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Quick Wins for .NET build pipelines

Faster builds are equal to faster feedback cycles 🚀, happier developers 😁, and money saved 🤑.

So, even if you shave just a few seconds, it's an investment that compounds.

If you have a .NET Core or .NET 6 (or later) application being built as part of your CI/CD process, it will be using the .NET CLI for sure. Even, if you point and click through TeamCity, Jenkins, etc. configuration, behind the scenes .NET CLI will be running. So, the following tips are likely for you.

You can create a .NET build script with just a few simple commands like the following ones:

  • dotnet build
  • dotnet test
  • dotnet publish
  • dotnet pack

But you can do better than that. Each CLI command has a bunch of options that can be provided and they assume default behaviours when you don't specify them.

Options for optimization

There are 4 options that I want to pay close attention to and are the ones that will be responsible for our optimizations.

  • --configuration <CONFIGURATION>
  • --no-restore
  • --no-build
  • --nologo

--configuration <CONFIGURATION>

It will define the build configuration. The problem with Configuration is that by default, it will use Debug.

Since you want to publish your software using Release mode, you may end up in a place where you use different Configurations on different steps. That means that the following build steps may need to rebuild.


Particularly important for the build step.

The CLI uses implicit restore, so you don't need to run dotnet restore. But, if you want to have a step running dotnet restore, you can disable the implicit restore in the build step, so the CLI doesn't need to check if it's needed.


By default, steps like "test" or "publish" will try to build the software if needed.

If you set the --no-build, it will not build the project before running that step. By doing so, it implicitly uses the --no-restore flag.

One of the advantages of using the --no-build option, is that it helps you spot problems with previous step configuration. Example: if all the steps use --configuration Release, besides dotnet pack, the dotnet pack step will fail. Without the --no-build option, the problem would go unnoticed, and the project built again.


With --nologo Microsoft copyright banner will not be displayed. It is a minor detail, but it's a simple way to remove clutter from your build logs, and IO has a cost even if residual.

Those are details for sure, but they will help you prevent inefficiencies in the build process. Sometimes you may save 1 second, and other times 1 minute, but don't forget that build time savings compound fast.

dotnet build --configuration Release --nologo
dotnet test --configuration Release --nologo --no-build
dotnet publish --configuration Release --nologo --no-build
dotnet pack --configuration Release --nologo --no-build

I hope that this was useful! If you managed to shave some seconds from your pipeline, please let me know. Follow me on Twitter (@gsferreira) and let's keep in touch!