See Chapter 4, "The Build Lab and Personnel," for information on configuring the build environment on your build machines and Chapter 7, "The Build Environment," for a sample of setting up the environment. No matter which binary-generating (build) tool that you use, it will need to be wrapped by a script. By script, I mean a list of commands written in a language such as VBScript, JScript, Perl, or a command prompt (batch file) that automates certain tasks. An example of the most simple script would be just one line to execute your build command. Our build scripts at Microsoft can get complicated and contain thousands of lines of code. The most common language used for the scripts is Perl or command prompt calls (batch files).
Scripts are used because the majority of builds are done at the command line and not through a visual interface like Visual Studio or whatever your favorite editor is. Although developers are encouraged to perform builds of their code through the visual interface (in Visual Studio, the shortcut key is F5), they are required to perform the command-line build that the CBT uses when building the product. In the past, Microsoft tried to use a visual shell (or GUI) to run builds. Besides it being difficult to automate, the visual shell usually hid a lot of errors or problems that we would have seen or logged at the command prompt. Today, we just stick to the command-line builds, where we have a lot more control.