessing specific features not available through the Visual Studio user interface, merging source control changes, or creating targets and props files for local use or NuGet package publishing.

Positive feedback from the developer community could lead to the experimental MSBuild editor becoming the default option for all .NET developers. Microsoft encourages interested individuals to explore the new editor and provide their insights, available for download at the Visual Studio Marketplace website.

Luke Jones
Luke Jones
Luke has been writing about all things tech for more than five years. He is following Microsoft closely to bring you the latest news about Windows, Office, Azure, Skype, HoloLens and all the rest of their products.

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