Package Manager Console in Visual Studio

Introduction

The Package Manager Console is a PowerShell console within Visual Studio used to interact with NuGet and automate Visual Studio. You can access the Package Manager Console from within Visual Studio by going to Tools -> Library Package Manager -> Package Manager Console.

library package manager

The following is a screen shot for the console:

package manager console

Benefits of using Package Manager Console (PMC)

So, why should you bother to use PMC given that you have a nice UI for the NuGet system integrated in Visual Studio? The following are the benefits of using PMC over the NuGet UI:

  • Using PMC, you can automate the addition of packages into your solution instead of each team member going to the NuGet UI to add packages.
     
  • The PMC scripts can be part of the Visual Studio solution itself so that any new team member can simply run those scripts when setting up the solution.
     
  • NuGet will always install the latest version of a package however, using PMC you can specify the version number of the package to install.
     
  • PMC is useful if you wish to manage the dependencies manually without using NuGet, for example to install a package without dependencies use the flag -IgnoreDependencies.
     
  • PMC can also be useful to reinstall a package using the -reinstall flag. This provides a kind of repair functionality.
     
  • The PMC scripts can also be part of the continuous integration system.
     
  • PMC is not just an alternative to NuGet. Many packages add commands to PMC for additional functionality. For example: EntityFramework adds a host of commands to manage code first migrations.
Let's see some quick examples of the usage. Now, you can go ahead and type a command to install a new package in your project:

package manager pm

To get help on any command, you can type the command Get-help <command>.

install packages

You can press the Tab key after entering a few characters to trigger the autocomplete functionality. You can even resolve the package names using the Tab key when using the install-package command.

database update

You can change the default project from the top right drop down. The commands will be applied to the selected project only.

 test package manager

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