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MSBuild Interview Questions

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Q: What exactly do you know about MSBuild?
It is actually one of the popular platforms in the present scenario for building applications. Basically, it follows the XML schema for controlling the applications development related tasks. Although it has applications in Visual Studio, it doesn’t necessarily mean it depends on Visual Studio.

Q: Name the four building blocks of MSBuild?
These are:

1. Targets
2. Items
3. Properties
4. Tasks

Q: Is it possible to build any application on a system if the MSBuild is not installed? If so, How?
Yes, it is actually possible because the MSBuild doesn’t depend on the Visual Studio of its operations. Users simply need to install the msbuild.exe file for this. After installing the same, it is possible for the users to keep up the pace in this matter very simply.

Q: What are the good qualities of any application that you should pay attention to while developing?
The code should not be too complex and there must be a strict upper limit on the same. Next is to make sure that it runs independently of the OS. Scalability, feature-rich approach and fast operations are the other important factors that need to be paid attention to. The good thing is ms build is very helpful in this matter to enable developers to get favorable results in this matter.

Q: How Visual Studio and MSBuild are related to each other?
The fact is VS consider MSBuild when it comes to loading and building the applications that need advanced features. There are several project files present in the VS that actually contain the XML code related to MSBuild. When a project or an application is developed with the help of IDE, the same get executed automatically. For the development tasks that are typical, VS automatically import the settings.

Q: How it is possible for the users to modify the applications in the Visual Studio?
This can be done with the help of XML editor and the good thing is this file is present by default in the software and can easily be executed when the need of same is required.

Q: What is the benefit of using a 64-bit version of MSBuild than the 32-bit one?
The biggest benefit is users can imply access more memory and can perform tasks quickly and reliably. There is no need for the users to worry about the compatibility issues which are related to the application environment. If an application is built on a 64-bit environment, it doesn’t actually mean that the same cannot run on a 32-bit PC.

Q: How can you declare properties in the MSBuild environment? What do properties actually represent?
Basically, this is done by simply creating a concerned element which is having the name of the property group and name of the property too as an element. The properties represent the value pairs or the key pairs that play a significant role in configuring the builds. The fact is configuring them is something that is required again and again while developing due to a diverse array of reasons.

Q: What will be the first step that you need to make when it comes to using the MSBuild at the command prompt?
MSBuild enables developers to consider command prompt simply. For this, the first step to perform is passing a project file to the .exe environment. This file must be either defined with the options of the command line specifying the operations.

Q: Is there any condition you need to fulfill before you modify the files in the MSBuild environment?
Yes, there are a few basic conditions that the users need to fulfill. The very thing is to make sure that all the files should be pre-processed before they actually hit the compiler. All the compressed files should be created from the build outputs. The build outcomes should be placed at a different location which is outside the software.

Q: Can you give an example of post-processing step in the MSBuild environment?
Stamping an assembly with a different version can be considered as an example of post-processing in the MSBuild. This is generally required when performing some complex tasks that are related to modifications on the software or the applications under development.

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Q: What are the different ways to run a code that are associated with the IDE, Visual Studio and MS Build?
It is possible for the users to write the code in VS and run the same in the Build environment without any restriction. The other method is to build the code in IDE environment and run the same on Build environment. It can even be integrated through different processing techniques even if the same is developed by different developers. There is a command line present in the MSBuild environment to make sure of this.

Q: Is it possible to test, compile and deploy the applications automatically? How can this be done?
Yes, it is possible. This can be done with the help of Team Foundation Build. Developers have the option to automatically run the code when the checking task is performed. It actually compiles the code by using the MSBuild.

Q: What are Items in the MSBuild and how they are useful?
They are basically the inputs which are provided to the build systems. They actually represent the files that are significant or need to be considered again and again. They are of different types and are thus grouped into categories by default. Users can call any item without modifying the group or affecting the same. However, in few environments, the whole group needs to be defined first. For different tasks, the Items are employed generally as parameters and this is one of their important applications.

