MSBuild Script and VS2010 publish apply Web.config Transform

So, I have VS 2010 installed and am in the process of modifying my MSBuild script for our TeamCity build integration. Everything is working great with one exception.

How can I tell MSBuild that I want to apply the Web.conifg transform files that I’ve created when I publish the build…

I have the following which produces the compiled web site but, it outputs a Web.config, Web.Debug.config and, Web.Release.config files (All 3) to the compiled output directory. In studio when I perform a publish to file system it will do the transform and only output the Web.config with the appropriate changes…

<Target Name="CompileWeb">
    <MSBuild Projects="myproj.csproj" Properties="Configuration=Release;" />

<Target Name="PublishWeb" DependsOnTargets="CompileWeb">
    <MSBuild Projects="myproj.csproj"
                OutDir=$(TempOutputFolder)$(WebOutputFolder);Configuration=Release;" />

Any help would be great..!

I know this can be done by other means but I would like to do this using the new VS 2010 way if possible


Thank you for visiting the Q&A section on Magenaut. Please note that all the answers may not help you solve the issue immediately. So please treat them as advisements. If you found the post helpful (or not), leave a comment & I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Method 1

I was looking for similar information and didn’t quite find it, so I did some digging around in the .targets files that come with Visual Studio 2010 and MSBuild 4.0. I figured that was the best place to look for the MSBuild task that would perform the transformation.

As far as I have been able to tell, the following MSBuild task is used:

<Project ToolsVersion="4.0"

    <UsingTask TaskName="TransformXml"

        <ProjectPath>C:Path to ProjectHere</ProjectPath>
        <DeployPath>C:Path to DeployThere</DeployPath>

    <Target Name="Transform">
        <TransformXml Source="$(TransformInputFile)"
                      Condition="some condition here"
                      StackTrace="$(StackTraceEnabled)" />

I have tested the above and can confirm that it works. You might need to tweak the structure a bit to fit with your build script better.

Method 2

You should be able to accomplish this by using the Package target and specifying the temp directory.

msbuild solution.sln /p:Configuration=Release;DeployOnBuild=true;DeployTarget=Package;_PackageTempDir=..publish

Method 3

Alternatively, you try using the XDT Transformation Tool:

I’m using this instead of messing with obscure msbuild targets. Works with app.config not just web.config.

Method 4

It worked for me with the following change

<MSBuild Projects="$(ProjectFile)"
     Properties="WebProjectOutputDir=TempOutputFolder;OutDir=$(WebProjectOutputDir);Configuration=$(Configuration);" />

From Microsoft.WebApplication.targets file under MsBuild folder

This target will copy the build outputs along with the 
content files into a _PublishedWebsites folder.

This Task is only necessary when $(OutDir) has been redirected
to a folder other than ~bin such as is the case with Team Build.

The original _CopyWebApplication is now a Legacy, you can still use it by 
 setting $(UseWPP_CopyWebApplication) to true.
By default, it now change to use _WPPCopyWebApplication target in
It allow to leverage the web.config trsnaformation.

Method 5

I’m no expert with MSBuild, but I was able to use the information from this link to accomplish the same task:

There is a section related to MSBuild near the bottom of the article. Hope this helps.

Method 6

Another answer to this topic after I’ve been searching for days before I tackled this issue:

Your publish profile and configuration names should match.

In my case mine didn’t. Manually publishing through the publishing profile gave me the result I wanted, because my configuration was set in the publish profile. MSBuild however tries to be intelligent and magically connects the publish profile and configuration based on name. (Adding the /p:Configuration in the command resulted in other strange errors about the outputpath of a referenced project).

Just to be exactly clear in what I mean:

MSBuild statement from command line

msbuild myproject.csproj -t:Clean -t:Rebuild /p:DeployOnBuild=true /p:PublishProfile=”Development”


  • Publish Profile name: Development
  • Solution Configuration name: Development


  • Publish Profile name: Development
  • Solution Configuration name: Dev

Hope this helps!

All methods was sourced from or, is licensed under cc by-sa 2.5, cc by-sa 3.0 and cc by-sa 4.0

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