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I spent long enough trying to search for solutions to automatically increment our Web site’s version number in Visual Studio Online, that I thought I’d write a step by step guide on how to accomplish this task.

First, thanks to John Robbins who actually is the brains behind the solution, I just wanted to supplement it with a succinct implementation plan.

Our application is an MVC Web application that is hosted and built utilizing Visual Studio Online.


  1. Download the latest version of WintellectTFSBuildNumber from GitHub.
  2. Extract the .zip file (if you downloaded the zip) to a desired temporary location.
  3. After you have extracted the .zip file, place the ‘build’ folder which contains two target files in your source control repository.  This file should be placed outside of our solution.  I placed this at the same level as my .sln file in my source tree. (e.g., /dev/build/)
  4. Modify the VersionNumber.Targets file in your /build directory to specify where the newly created files that will store your version info.  I put these in the same build folder so it looks like this:
  5. Now I actually had a problem with the hard coded <TFSBuildRevision> that was hardcoded for local builds, so I went ahead and changed the following line in the Wintellect.TFSBuildNumber.Targets file to use a wildcard ‘*’:
    <!-- For local builds from a developer, just grab the current date.—>
    <PropertyGroup Condition="'$(WintellectBuildType)'=='DEVELOPERBUILD'">
  6. I also wanted the output files to change both the AssemblyVersion AND the AssemblyFileVersion (I think by default it was just outputting the AssemblyFileVersion).  To do this, I modified the Wintellect.TFSBuildNumber.Targets file to use the following lines (by default it just had the AssemblyFileVersion line).
  7. Since I only cared about this in our C# solution, I only modified the above lines under the comment
    <!– The C# version file target. –>
  8. From this point, I went ahead and included the following lines in my .csproj file.
    <Import Project=”..\Build\VersionNumbers.Targets” />
  9. At this point, we’re almost done.  I opened up my solution and performed a build.  This build output a bunch of the version files to the /build directory we created in step 3.
  10. I then added the file, SharedAssemblyFileVersion.cs, as a LINK from the /build directory into my solution.  Note, you do not want to simply add this as an existing item to your source control.  Ensure you add it as a linked item.
  11. That’s it!  Now to reference this item programmatically, you can utilize System.Reflection.Assembly.GetExecutingAssembly().GetName().Version.ToString();