Recently I had heard live.asp.net had started to precompile the razor views. I figured I’d dig in and quickly figure out how to do it.

Honestly its quite simple. Add the Microsoft.AspNetCore.Mvc.Razor.ViewCompilation package to your project. You can do this through the dotnet cli dotnet add package Microsoft.AspNetCore.Mvc.Razor.ViewCompilation or through the visual studio package explorer install-package Microsoft.AspNetCore.Mvc.Razor.ViewCompilation.

Then simply add <MvcRazorCompileOnPublish>true</MvcRazorCompileOnPublish> and <PreserveCompilationContext>true</PreserveCompilationContext> to your csproj file’s property group. Thats it. You will now precompile your razor views on publish. You should end up with something like the following.

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<Project Sdk="Microsoft.NET.Sdk.Web">
<PropertyGroup>
<TargetFramework>netcoreapp1.1</TargetFramework>
<PreserveCompilationContext>true</PreserveCompilationContext>
<MvcRazorCompileOnPublish Condition="'$(Configuration)' == 'Release'">true</MvcRazorCompileOnPublish>
</PropertyGroup>
<ItemGroup>
<PackageReference Include="Microsoft.AspNetCore" Version="1.1.1" />
<PackageReference Include="Microsoft.AspNetCore.Mvc" Version="1.1.2" />
<PackageReference Include="Microsoft.AspNetCore.Mvc.Razor.ViewCompilation" Version="1.1.0" />
<PackageReference Include="Microsoft.AspNetCore.StaticFiles" Version="1.1.1" />
<PackageReference Include="Microsoft.Extensions.Logging.Debug" Version="1.1.1" />
<PackageReference Include="Microsoft.VisualStudio.Web.BrowserLink" Version="1.1.0" />
</ItemGroup>
</Project>

A small step further

Ok, so I usually compile my app in debug mode for my dev environment. This is for a few reasons, but mostly for debugging purposes. However I often build in release mode for my staging/release environments. We can add a condition to our Razor compilation to only compile in Release mode. This will give us the added benefit of only baking compiled razor for environments built outside of debug. <MvcRazorCompileOnPublish Condition="'$(Configuration)' == 'Release'">true</MvcRazorCompileOnPublish>. Thats it! Since MSBuild’s xml is well thought out, we can alter its behaviors quite easily.