From MSDN: Target Build Order
Determining the Target Build Order
MSBuild determines the target build order as follows:
- InitialTargets targets are run.
- Targets specified on the command line by the /target switch are run. If you specify no targets on the command line, then the DefaultTargets targets are run. If neither is present, then the first target encountered is run.
- The Condition attribute of the target is evaluated. If the Condition attribute is present and evaluates to false, the target isn't executed and has no further effect on the build.
- Before a target is executed, its DependsOnTargets targets are run.
- Before a target is executed, any target that lists it in a BeforeTargets attribute is run.
- Before a target is executed, its Inputs attribute and Outputs attribute are compared. If MSBuild determines that any output files are out of date with respect to the corresponding input file or files, then MSBuild executes the target. Otherwise, MSBuild skips the target.
- After a target is executed or skipped, any target that lists it in an AfterTargets attribute is run.