Q: What are the tasks that can be performed by the command-line options?
Well, it is possible for the developers to simply execute targets, set properties and all the options that are responsible for building the process with the help of command-line options. Although all these tasks can be performed with other methods also, command line options always make sure of simple and reliable methods for this.

Q: In MSBuild, is it possible for the developers to write their own Task? If so, How?
Developers can write their own task simply by first authoring a type that is to be managed and that allows the interference. There are many factors that seem too complex in the Task Writing and thus they need to be considered accurately and in the defined manner only.

Q: Name a few Tasks in the MSBuild which developers can modify when the need of same is realized?
Some of the tasks that can be modified are Csc, Copy, code files and C# source.

Q: Which file format is used in MSBuild and what are the benefits of the same?
The MS Build is actually based or makes use of a project file that is actually XML-based. The biggest benefit of the same is it’s highly extensible, as well as straightforward. Developers can easily describe the items so that building process can be made easily. The information regarding the building process related to different configuration, as well as Operating system can also be grabbed from the same. To perform the build regularly, the developers have the option to simply build rules and keep them in a separate file.

Q: How the grouping of Tasks is gone on the MSBuild?
This is done through Targets which are actually the combination of tasks which are defined in a particular order. When it comes to exposing the sections of files related to the project, they are considered at the entry point an always make sure of the smooth process of the build tasks.

Q: Suppose a property is having a condition, how the same can be defined?
For conditional defining, the simple method is to place an attribute related to the condition in the element. By the same it remains present, the software keeps ignoring the contents which are present in the conditional element. Thus, it is necessary to define the conditional element before the task is finally executed.

Q: What do you know about the procedure of declaring the Items in the project file?
This can be done by first creating an element which is having the true name of the item type and the group as an element.

Q: In MSBuild environment, what is the basic difference between the property, items, Metadata and the attribute names & element?
It is nothing but the case sensitivity approach that put them different from one another. Actually, the item, property, as well as the metadata names is not case-sensitive while the attribute name and the element are very case-sensitive. Thus there are a few basic conditions on them that developers need to fulfill.

Q: How can you declare the Targets in the project file?
There are certain Target elements for this that can easily be considered. Developers are free to choose any depending on the projects they are building.

Q: What is a multi-targeting concept? What are the benefits of same?
The process of making an application compatible with different platforms by compiling the same is generally regarded as multi-targeting. In such a scenario, applications are made independent of the frameworks abilities and conditions. The biggest advantage is all the frameworks can easily be targeted by the developers. Also, it makes sure that the application demands nothing than what it is provided by the platform on which it is running.

Q: Where you can write and map the execution logic of a task
It is written in the managed code and is generally mapped to the MSBuild. This is generally done with the help of a Task element which is either pre or post defined.

Q: Which parameters are generally accepted by the Tasks in the MSBuild environment?
Ones which are passed as attributes of the concerned element are generally considered as accepted parameters by the Tasks. It is even possible to make any parameters accepted by the Tasks by that procedure is complex and needs external tools to be interfered.

Q: What is the benefit of grouping the Targets in the logical sections?
This always makes sure of better readability and enables expansion related to the applications. Build can easily be divided into steps with the help of same. This makes it easy for the developers to understand the project by having a better view of the same. There is no need to copy the entire section of the code for performing some repeatable tasks. It is possible to create targets that need building of reference and need to be deployed for other tasks.

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Q: Suppose you need to skip a few sections of the build process, how this can be done?
The fact is targets can be considered for deploying the relationships which are complex but are related to one another. Targets can also perform the dependency analysis through which developers can take the advantage of skipping the sections that don’t seems relevant. However, the skipping section should always be up-to-date.

Q: For what purpose wildcard characters are used in the MSBuild?
They are actually considered when it comes to declaring the Items. There is a possibility that the characters may contain some metadata. This is because developers may need to consider the builds that are advanced.

Q: What exactly are the units of executable codes in the Build environment?
They are generally considered as Tasks. Their basic application is to assist the developers while building the build operations. A task can have or it can compile simply an input file. Developers can also consider the same for running an external tool which is required at many stages. The biggest benefit of Tasks is they can be reused again and again. Developers can also share them without any restriction in the different projects.

 


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