Thursday, 22 February 2007

Parsing DBP (Visual Studio Database Project) files

I was surprised how few people appeared to be trying to 'parse' Visual Studio Database Projects (*.dbp files). Why is it useful? If you want to construct a database from scripts in a project, you want to get exactly those scripts run - not any others that might be lying around the filesystem because Studio was too lazy to 'delete' them when they were removed from the Project (or perhaps they were retrieved from VSS).

Captain LoadTest had the same issue in 2005, and developed a
NAnt script to parse VS.Net database project files, which is a nice idea - but I really wanted to access the 'tree' of scripts from C#.

Thankfully, the open-source project AnkhSVN (which integrates the Subversion source control tool into Visual Studio) has exactly the code needed: ParsedSolution.cs and ParsedSolutionItem.cs.

I commented out some code ('context') and added this method, and that pretty much worked. Make sure you check the licence before using...
/// <summary>
/// Borrows code from the solution parser to JUST parse Database Project Files
/// </summary>
/// <param name="projectFileName">The full path to a *.DBP file</param>
public static ParsedSolutionItem OpenDatabaseProject(string projectFileName)
string projectFile = projectFileName; //GetProjectFile(projectFileName);

ParsedSolutionItem project = new ParsedSolutionItem();
project.Name = "Database"; //projectName;
project.FileName = projectFile;

if (System.IO.File.Exists(projectFile))
using (StreamReader reader = new StreamReader(projectFile))
string extension = Path.GetExtension(projectFile);
switch (extension)
case ".dbp":
ParseDatabaseProject(project, reader);

throw new ApplicationException("Trying to parse unknown project of type " + extension);
return project;
return null;

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