Including / Excluding files from build with VS2017 and .NET Core

I have a project where the wwwroot for an ASP.NET Core application is an SPA managed entirely by a node build chain. This means VS is completely hands-off with regards to the development of the UI, but it does have to somewhat be aware of it to debug and publish.

VS2015 / project.json Build

The project.json file looked as follows:

  "buildOptions": {
    "emitEntryPoint": true,
    "preserveCompilationContext": true,
    "compile": {
      "exclude": ["wwwroot"]

  "publishOptions": {
    "include": [

This would result in the wwwroot not getting compiled whatsoever, but the files within ‘dist’ would get published along with the .NET code. The node_modules folder was hidden within the VS Solution Explorer.

VS2017 / CSProj build

The auto-migration with VS2017 will attempt to follow the changes in the project.json, but the end result won’t work. VS will be super slow due to the node_modules folder, while also trying to compile the Typescript. You can wholesale block the compilation of Typescript, but I prefer to be a bit more explicit about what I want VS to do. Edit the .csproj for your project, and use the following ItemGroup to do ensure it does the same as the project.json from earlier:

  <Compile Remove="wwwroot\**" />
  <Content Remove="wwwroot\**" />
  <EmbeddedResource Remove="wwwroot\**" />
  <None Remove="wwwroot\**" />
  <Content Include="wwwroot\dist\prod\**\*" />
  <Content Update="wwwroot\dist\prod\**\*;appsettings.json;web.config">

This has the additional advantage in that the files we don’t care about in wwwroot are automatically hidden for all users of the solution – no manually hiding from Solution Explorer.

Posted by Dan in Programming, 2 comments