NuGet Overview

NuGet is the package manager for the Microsoft development platform including .NET. The NuGet client tools provide the ability to produce and consume packages. The NuGet Gallery (nuget.org) is the central package repository used by all package authors and consumers.

When you install a package, NuGet copies files to your solution and automatically makes whatever changes are needed, such as adding references and changing your app.config or web.config file. If you decide to remove the library, NuGet removes files and reverses whatever changes it made in your project so that no clutter is left.

NuGet Packages

Everything necessary to install a library or tool is bundled into a package (a .nupkg file). A package includes files to copy to your project and a manifest file that describes the contents of the package and what needs to be done to add or remove the library. Packages are bundled into feeds that Visual Studio accesses in order to present lists of available packages. There is an official feed that is the default source for NuGet, and you can contribute to that feed or create your own feeds.

NuGet User Interface in Visual Studio

NuGet runs in all versions of Visual Studio 2012, as well as Visual Studio 2010, Visual Web Developer 2010, and Windows Phone Developer Tools 7.1. You can find, install, remove, and update packages by using the Manage NuGet Packages dialog box or by using PowerShell command-line commands in the Package Manager Console dedicated Visual Studio window. Both options are accessible from the Visual Studio main menu; you can also open the dialog box from a Solution Explorer context menu.

The Manage NuGet Packages Dialog Box

The following illustration shows the Manage NuGet Packages dialog box. Click on the Online tab to see packages available in the official feed.

Manage NuGet Packages dialog

For information about how to use the Manage NuGet Packages dialog box, see Using the Manage NuGet Packages Dialog Box

The Package Manager Console Window

The following illustration shows the Package Manager Console window.

Package Manager Console

For information about how to use the Package Manager Console, see Using the Package Manager Console

Supported Operating Systems

The PowerShell cmdlets require PowerShell 2.0. Therefore, NuGet requires one of the following operating systems:

  • Windows 8
  • Windows 7
  • Windows Vista SP1
  • Windows Server 2008
  • Windows Server 2008 R2
  • Windows Server 2003 SP2
  • Windows XP SP3

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