nu - Gems for .NET

Package management has been on my mind for months as one of the greatest short comings in .NET. If you spend two hours using Ruby and gems, you realize how much easier it is than finding the appropriate .NET assemblies to use. It also promotes using open source libraries, instead of re-inventing the wheel.

nu aims to provide this for .NET.

I checked it out tonight. Here is my experience.

First step is to install it, and ruby is the only pre-req. The following commands show how to install and use it.

> gem install nu
> mkdir test
> cd test
> nu install nunit
> nu install nhibernate

Wow, that was easy. nu downloaded nhibernate and nunit, and placed them in the lib folder (including all of NHibernate’s dependencies). By the way, it literally took less than 30s for me to do this.

So what do I think?

  • It is an easy and fast delivery tool.
  • Using Ruby isn’t that big of a deal, but I think that is my opinion, not the community opinion.
  • It is new, so it has a ways to go in terms of functionality in discovery. I can’t hate because at least they have released something and I have just dreamed about releasing something.
  • Build integration (and probably Visual Studio) is going to be key. And by build, I don’t just mean NAnt and UppercuT, but MSbuild too.
  • The biggest hurdle is building a “gem” community in .NET. For some reason, creating a .NET gem seems kind of awkward (even though it isn’t that hard).