MSBuild is the new compilation engine Microsoft released with Visual Studio 2005. It uses XML-based configuration files to identify the layout of a build project, including all of the settings discussed earlier in this chapter, as well as what files should be included in the actual compilation.
In fact, since Visual Studio 2005, Visual Studio uses MSBuild configuration files as its project definition files, in place of the old project file formats used by previous versions of Visual Studio. This enables the MSBuild engine to be used automatically when compiling your applications within the IDE because the same settings file is used for both your project definition in the IDE and the build process.
47.5.1. How Visual Studio Uses MSBuild
As already mentioned, the contents of Visual Studio 2008 project files are based on the MSBuild XML Schema and can be edited directly in Visual Studio so you can customize how the project is loaded and compiled.
However, to edit the project file, you need to effectively remove the project's active status from the Solution Explorer. Right-click the project you want to edit in the Solution Explorer and choose the Unload Project command from the bottom of the context menu that is displayed.
The project will be collapsed in the Solution Explorer and marked as unavailable. In addition, any open files that belong to the project will be closed while it is unloaded from the solution. Right-click the project entry again and an additional menu ...