Visual Studio BuildTools


we encounter an issue when using Visual Studio BuildTools 2019. We did not install Visual Studio IDE, just the BuildTools. We get this error “The expression [’$Agent.VisualStudio.2019.Path$’] evaluated false.”. The property (path) itself is configured correctly. However, Continua is checking for The Build Tools use “C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio\2019\BuildTools\Common7\Tools\VsDevCmd.bat” instead. I can not change the name of the file to execute, though.

Doesn’t Continua support Build Tools? Do I have to install a full version of Visual Studio?


Hi Thomas,

The Visual Studio action runs the command line which is not part of Visual Studio Build Tools. VsDevCmd.bat is the Developers Command Prompt which does not provide the same functionality as To use the Visual Studio action you must install a full version of Visual Studio on your agent.

Visual Studio Build Tools does however include MSBuild.exe which called by the MSBuild action in Continua CI and can be used to build any projects that you can build with the Visual Studio action.

The MSBuild action (or DotNet action) is recommended for building .Net projects in Continua CI.

Hi Dave,

the responsible team mate quotes, that MSBuild has several issues which prevent its usage. Also MSBuild offers a subset of functionality only. Tools such as “devenv”, “dotnet build” and “nuget build” call themselves MSBuild when necessary.

We have installed a full version of “Visual Studio” now, to solve the issue.