Monday, April 28, 2008

New Challenge

So this Monday morning has given me a new challenge that I am looking forward to solving. I began working on moving to CruiseControl.Net and MSBuild for our CI. This is in the very early stages. I decided to use the least resistance path to setting up CruiseControl.

I setup CruiseControl (done this many times at my previous job) without incident. I edited the ccnet.config file to use perforce. I am still getting an error there but went around it by getting latest to my workspace. I'll deal with that later. Created a sample project and solution. Got CC to build it. Hurray, I'm in the clear!


I grabbed an existing solution with about ten C++ projects, no external dependencies, and a quick build time inside visual studio. I pointed CC to it and BANG, big fat error:

C:\Projects\CCTestProj\CCTestProj.sln (,): error MSB4018: The "ResolveVCProjectOutput" task failed unexpectedly. System.ArgumentException: Illegal characters in path. at System.IO.Path.CheckInvalidPathChars(String path) at System.IO.Path.IsPathRooted(String path) at Microsoft.Build.Tasks.ResolveVCProjectOutput.ResolveUsingVCEngineObjectModel(ITaskItem projectRef, String configName, String& resolvedAssemblyPath, String& resolvedImportLibraryPath) at Microsoft.Build.Tasks.ResolveVCProjectOutput.Execute() at Microsoft.Build.BuildEngine.TaskEngine.ExecuteTask(ExecutionMode howToExecuteTask, Hashtable projectItemsAvailableToTask, BuildPropertyGroup projectPropertiesAvailableToTask, Boolean& taskClassWasFound)

Names have been changed to protect the innocent.

I thought, Illegal characters in the path? What is this? Visual Studio builds it fine. Why is MSBuild having a problem. So I dug around some. Thought it was related to references or something like that. No path problems could be found. Nothing in the CC log or the MSBuild log was helpful

So I decided to create a new solution and slowly bring in one project at a time to see where the problem lays. I created the solution added an existing project which was the first project in the build order of the original solution. CC built it fine. I grabbed the next project. No problems. I grabbed the third project in the original solution's build order and CC built it without a problem. I was getting nowhere fast.

But then I noticed CC and MSBuild was not building the projects in order. I thought, David you forgot to set the project dependencies in Visual Studio for the solution to build in the right order. There are no direct references but I wanted it to build in the same order as the original solution just in case. So this is where we were at:

Projects build order in original solution:
Project build order in new solution:

So I set in visual studio that P2 depended on P1 and built in VS. Worked. I then forced a build in CC and Viola! Same error as above.

I posted this in the MS forums and waiting for a reply. I am also doing some more experimenting to further define the problem.


  1. Did you ever get an answer from Microsoft? The forum page is down, so I couldn't check there.

  2. Chris,

    No I never did get a response from Microsoft except to acknowledge the problem. The link to my Forum post was removed as well. I believe this issue stemmed from header files not being compiled. I don't remember though.