Migrate your project from nuget to paket

Jan 11, 2016 · 4 minute read · Comments

For one of our projects we splitted up a big solutions by using NuGet packages. Therefore we became heavy users of NuGet and the NuGet tooling. We quickly became frustrated by using the NuGet tooling provided in Visual Studio because it is slow and there are some problems like:

We started looing for alternatives and found Paket. Paket is a dependency manager for .Net and mono projects. Paket can work with NuGet packages, Git repositories and HTTP resources. More information about why Paket is better than NuGet can be found here.

Paket has a good migration guide but we added some additional steps which I will describe here.

Convert from NuGet

Paket has an convert-from-nuget command which converts a solution from NuGet tooling to Paket. Execute the following step in your solution folder to get started:

The convert-from-nuget command copies the auto-restore setting from your NuGet configuration. If you want to enable/disable auto-restore use the auto-restore command. More info here.

Remove transitive dependencies

One of the best features of Paket is that you do not have to specify transitive dependencies in your package configuration. When using NuGet all your transitive dependencies are added to the packages.config file. When using the convert-from-nuget command all the packages (include all transitive dependencies) in the packages.config file are added to the paket.dependencies file. To remove transitive dependencies you can use the ‘simplify’ command. We prefer to select the dependencies to remove ourself. You can do this using the --interactive flag:

.\.paket\paket.exe simplify --interactive

Select the dependencies you want to keep or remove.

Clean-up dependencies file

We do not like the content option which automaticly adds package content to your projects. You can disable this by adding content: none to your paket.dependencies file. When you want to add the content of a package to your project, add content: once behind the reference in the paket.references file of the project.

Paket can also create assembly redirects in your project files when installing new packages. To enable this feature add redirects: on to your paket.dependencies file.

When using NuGet, the package versions in the packages.config file are mostly fixed to a specific version. To be able to use the outdated and update commands of Paket it is better to allow a specific version range for a package. We mostly use the ~> operator to select a version range. This allows minor updates or patches to be used, but does not allow the major version number to be changed. More information about version restrictions can be found here.

When using a version range in your paket.dependencies file, this does not mean packages are automaticly updated on a package restore. You need to run the update command to install new available updates. The depedency graph which is chosen is stored in a lock file called paket.lock.

Your paket.dependencies file now looks like this:

source https://nuget.org/api/v2

content: none
redirects: on

nuget NUnit ~> 2.6.3
nuget SourceLink.Fake

Setup authorization

When using authorized feeds you need to setup credentials for this feed. You can specify the credentials in your paket.dependencies file, but then they are added to your version control system and this is bad practice. A beter way is to specify the credentials on your system by using the config command. Run the following command to set the credentials:

paket config add-credentials https://myfeed.mycompany.nl/nuget/default

This will ask for your credentials. Enter them and they will be stored somewhere in your ApplicationData folder. More info about this command can be found here.

Replace .nuspec files

Paket uses paket.template files for creating packages. To create a nuget package just add a paket.template file with type project as its content to each project folder. When running paket pack it will create a package for each paket.template file that is found in the solution. More information about the paket.template file can be found here and about the paket pack command can be found here.

When a project has a reference to another project that has a paket.template file, paket will automaticly replace the project reference with a package reference on the package that will be created for the referenced project.


Now your finished and you can start using the paket tooling for managing your NuGet packages. We like it very much and I hope this blog post helps you start up!