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Nice hidden .shfbproj template feature

Topics: Developer Forum, User Forum
Sep 29, 2010 at 4:57 PM

After seeing that .shfbproj's were just msbuild projects, I went ahead and added a line at the top of my project's .shfbproj file so that it looks like this:

<Project DefaultTargets="Build" xmlns="" ToolsVersion="3.5">    
    <Import Project="$(SHFBROOT)\..\myCompany\SandcastleDefaults.shfbproj" />

I then created the appropriate "SandcastleDefaults.shfbproj" based off a project I set up exactly how I wanted with a basic understanding of how msbuild works. In addition, I changed the ProjectGuid of the template to be safe. Next, I removed everything from my project's .shfbproj that was covered by the new template. 

When I re-opened my project's .shfbproj file, SHFB showed the values from the template except in the cases where I had specifically overwritten it. Even better, SHFB doesn't write out the property unless I change it (e.g. copy-on-write) which is exactly what I wanted.

There isn't explicit support for this scenario (e.g. defining template files), but this hidden support is very useful for my case where I have several projects each needing help with common properties (e.g. keeping the Copyright property up to date., setting output languages, etc.)

Thanks for this hidden feature!

Sep 30, 2010 at 3:14 AM

Interesting.  I knew you could import projects but I didn't know it would let you modify properties if they originated from the imported project.  I suppose that could be related to how SHFB sets the properties.  As I recall, the ProjectGuid should be unique in each project.  SHFB creates a new value in each one it creates as does Visual Studio as far as I know.