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Posted 29 Jul 2005

Increment Build Number in VS.NET

, 28 Jan 2008
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Little quick and dirty program (60 lines) which updates the version build number each time a release is built.


In VS 6, we had an autoincrement of the build number, if we build a new *.exe file. In VS.NET, I miss this feature. Here I submit a quick and dirty program (60 lines) which updates the version line in AssemblyInfo.cs each time a Release version is build.


Beau Scinner has written a lot about the basics, but it works only in VS 6. In VS.NET is AssemblyInfo.cs file, which contains the information of the Application.ProductVersion in the form of one line:

// Version information for an assembly consists of the following four values:
//      Major Version
//      Minor Version 
//      Build Number
//      Revision
// You can specify all the values or you can default the Revision and Build Numbers 
// by using the '*' as shown below:

[assembly: AssemblyVersion("1.0.13")]

IncBuildNo reads this file, increments the last number by 1 and writes it back.

Calling IncBuildNo

IncBuildNo's 1st arg is the path and filename to AssemblyInfo.cs.
Optional it reads a 2nd arg Release. If the 2nd arg is given, but if arg!="Release", IncBuildNo returns without any action, I add this option, that IncBuildNo is able to select the VS.NET environment Release/Debug.
If you omit this 2nd arg or the 2nd arg is Release IncBuildNo increments the last number of the version string (otherwise it skips incrementing).

In the new version, I add some error-output to the Application Event Log.


If you download the project above, you have a complete installed example.

In your own projects, take the following steps:

  1. Copy IncBuildNo into the same directory as AssemblyInfo.cs (normally the $(ProductDir))
  2. In VS.NET, select Project -> Properties -> Build Events
  3. Insert in Post-build Event CommandLine:
    "$(ProjectDir)IncBuildNo" "$(ProjectDir)AssemblyInfo.cs" $(ConfigurationName)
  4. Select in Run the Post-Build Event? When build updates the project output

Now each time you build a new release, the last number of the version is incremented.

1st Note: After a successful build of a release, AssemblyInfo.cs shows the version of the release +1.

2nd Note: If you use a installation-project when you build your application, you can insert a line in the postbuild event property in the project properties of this installation project. I use e.g.

"$(ProjectDir)IncBuildNo" "$(ProjectDir)..\AssemblyInfo.cs" $(ConfigurationName) 

Attention: In this case, the $(ProjectDir) points to the install project, not to the application project. This is the reason for the ..\ phrase in the above line. But then the increment happened only if the building process is running, i.e., you can build a Release-Version without incrementing the build number.

I hope this will help you.


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)


About the Author

Software Developer (Senior) EndoTherm GmbH
Switzerland Switzerland
My first approach to computers was in 1970 a IBM1160, a real desk computer, this means it was as large as a desk and had a cartreader and 32 kByte Memory! But it runs FORTRAN! Ok 'run' is a little too fast <sm>

Later I was very proud on my Comodore CBM8032 32KbRAM+32KbRom (uff!) and 2 (in words 'TWO') floppies. But it was able to run a Basic-Interpreter. (There was a young gay in USA, who invent and developed the garbage collecter for such interpreter, his name was Bill G.)

Unfortunatly this CBM8032 burned away due to some "experiements"...

Ok, later I studied physics and work now since 20 years in the cancer research in Switzerland. My own little company Ariadne-Consulting delivers the login name:


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Comments and Discussions

Suggestion2 suggestions Pin
Leon Zeng27-Dec-14 16:42
memberLeon Zeng27-Dec-14 16:42 
GeneralMy version of that Pin
PIEBALDconsult28-Jan-08 8:30
memberPIEBALDconsult28-Jan-08 8:30 
GeneralRe: My version of that Pin
Ariadne28-Jan-08 20:22
memberAriadne28-Jan-08 20:22 
Generalissues when implementing in c# SmartClient Project Pin
SirGolphknut4-Apr-06 8:24
memberSirGolphknut4-Apr-06 8:24 
GeneralRe: issues when implementing in c# SmartClient Project [modified] Pin
Ariadne28-Jan-08 2:46
memberAriadne28-Jan-08 2:46 
General... and this is how to do it in VB.NET !!! Pin
daniellus10-Nov-05 3:07
memberdaniellus10-Nov-05 3:07 
GeneralRe: ... and this is how to do it in VB.NET !!! Pin
imxuf23-May-07 12:58
memberimxuf23-May-07 12:58 
GeneralIncrement build number in VS.Net Pin
Koszyk3-Aug-05 0:00
memberKoszyk3-Aug-05 0:00 
GeneralRe: Increment build number in VS.Net Pin
Ariadne3-Aug-05 3:53
memberAriadne3-Aug-05 3:53 

In the same Microsoft Doc you see:


Using auto-increment version numbers has the following disadvantages:

  • The internal assembly build number does not match your system build number, which means there is no easy way to correlate a particular assembly with the build that generated it. This may be particularly problematic when you need to support your system in a production environment.

  • Build and revision numbers are not increased by one but are based on the time an assembly is built.

  • A new version of an assembly is generated each time it is built regardless of whether any changes have been made to the assembly. For strongly named assemblies, this means that all clients of that assembly must also be rebuilt to point to the correct version. However, if the build process rebuilds the whole system this should not be an issue.

Even the 2nd point was the reason to write IncBuildNo


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