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NuGet and WebMatrix: How to install a specific version of a package

I've recently been experimenting with WebMatrix. If you haven't heard of it, WebMatrix is Microsoft's "free, lightweight, cloud-connected web development tool". All marketing aside, it's pretty cool. You can whip up a site in next to no time, it has source control, publishing abilities, intellisense. Much good stuff. And one thing it has, that I genuinely hadn't expected is NuGet. Brilliant!

But like any free product there are disadvantages. As a long time Visual Studio user I've become very used to the power of the NuGet command line. I've been spoiled. You don't have this in WebMatrix. You have a nice UI that looks like this:

Looks great right? However, if you want to install a specific version of a NuGet package... well let's see what happens...

As you're probably aware jQuery currently exists in 2 branches; the 1.10.x branch which supports IE 6-8 and the 2.0.x branch which doesn't. However there is only 1 jQuery inside NuGet. Let's click on install and see if we can select a specific version:

Hmmm.... As you can see it's 2.0.3 or bust. We can't select a specific version; we're forced to go with the latest and greatest which is a problem if you need to support IE 6-8. So the obvious strategy if you're in this particular camp is to forego NuGet entirely. Go old school. And we could. But let's say we want to keep using NuGet, mindful that a little while down the road we'll be ready to do that upgrade. Can it be done? Let's find out.

NuGet, by hook or by crook#

I've created a new site in WebMatrix using the Empty Site template. Looks like this:


Now to get me some jQuery 1.10.2 goodness. To the console Batman! We've already got the NuGet command line installed (if you haven't you could get it from here) and so we follow these steps:

  • At the C:\ prompt we enter nuget install jQuery -Version 1.10.2 and down comes jQuery 1.10.2.
  • We move C:\jQuery.1.10.2 to C:\Users\me\Documents\My Web Sites\Empty Site\App_Data\packages\jQuery.1.10.2.
  • Then we delete the C:\Users\me\Documents\My Web Sites\Empty Site\App_Data\packages\jQuery.1.10.2\Tools subfolder.
  • We move C:\Users\me\Documents\My Web Sites\Empty Site\App_Data\packages\jQuery.1.10.2\Content\Scripts to C:\Users\me\Documents\My Web Sites\Empty Site\Scripts.
  • And finally we delete the C:\Users\me\Documents\My Web Sites\Empty Site\App_Data\packages\jQuery.1.10.2\Content folder.

We hit refresh back in WebMatrix and now we get this:

If we go to NuGet and select updates you'll see that jQuery is now considered "installed" and an update is available. So, in short, our plan worked - yay!

Now for bonus points#

Just to prove that you can upgrade using the WebMatrix tooling following our manual install let's do it. Click "Update", then "Yes" and finally "I Accept" to the EULA. You'll now see we're now on jQuery 2.0.3:

Rounding off#

In my example I'm only looking at a simple JavaScript library. But the same principal should be able to be applied to any NuGet package as far as I'm aware. Hope that helps!

TypeScript: Don't forget Build Action for Implicit Referencing...

As part of the known breaking changes between 0.9 and 0.9.1 there was this subtle but significant switch:

In Visual Studio, all TypeScript files in a project are considered to be referencing each other

Description: Previously, all TypeScript files in a project had to reference each other explicitly. With 0.9.1, they now implicitly reference all other TypeScript files in the project. For existing projects that fit multiple projects into a single projects, these will now have to be separate projects.

Reason: This greatly simplifies using TypeScript in the project context.

Having been initially resistant to this change I recently decided to give it a try. That is to say I started pulling out the /// <reference's from my TypeScript files. However, to my surprise, pulling out these references stopped my TypeScript from compiling and killed my Intellisense. After wrestling with this for a couple of hours I finally filed an issue on the TypeScript CodePlex site. (Because clearly the problem was with TypeScript and not how I was using it, right?)


When I looked through my typing files (*.d.ts) I found that, pretty much without exception, all had a Build Action of "Content" and not "TypeScriptCompile". I went through the project and switched the files over to being "TypeScriptCompile". This resolved the issue and I was then able to pull out the remaining /// <reference comments from the codebase (though I did have to restart Visual Studio to get the Intellisense working).

Most, if not all, of the typing files had been pulled in from NuGet and are part of the DefinitelyTyped project on GitHub. Unfortunately, at present, when TypeScript NuGet packages are added they are added without the "TypeScriptCompile" Build Action. I was going to post an issue there and ask if it's possible for NuGet packages to pull in typings files as "TypeScriptCompile" from the off - fortunately a chap called Natan Vivo already has.

So until this issue is resolved it's probably a good idea to check that your TypeScript files are set to the correct Build Action in your project. And every time you upgrade your TypeScript NuGet packages double check that you still have the correct Build Action afterwards (and to get Intellisense working in VS 2012 at least you'll need to close and re-open the solution as well).