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Solution & Project Model

Particularly when building .NET applications, your build may require information related to solution or project files. Such information is often duplicated with string literals and quickly becomes out-of-date. For instance, when publishing a project you want to build for every target framework that is defined in the project file. NUKE has best-in-class support to read and modify the .NET solution and project model.

Working with Solutions

The easiest way to load your solution is to create a new Solution field, add the SolutionAttribute, and define the file path into the default parameters file:

readonly Solution Solution;

Target Print => _ => _
.Executes(() =>
Log.Information("Solution path = {Value}", Solution);
Log.Information("Solution directory = {Value}", Solution.Directory);

You can also manually load solutions with AbsolutePath extension method or the ProjectModelTasks:

var solution1 = SolutionFile.ReadSolution();
var solution2 = ProjectModelTasks.ParseSolution("/path/to/file");

Read & Write

With an instance of the Solution type you can read and write the solution in regard to projects, solution folders, items, and build configurations:

// Gather projects
var globalToolProject = Solution.GetProject("Nuke.GlobalTool");
var testProjects = Solution.GetProjects("*.Tests");

// Gather all solution items
var allItems = Solution.AllSolutionFolders.SelectMany(x => x.Items);

// Add a new project to solution
var project = Solution.AddProject(
name: "DummyProject",
typeId: ProjectType.CSharpProject,
path: RootDirectory / "DummyProject.csproj");

Strong-Typed Project Access

Using the GenerateProjects property you can enable a source generator that provides strong-typed access to the solution structure. This greatly improves how you can reference individual projects:

[Solution(GenerateProjects = true)]
readonly Solution Solution;

Project GlobalToolProject => Solution.Nuke_GlobalTool;

For every SolutionAttribute with the GenerateProjects property enabled, the source generator will create a new type with the same name as the field. In the example above, the type Nuke.Common.ProjectModel.Solution is silently replaced by a new type global::Solution that is local to your project. Therefore, the field name and type must always be the same.

Creating Solutions

Apart from reading and writing from existing solutions, you can also create new solution files. This can be very helpful to generate a global solution for many decoupled solutions in different repositories:

var globalSolution = CreateSolution(
fileName: "global.generated.sln",
solutions: new[] { MainSolution }.Concat(ExternalSolutions),
folderNameProvider: x => x == Solution ? null : x.Name);


Working with Projects through MSBuild

Apart from reading the path and directory of a project through a Solution object, you can also use the Microsoft.Build integration to access the MSBuild project model:

var msbuildProject = project.GetMSBuildProject();

Again, you can also manually load the project using:

var msbuildProject = ProjectModelTasks.ParseProject("/path/to/file");

Some of the most important information, like target frameworks, runtime identifiers, output type, properties, and item groups can also be retrieved with predefined helper methods:

var targetFrameworks = project.GetTargetFrameworks();
var runtimeIdentifiers = project.GetRuntimeIdentifiers();
var outputType = project.GetOutputType();

var isPackable = project.GetProperty<bool>("IsPackable");
var compiledFiles = project.GetItems<AbsolutePath>("Compile");

However, behind the scenes, these methods will still load the project through the Microsoft.Build package.


It is strongly discouraged to use anything but MSBuild to examine project files. Other approaches, like reading and parsing the XML, are very fragile against the complex evaluation logic that is inherent for project files.