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Posted 11 Sep 2003

Build Number Automation for Visual Studio .NET Projects

, 18 Sep 2003
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A Visual Studio .NET macro to automatically update the build number written in AssemblyInfo.cs.


Hi. It's the first time that I am writing a CodeProject article. I feel honored. :) Anyway, Sometimes I'm too lazy to manually update the build number of my software every time a new build comes out. And I thought to find a similar tool and customize it to work as I wanted would be more complicated than writing my own. So here's the macro, to automatically update the build number in AssemblyInfo.cs for you. (For VB.NET projects this would be AssemblyInfo.vb) I kept it simple, so you can get the idea and do customizations yourself.

How does it work

Basically the macro, once triggered, tries to open the file AssemblyInfo.cs from a path you specify, and locates the version string (something like this in C#: [assembly:AssemblyVersion("1.0.0220.1536")]) using regular expression. It then updates the old revision and build numbers based on some rules, and writes the file back. At the very end, an optional Build.BuildSolution command is called. If you want to update the build number every time a new build process is kicked off, run this macro instead of using the normal Build->Build Solution menu item.

The rules of the calculation of build numbers are fairly simple. Normally a version number will look like this: AA.BB.CCDD.EEFF, where AA is the major version and BB is the minor version. These two are untouched: you have to set them yourself. The CCDD.EEFF part is modified automatically. CC will be used to represent the number of months elapsed since the starting of the project, and DD the number of days after those months. EE and FF will be the hours and minutes the build was created in that day. Therefore for example, if the project started on Jan 10, 2003 with version 1.0 and you run this macro on Mar 15, 2003 at 14:00, this is the build number that comes out of the calculation: 1.0.0205.1400. (I was told that this is the Microsoft's way of numbering the build.)

How to make it work

You will have to create a new macro with the source code included in this article. I assume you already know how to do that. Then, you will have to edit the source code to make it work for your project. The followings are what you need to change:

  1. Change variable theProjectStartingDate. This represents the starting date of your project, on which the calculation is based.
  2. Change variable theAssemblyInfoFilePath. The path is relative to the path of the project file (*.csproj for C#) I put all my source files under Source\ directory, so it's Source\AssemblyInfo.cs in the sample code. VB.NET users have to change the file name to AssemblyInfo.vb, and also the regular expression that parses the VB version string, correctly. I'm sorry but I'm not a VB programmer.
  3. Change variable theBuildSolution to False if you don't want to build after the macro is done.
  4. Change the default version string from 1.0.* to something like so the macro can find it for the first time.

If you run this macro with AssemblyInfo.cs file open, you will be prompted whether to reload it. But the build process will not be interrupted.


This is it. It doesn't do much, and it may have problems handling multiple projects in one solution. But I think the code is comprehensive enough for other people to customize. Again, I'm not a VB programmer, so please don't laugh if you find this article childish. Thanx :)


  • Sep 13 2003 - Initial release
  • Sep 19 2003 - Source updated



This article has no explicit license attached to it but may contain usage terms in the article text or the download files themselves. If in doubt please contact the author via the discussion board below.

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About the Author

Darrel Liu
Web Developer
United States United States
Darrel is a perfectionist at heart: he refuses to work on code that does not adopt perfect indentation. He usually has to spend a great deal of time doing reformatting. This has made him have little achievement as a coder since the beginning of his programmer's life at age 12.

Other than programming, he drives his 2003 Desert Silver Acura RSX, watches movies and listens to soft music.

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Comments and Discussions

GeneralYear of theProjectStartingDate Pin
thilol16-Sep-03 2:02
memberthilol16-Sep-03 2:02 
GeneralRe: Year of theProjectStartingDate Pin
Darrel Liu16-Sep-03 2:55
memberDarrel Liu16-Sep-03 2:55 
GeneralRe: Year of theProjectStartingDate Pin
thilol16-Sep-03 3:09
memberthilol16-Sep-03 3:09 
GeneralRe: Year of theProjectStartingDate Pin
Darrel Liu16-Sep-03 3:27
memberDarrel Liu16-Sep-03 3:27 
GeneralQuestion Pin
dog_spawn12-Sep-03 13:07
memberdog_spawn12-Sep-03 13:07 
GeneralRe: Question Pin
Darrel Liu12-Sep-03 13:22
memberDarrel Liu12-Sep-03 13:22 
GeneralRe: Question Pin
flipdoubt12-Sep-03 18:10
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GeneralRe: Question Pin
Darrel Liu12-Sep-03 18:50
memberDarrel Liu12-Sep-03 18:50 
GeneralRe: Question Pin
flipdoubt13-Sep-03 7:31
memberflipdoubt13-Sep-03 7:31 
GeneralRe: Question Pin
Darrel Liu13-Sep-03 9:48
memberDarrel Liu13-Sep-03 9:48 
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