Web publish can't find Microsoft.Build.Framework


I'm using VS2017 with an ASP.NET project that I've inherited from another developer. I have the publish functionality set up to publish to a folder. This has all been working great until now.

The previous developer used EntityFramework, though all of the references were broken when I got the project, so I had to piece together what version. I'm using 6.2.0 currently and everything works fine. He apparently was using the automatic migration functionality. I've continued using this, but have had a couple situations where I had to enable data loss. I really don't want to do this, so the suggested path is to enable migrations and add the actual migrations. I'm not new to OR Mappers, but I am new to EF, so migrations are pretty new to me. In fact, it's been an uphill battle just to get things to work the way the docs say they are supposed to (see this thread)

So, now I am to the point of having my initial migration data. It seemed like the next step is to get this released to our dev server and then to our production server. So, being that I've used the publish functionality many times before with this project, I figured it would just work. Well, that's not the case now due to the changes I did to get EF migrations working.

The publish goes until it does this:

C:\WINDOWS\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v4.0.30319\aspnet_compiler.exe -v / -p 
app\WebApp\obj\Release\AspnetCompileMerge\Source -u 

/global.asax(1,0): Error ASPPARSE: Could not load file or assembly 
'Microsoft.Build.Framework, Version=, Culture=neutral, 
PublicKeyToken=b03f5f7f11d50a3a' or one of its dependencies. The system 
cannot find the file specified.

ASPNETCOMPILER(0,0): Error ASPRUNTIME: Could not load file or assembly 
'Microsoft.Build.Framework, Version=, Culture=neutral, 
PublicKeyToken=b03f5f7f11d50a3a' or one of its dependencies. The system 
cannot find the file specified.

The first thing that struck me as interesting is that in order to get migrations to work, I had to install Microsoft.Build.Framework 15 (specifically I installed 15.1.1012 using nuget and then tried updating that to the latest, which is now 15.8.166). Seemed like more than a coincidence that this is a different version of the same library that is in the errors.

I saw some mention of needing to edit devenv.exe.config to change relative paths to absolute (here), but this didn't help.

I verified in the GAC that is there. Apparently so is From what I understand, installed versions that are less than 15 should be in the GAC.

I made sure Microsoft.Build.Framework was added (via nuget) to both my web app project as well as the project that has the EF context and migrations. The version 15 of Microsoft.Build.Framework was listed in both projects as a reference and was automatically set to Copy Local.

I tried changing the version referenced in my web app to, which initially had Copy Local set to false. Didn't help. Changed the reference to Copy Local. This time, I'm met with a single error of:

Could not load file or assembly 'Microsoft.Build.Framework, 
Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b03f5f7f11d50a3a' or one 
of its dependencies. The located assembly's manifest definition does not 
match the assembly reference. (Exception from HRESULT: 0x80131040)

Now, my thought was since it looks like multiple versions are involved, maybe it should be taken care of with a binding redirect. I rarely have to deal with binding redirects, so I'm not much of an expert, but I did look at the web.config and it appears something (I'm assuming Nuget install of Microsoft.Build.Framework 15) had already entered the following:

    <assemblyIdentity name="Microsoft.Build.Framework" publicKeyToken="b03f5f7f11d50a3a" culture="neutral" />
    <bindingRedirect oldVersion="" newVersion="" />

So, considering that is in the GAC and considering there's a redirect that I believe would redirect any reference to, why would I get errors about not being able to find Is there something I'm missing? I assume this must be related to something aspnet_compiler.exe is doing on a publish, since I can build and test the app fine on my development machine.

asked on Stack Overflow Oct 5, 2018 by Dan

3 Answers


I had the exact same issue as described by OP.

Problem was solved by installing Microsoft Build Tools 2015

For me issue happened after moving from VS 2015 to VS 2017. However, I have heard few people reporting the same when a project created in VS 2015 is attempted to be published in VS 2017.

answered on Stack Overflow Jul 8, 2020 by Sahil Shah

It's a Microsoft package issue, Microsoft seems to phase out support of older Nuget versions. This solution worked for me. Issue disappeared and now builds successfully.

In your Azure Build Pipeline > NuGet tool installer step, change Version of NuGet.exe to install to a newer version, like 5.4.0.

Check Nuget's latest ReleasedAndBlessed version at https://dist.nuget.org/tools.json.

answered on Stack Overflow Apr 10, 2020 by Alfred Wallace

In my case removing bindingRedirect from web.config and then installing latest nuget for Microsoft.Build.Framework worked like a charm.

answered on Stack Overflow May 21, 2020 by Lucas Z

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