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Sam Abraham Software Engineer/Architect: Putting Customers First
NuGet (pronounced NewGet), is an open source .Net Package Management Tool compatible with Visual Studio 2010 both Express and Commercial Editions. This simple-yet-powerful tool offers a simple way for incorporating and managing .Net packages in Visual Studio 2010 projects. In leveraging NuGet, we get an intuitive user interface allowing the selection of available packages and an easy way to subsequently manage version upgrades or uninstalls for packages already installed via NuGet.
I recently spoke about NuGet at the West Palm Beach .Net Users Group (April) and earlier at the Deerfield Beach Coders’ Café (March). The tool resonated very well with the audience at both group meetings. One use case shared by an attendee on how he plans to leverage NuGet now that he learned about it is to ensure version consistency of open source packages used by his large distributed team. Other NuGet features appreciated by the audience include its knowledge of library, file and configuration updates each package makes to the solution and its ability to easily rollback those changes if the package is later uninstalled.
A question came up on how NuGet can be added to Visual Studio. NuGet is installed as a Visual Studio 2010 extension downloaded either along with ASP.Net MVC 3 when installed via Web Platform Installer (WebPI) or from the Visual Studio Gallery as shown in the screenshots below:
Figure 1 -  Accessing Visual Studio Gallery using Extension Manager.
Figure 2 - Visual Sudio 2010 Online Gallery
Once installed, ensuring the tool is constantly updated to the latest version can be easily accomplished by referring to the Updates tab from the Extension Manager screen. Additionally, users would get a notification message reminding them of any new tool updates as they are released.
A very nice addition to the NuGet project site is the “NuGet Package Explorer”. This helper tool allows us to easily create and edit packages. Additionally, we can open a package from a local or online feed, conveniently inspect its content and optionally save either the package’s metadata file (.nuspec) or the whole package somewhere to local disk. The following are a few screenshots showcasing some of the tool’s features:
Figure 3 - NuGet Package Explorer menu options for creating new or opening existing local or remote package
Figure 4 - Selecting an existing package to edit
Figure 5 -  Viewing Package information and content for Elmah.
Figure 6 - Editing Package Metadata
Figure 7- Saving .nuspec file to local disk
As I had shared in a previous blog post, NuGet can be configured to point to a local/shared folder as package repository instead of a hosted online feed. Jon Galloway has a nice post explaining his NuGet.Downloader NuGet Package used to download online packages to local disk for the purpose of setting up a local package repository. You can access Jon's post here.
In conclusion, NuGet and The NuGet Package Explorer offer a complete solution allowing the easy creation, consumption and management of .Net-based packages.
Posted on Wednesday, May 4, 2011 11:27 AM , Tech Talk , NuGet | Back to top

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