When you distribute your program, library, or xll addin it is usefull to have a function that can tell you when your project was compiled. This way you can ensure that the new program, library, or xll addin is correctly installed on a user’s system. In this post I will describe how to set up such function in your Visual Studio C++ project.

  • Create timestamp.h with the following content:

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    #include <string>
    
    std::string TestTimeStamp();
    

  • Create timestamp.cpp with the following content:

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    #include "timestamp.h"
    
    std::string TestTimeStamp()
    {
      std::string date(__DATE__);
      std::string time(__TIME__);
      std::string res;
      res = date + " | " + time;
      return res;
    }
    

  • Add custom build step to make sure that timestamp.cpp is compiled every time.

    • Right click on the project in the Solution Explorer and select Properties
    • Make sure that Configuration is set to All Configurations
    • Go to Configuration Properties > Custom Build Step > General and fill out options as follows:

      • Command Line: del $(ProjectDir)$(Configuration)\timestamp.obj
      • Description: Refresh timestamp
      • Outputs: fake.cpp
      • Execute Before: PreBuildEvent

options

  • Now every time you compile the project the timestamp string returned by TestTimeStamp() function is updated.