Friday, March 1, 2013

Visual Studio: Reference a different DLL depending on your build configuration

For a Windows 8 application we are building, we have to deploy versions that connect to different backends. We could have created different branches  but this would result in lots of merges. Instead we decided to go for a provider model combined with conditional compilation symbols. This allows us to easily switch between providers by changing the build configuration.
This brought us half way there but we had still an issue because we also had to use a different 3th party component depending on the backend. So what we actually want is that when setting the build configuration to QA, the 3thparty.component.QA winmd file was loaded and if we switch to Production the 3thparty.component.Production winmd file was loaded.
This is perfectly possible by changing the project file and editing the underlying MSBuild settings:
  • Unload the project.
  • Choose Edit project and open it using the XML editor.
  • Find the reference to the component you want to change depending on the build configuration.
<Reference Include="3thPartyComponent">
 <HintPath>..\packages\3thPartyComponentQA\lib\winrt45\3thparty.component.QA.winmd</HintPath>
</Reference>

  • Duplicate the reference for each build configuration you want to support.
<Reference Include="3thPartyComponent">
 <HintPath>..\packages\3thPartyComponentQA\lib\winrt45\3thparty.component.QA.winmd</HintPath>
</Reference>
<Reference Include="3thPartyComponent">
 <HintPath>..\packages\3thPartyComponentProduction\lib\winrt45\3thparty.component.Production.winmd</HintPath>
</Reference>

  • Apply a conditional to the Reference elements.

<Reference Include="3thPartyComponent" Condition="'$(Configuration)'=='QA'">
 <HintPath>..\packages\3thPartyComponentQA\lib\winrt45\3thparty.component.QA.winmd</HintPath>
</Reference>
<Reference Include="3thPartyComponent" Condition="'$(Configuration)'=='Production'">
 <HintPath>..\packages\3thPartyComponentProduction\lib\winrt45\3thparty.component.Production.winmd</HintPath>
</Reference>

1 comment:

Sunjay Kalsi said...

Hi, just wanted to say I found this post very useful. I had to link to different flavour DLLs for a TFs build and this trick really came in handy!

Thanks :o)