Writing a python build script for your Visual C++ project

If you’ve decided to write your own python build script for existing Visual Studio projects, then two questions would probably come up at first.
  1. What utility/commands are available for actually building *.sln/*. vcxproj files?
  2. How will you specify the appropriate version for your *.rc version resource file?
Solution for #1. You can download the MSBuild tools for free from the Microsoft download website, and it provides the solution you need. First, download the MS Build tools 2013(or 2015) depending on your Visual Studio project versions.

# Sample code snippet..
def start(self, version):
msbuild = os.getenv('MSBUILD_PATH', r"C:\Program Files\MSBuild\12.0\Bin\MSBuild.exe")
project_output_dir = os.getenv('PROJECT_OUTPUT_DIR', r'c:\Build_distribute\')
if not os.path.exists(msbuild):
raise Exception('not found ' + msbuild)
projects = [r"..\yoursolution.sln", r"..\yourproject\yourproject.vcxproj"]
win32_targets = '/t:ProjectA:rebuild;ProjectB:rebuild;ProjectC:rebuild'
x64_targets = '/t:ProjectA:rebuild;ProjectB:rebuild;ProjectC:rebuild'
rebuild = '/t:Rebuild'
debug = '/p:Configuration=Debug'
release = '/p:Configuration=Release'
x64 = '/p:Platform=x64'
win32 = '/p:Platform=Win32'
xp_toolset = '/p:PlatformToolset=v110/v100/v90'
#msbuild %s.vcxproj /t:rebuild /p:configuration=VC90Release,platform=%s
#msbuild myproject.vcxproj /p:PlatformToolset=v90 /t:rebuild
#msbuild myproject.vcxproj /p:PlatformToolset=v110_xp /t:rebuild
# making command line to run
default = [msbuild]
default.append('/m:1') # https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms164311.aspx
libs = default [:]
libs.append(projects[0]) # append a project/solution name to build command-line
if self.build_arch_target == 'x86':
# win32 targets
def build(self, lib_to_build):
build_result = False
print ('Build Start ************************')
print ('Target Platform: ' + self.build_arch_target)
print('configuration: ' + self.build_type)
process = subprocess.Popen(args = lib_to_build, shell=True, stdout=subprocess.PIPE, stderr=subprocess.STDOUT)
while True:
nextline = process.stdout.readline()
if nextline == b'' and process.poll() != None:
sys.stdout.write(nextline.decode('cp949')) # adjust the codepage for your console
output = process.communicate()[0]
exitCode = process.returncode
if (exitCode == 0):
build_result = True
pass #return output
build_result = False
#raise Exception(command, exitCode, output)
print ('************************')
print('build finished %d ' % process.returncode)
return build_result

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Solution for #2. You can easily modify/set the version number string on your *.rc resource file by using python regex. Here is the example.

# source taken from
# http://stackoverflow.com/questions/4003725/modifying-rc-file-with-python-regexp-involved
# target_version = "2,3,4,5"
def set_rc_version(rcfile, target_version):
with open(rcfile, "r+") as f:
rc_content = f.read()
# first part
#FILEVERSION 6,0,20,163
# second part
#VALUE "FileVersion", "6, 0, 20, 163"
#VALUE "ProductVersion", "6, 0, 20, 163"
# first part
regex_1 = re.compile(r"\b(FILEVERSION|FileVersion|PRODUCTVERSION|ProductVersion) \d+,\d+,\d+,\d+\b", re.MULTILINE)
# second part
regex_2 = re.compile(r"\b(VALUE\s*\"FileVersion\",\s*\"|VALUE\s*\"ProductVersion\",\s*\").*?(\")", re.MULTILINE)
version = r"\1 " + target_version
#modified_str = re.sub(regex, version, rc_content)
pass_1 = re.sub(regex_1, version, rc_content)
version = re.sub(",", ", ", version) #replacing "x,y,v,z" with "x, y, v, z"
pass_2 = re.sub(regex_2, r"\g<1>" + target_version + r"\2", pass_1)
# overwrite
#set_rc_version(r"C:/repo/projectA/resources/win/projectA.rc", "3,4,5,6")

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