Between nuget.org and private package galleries that your organization might establish, you can find tens of thousands of highly useful packages to use in your apps and services (including packages that support native C++ projects; see Native C++ Packages). But regardless of the source, consuming a package follows the same general workflow:
NuGet remembers the identity and version number of each installed package, recording it in either
packages.config (NuGet 2.x) or
project.json (NuGet 3.x) in your project root. You can look in the appropriate file at any time to see the full list of dependencies for your project.
When installing packages, NuGet typically checks if the package is already available from its cache. You can manually clear this cache from the command line, as described on Managing the NuGet cache.
When adding project code to a source repository, you typically don't include NuGet packages. Those who later clone the repository, which includes build agents on systems like Visual Studio Team Services, must restore the necessary packages prior to running a build:
Package Restore uses the information in
project.json to reinstall all dependencies. Note that there are differences in the process between NuGet 2.x and 3.x, which are described in Dependency Resolution.
Occasionally it's necessary to reinstall packages that are already included in a project, which may also reinstall dependencies. This is easy to do using the
reinstall command via the NuGet command line or the NuGet Package Manager Console. For details, see Reinstalling and Updating Packages.
Finally, NuGet's behavior is driven by
nuget.config configuration files. Multiple files can be used to centralize certain settings at different levels, as explained in Configuring NuGet Behavior.
Enjoy your productive coding with NuGet packages!