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We are developing software on the Windows platform, using C++ and .NET. A full build can take several hours on a developer laptop. A multi-core build server with lots of RAM and SSD disks could reduce a full build to less than an hour, an incremental builds to minutes.

Has anybody set up a build environment where the actual builds happen on a fast server, but where the build output can be copied to the individual developer PCs for further development, debugging, etc.?

What would be a good way to implement this?

By the way, we are using TeamCity for building and testing. I guess we could use TeamCity's artifact mechanism to get what I want, but I'm not sure that would be a very efficient solution.

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Ideally your build server will check your code out of source control and build it which means that all of your source is available to your developers in source control, not from your build output. You can set TeamCity up to include any external libraries or build items that are not included in your project

You could definitely use TeamCity artifacts to push out anything post-build. This is handy because your artifacts are directly tied to a particular build and don't get overwritten by subsequent builds. That can also be problematic, though, if your artifacts require large amounts of storage.

You could also bake post-build items into your build scripts. This is frequently how automated deployments are done, which is essentially the same concept as what you're looking at.

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