Working directory for Build Agents and building different branches

· December 9, 2008

We have been chasing a strange problem for a few days now. The scenario is as follows;

We created a new TFS build server, that is - we set up the build service on a new server. In our TFS Source control we had two branches with a build definition for each. Finally we set up a Build Agent for the new server via Visual Studio Team System.

But the builds failed! With error message “The path [path] is already mapped in workspace [workspace]”

We didn’t get why until we checked a property on the build agent; Working Directory. This can be set by right-clicking on the Builds-folder in Team Explorer, choosing the agent and the Edit.

On the Build Agent Properties page there is a WorkingDirectory-textbox. This dictates where the agent should build. However - what not is shown is that you can use a variable in the path: $(BuildDefinitionPath).

Since our build script uses relative paths it was very important that the path looked the same in-different of the build definition. That is we wanted a separate build folder for each build. The $(BuildDefinitionPath) at the end of the WorkingDirectory-property of the build agent solved it!

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