New NPackage binaries

May 16, 2010 at 06:57 PM | categories: NPackage | View Comments

I've shaved two yaks this weekend:

  • Ported the NPackage install command to F#. There shouldn't be any visible change in the application: rather, F# lets me write more succinct code for handling HTTP and package dependencies. (Specifically, I was able to replace a lot of my boilerplace C# code with a computation workflow that takes care of deciding which files need to be downloaded again and which ones can be left alone.)

  • Set up an instance of TeamCity to take the source code from GitHub and build binaries for me. This isn't a version 1.0 release yet, but you're welcome to download the binaries and help me test them.

Download the most recent NPackage binaries

PS last week I promised I'd implement package dependencies. I haven't done that yet.

PPS here's another .NET packaging system to look out for: Sebastien Lambla's OpenWrap

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This week on NPackage

May 09, 2010 at 08:19 PM | categories: NPackage | View Comments

Browse the NPackage source on GitHub

I implemented the local package database idea that I mentioned last weekend. Now the NPackage client downloads a packages.js file that describes every version of every package; now you don't have to specify full package file URLs with version numbers. I've also switched to JSON syntax for the package files, instead of using my hand-made Yaml-ish parser.

I want to do at least two more things before putting togther an NPackage version 1.0 release:

  • Packages should be able to depend on other packages. These dependencies should consist of a package name and, optionally, the range of version numbers that are acceptable. NPackage will pick the latest version of each package that satisfies all the version number constraints.
  • Developers should be able to set up a local package repository that takes prececdence over the web site

Hopefully I'll at least have dependencies working by next weekend.

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First six NPackage packages

May 03, 2010 at 03:49 PM | categories: NPackage | View Comments

Browse the NPackage source on GitHub

This weekend I've had a couple of productive sessions on NPackage and I'm pretty happy with how it's working out.

I've set up package files on Amazon S3 for the following libraries:

These six packages test a few different scenarios:

  • NUnit and SharpZipLib are needed to build NPackage itself
  • Rhino Mocks is a good test because the download URL doesn't resemble the name of the file that gets downloaded; I had to write code to parse the HTTP Content-Disposition header to make sense of it
  • Cecil is an example of a library that's distributed with the rest of Mono, which is supplied as a large .tar.gz archive (the other libraries on the list above are all .zip files)
  • NHibernate is an example of a library that has its own dependencies, i.e. log4net

Although NPackage is working nicely for its own development, I need to put in more work before the installation process is simple enough. Right now the command to install NPackage's own dependencies looks like this:

NPackage \

I'd like to simplify it to this:

np install nunit sharpziplib

To do this I'll need to handle dependencies properly. I expect I'll need to drop the approach of putting package descriptions in their own files: the client will need to contain enough intelligence to put together a dependency graph and install the right versions of the right packages. It will be easier to do this if the client can download a central package database list and make its decisions based on the descriptions within there.

I envisage having local databases that can contain a few local packages and delegate the rest to the central list on the web. I'd also like the client to be self-contained enough to carry on working even if this central package server falls over: the client should cache the most recent version of the list and work from there.

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