NuGet Package Manager extension for Visual Studio 2010

, posted: 21-Dec-2011 10:48

One of the most exciting add-on extensions that have appeared for Visual Studio 2010 has to be Nuget.

Without a doubt it has profoundly changed the way we work with external libraries and dependencies in our projects here at Red Jungle.

To quote the Nuget codeplex site:

NuGet is a free, open source developer focused package management system for the .NET platform intent on simplifying the process of incorporating third party libraries into a .NET application during development.


There are a large number of useful 3rd party open source libraries out there for the .NET platform, but for those not familiar with the OSS ecosystem, it can be a pain to pull these libraries into a project.


NuGet automates all these common and tedious tasks for a package as well as its dependencies. It removes nearly all of the challenges of incorporating a third party open source library into a project’s source tree.

In effect, what Nuget does is to allow a developer to (either via command line console, or through a GUI – as shown below) find and add packages [such as libraries, tools, etc.] to projects, in a profoundly seamless and simple way. In other words, a feature which was long overdue!

When a package is added, Nuget will download the package, extract it, copy the files to their correct locations within your project structure and automatically make whatever changes are needed to your project, such as adding references and even modifying your .config files appropriately.

Nuget will even keep track of when a new version of each package is available, and allow you to upgrade with a single command. Le

Let’s take ELMAH as an example. It’s a fine error logging utility which has no dependencies on other libraries, but is still a challenge to integrate into a project. These are the steps it takes without NuGet:

1. Find ELMAH
2. Download the correct zip package.
3. “Unblock” the package.
4. Verify its hash against the one provided by the hosting environment.
5. Unzip the package contents into a specific location in the solution.
6. Add an assembly reference to the assembly.
7. Update web.config with the correct settings which a developer needs to search for.

And this is for a library that has no dependencies. Imagine doing this for NHibernate.Linq which has multiple dependencies each needing similar steps. We can do much better!

Since its initial beta release back in October 2010 (originally named NuPack) the Nuget project has been in continuous development and has rapidly improved at each stage; it has now become part of our ‘must have’ tooling support.

For insight into the Nuget project and its development it’s worthwhile reading through Phil Haack’s previous blog posts.

Download a trial of Visual Studio.

About the author

Phil Gale is a Software Architect and Graphic Designer with over a decade of hands on experience in the web and software industry. He is a director at Red Jungle where they make fantastic software with exceptional user experiences. You can catch him twitter at @redjungle and on Geekzone as well.

Recommended documentation add-on for Visual Studio 2010: GhostDoc

, posted: 12-Dec-2011 16:00

During my six years of commercial development experience I have stumbled upon different kinds of add-ons that developers can use to integrate into the Visual Studio environment and get extra functionality that was missing.

Generally these tools make it for a better experience for the developer, saving both time and effort in long projects. GhostDoc is one I've been using especially in Visual Studio 2010 to help with documentation, so I decided to write a brief blog post on how it works and what it does.

GhostDoc comes in two different versions (free or paid) and works with both C# and VB.Net.

I've been using the free version, which accomplishes exactly what I need it to do. Once it is installed browse to your class/code that you have created:

Right click on the section you wish to create comments on, which could be the Class, Variable or Sub/Function declaration - and Click "Document This!":

GhostDoc will auto generate comments on each section, and on Sub/Functions will try to guess what the function is used for, along with what Parameters are expected.

It is a basic add-on, but I have found that even the simple add-ons add extra value.

Documentation is a normal practice used in the Industry, so this add-in will definitely help you with this. It integrates perfectly in the Visual Studio IDE.

Download a trial of Visual Studio 2010.

About the author

Stephen Aitchison is senior developer at Aura Redeye Security Ltd. You can find him on Twitter as @NZCoderGuy and on Geekzone as well.

Getting Started with Visual Studio LightSwitch 2011

, posted: 17-Nov-2011 15:45

Microsoft Visual Studio LightSwitch 2011 is the newest edition of the Visual Studio Family. It's a simplified, self-service development tool that enables you to build business applications quickly and easily for the desktop and cloud, regardless of your development skills.

It also has Starter Kits (downloadable project templates you can customize to suit your needs) to enable the quick creation of common business apps for tasks like time tracking, customer service, and performance reviews. You can easily add more complexity as needed with the LightSwitch Extensions provided, such as components, data sources (including SharePoint 2010, SQL Server, SQL Azure, and other third party databases), and services for your app.

From a technical perspective it creates the necessary core plumbing for your business applications on top of well-known technologies like Silverlight, MVVM, RIA Services, and Entity Framework, and best practices in user experience, security and n-tiered applications.

The starting place to visit first for development content is the LightSwitch Development Center on MSDN. As you can see from the page, there are four steps to get you started:

 Download Visual Studio LightSwitch 2011

 Watch the instructional LightSwitch "How Do I?" videos

 Get essential training

 Ask questions in the LightSwitch forums

Here are a few more interesting links:

. Deploying LightSwitch Applications to Windows Azure article on the MSDN Magazine November 2011 edition
. The official LightSwitch Team Blog
. The "LightSwitch Star" Contest on CodeProject

Thiago Almeida
Technology Evangelist
Microsoft New Zealand
Blog | Twitter

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