Jul 14, 2011

Starting a new project: NugetCracker

Well lately I've been a heavy user of NuGet packaging, trying to tame versioning issues in some proprietary projects I work on that evolve, and partly reuse, near to a hundred libraries (many of them in vertically-dependent sets aligned to 'plugins' in the applications).

Let's put it bluntly: IT'S A NIGHTMARE.

First of all, we have many solutions as it is unfeasible to load and work with a single one containing hundreds of projects.
Also we needed to organize source in a hierarchy of folders, for subsystems, for specific plugin trees, for product, separating test projects, etc... So it means we have tree of folders with projects in leafs, nested 3,4, or more levels down from the solution that uses them.
Finally, we have solutions that share some projects (one of the purposes of adopting NuGet is to avoid this pattern, but we aren't there yet).

Summing up the above points, we are very very far from the NuGet assumption of a single-solution, with all projects nested just one level, and mainly using external NuGets from the standard source feed.

The standard NuGet feed is rarely used by us, because most packages there just don't support .NET 2.0, which our projects are still bound to, the sole package we could use from there was log4net, which is stable for some years, The rest we needed to cook our own versions of nugets for  Npgsql, nHibernate 1.2, Castle.ActiveRecord 1.0RC3, and so on. All of this is published on a server shared folder, as we doesn't have time allowance to setup a NuGet server

Let's just exemplify what all that means...

A contrived and simplified scenario:

Library NugetCracker.Core  depends only on framework assemblies.
Library NugetCracker.CLI depends on NugetCracker.Core and framework assemblies
Library NugetCracker.Web depends on NugetCracker.Core and NancyFX and framework assemblies
Program NugetCracker depends on NugetCracker.CLI and NugetCracker.Web

Now if we allow the Package Manager to get away with forcing bindingRedirects in the app.config (or web.config), we could publish a new nuget for NugetCracker.Core and update just the NugetCracker program. Now, this may work if the changes are non-breaking, but if, for example, you need to add a new method to some interface in core that the other libraries must implement and the program uses, we will have to update the intermediary nugets, build and publish new nugets, and them update the program.

I think that now you can easily extrapolate that for my real scenario that means many iterations of building/publishing/updating across many solutions.

Well time to fast-forward to what I expect to be able to do when my newest project NugetCracker 1.0 is done:

In the command line:

> NugetCracker
Scanning for solutions in .
Found NugetCracker.sln
-- Project NugetCracker.Core generates nuget for version
-- Project NugetCracker.CLI generates nuget for version depends on NugetCracker.Core
-- Project NugetCracker.Web generates nuget for version depends on NugetCracker.Core, NancyFx
-- Project NugetCracker generates program for version depends on NugetCracker.CLI, NugetCracker.Web
No nugets sources specified using default feed
No publishing feed/share specified, publishing to folder .\NugetPackages
Command > BumpVersion --minor --cascade NugetCracker.Core
Bumping version of package NugetCracker.Core to
Building NugetCracker.Core
Packaging NugetCracker.Core.1.1
Publishing NugetCracker.Core.1.1 to .\NugetPackages
Updating Package Dependency on NugetCracker.Core to 1.1 in NugetCracker.CLI, NugetCracker.Web
Bumping version of package NugetCracker.CLI to
Building NugetCracker.CLI
Packaging NugetCracker.CLI.1.1
Publishing NugetCracker.CLI.1.1 to .\NugetPackages
Bumping version of package NugetCracker.Web to
Building NugetCracker.Web
Packaging NugetCracker.Web.1.1
Publishing NugetCracker.Web.1.1 to .\NugetPackages
Updating Package Dependency on NugetCracker.CLI to 1.1 in NugetCracker
Updating Package Dependency on NugetCracker.Web to 1.1 in NugetCracker
Bumping version of program NugetCracker.Core to
Building NugetCracker
Packaging .\NugetCracker.1.1.zip for zip installation
Command > PublishTo -Apikey xxxxxxx -Source http://nuget.mycompany.com/
Publishing NugetCracker.Core.1.1 to http://nuget.mycompany.com/
Publishing NugetCracker.CLI.1.1 to http://nuget.mycompany.com/
Publishing NugetCracker.Web.1.1 to http://nuget.mycompany.com/

Becoming reality soon...