Microsoft launches open source .Net package manager

The NuPack package manager is designed to make it as simple as possible to integrate open source libraries within .Net projects.

Microsoft began offering on Wednesday an early version of NuPack, an open source package manager for its .Net software development platform.

Also, Microsoft is providing a beta version of its ASP.MVC (Model View Controller) 3 technology and a second beta release of its WebMatrix Web site-building tool. 

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The company's NuPack technology works with .Net project types, including ASP.Net WebForms, ASP.Net MVC, and others. "NuPack is a free open source package manager that makes it easy for you to find, install, and use .Net libraries in your projects," said Scott Guthrie, corporate vice president of the Microsoft Developer Division, in a blog post. A developer preview is available at the Codeplex website.

"Our goal with NuPack is to make it as simple as possible to integrate open source libraries within .Net projects. It will be supported in all versions of Visual Studio," said Guthrie. Microsoft anticipates NuPack serving as a fundamental component of the .Net stack and that it will encourage more .Net developers to use open source libraries.

Developers maintaining open source projects, such as Moq and NHibernate, can use NuPack to package up libraries and register them with an online gallery, or catalog, that is searchable, Guthrie said. Dependency management between libraries is handled.

"The client-side NuPack tools, which include full Visual Studio integration, make it trivial for any .Net developer who wants to use one of these libraries to easily find and install it within the project they are working on," Guthrie said.

NuPack has been accepted as an addition to the Outercurve Foundation's ASP.Net Open Source Gallery. Outercurve is an open source projects organization formerly known as CodePlex and launched by Microsoft.

Microsoft on Wednesday also launched a beta release of ASP.Net MVC 3, which is an update to the ASP.Net MVC 3 Preview that shipped two months ago. The beta release includes enhancements to the Razor view engine option, including cleaner MVC integration. New view helper methods are supported as well.

The beta release is accessible at Microsoft's website. AJAX and Validation helpers in the package use an unobtrusive JavaScript approach by default. NuPack integration also is supported as well as extended dependency injection. Helpers and classes are featured to improve "everyday coding," Guthrie said.

Microsoft's WebMatrix Beta 2 offers Web page enhancements as well as improved templates and NuPack integration. WebMatrix is a tool for building Windows Web sites. The release is available at the WebMatrix website.

"Today's releases further evolve and enhance the Microsoft Web Stack," Guthrie said. "All of the above capabilities work with .Net 4 and [Visual Studio]  2010 and do not modify any existing files that ship with it -- they are all additive and safe to install on your machine."

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