Speed up development in a NuGet package-centric solution

As microservices architectures become more popular, so increases usage of NuGet as a way of sharing code amongst separate services. The last few projects I’ve worked on have typically contained a number of “Core” NuGet packages with shared code and interfaces that are consumed by one or more services in the solution. Our build pipeline will publish these NuGet packages to an in-house NuGet server.

This can cause a lot of developer friction when you’re working in one of the services and you decide you need to change one of the Core projects. Typically you’ll

  1. make the change to Core
  2. commit it
  3. (Perhaps raise a PR and wait for approval)
  4. wait for the build to publish new versions of the package
  5. and finally updated the package in your service.

Probably at least 20 min wait for all that to happen. And then you realise that your change didn’t quite work, so you have to go through the cycle again with another change.

Well, here’s a shortcut to that cycle and it’s pretty darn simple. Simply

  1. make the change in Core and compile it locally
  2. Copy the resulting dll(s) to your local NuGet packages feed folder. NOT the bin folder of your service, or the packages folder of your service. On my machine the local NuGet packages feed folder is C:\Users\matt\.nuget\packages\.

As soon as the dll is copied, Visual Studio detects the change – you don’t need to tell it to update the NuGet packages or even compile!

Another surprise bonus of this – while debugging you can step into the Core code! You don’t need to mess around copying PDBs around or anything. I don’t know how it works, but Visual Studio seems to somehow know that the DLL you’ve copied into the NuGet folder came from your local machine and thus it knows where the source code for it is.

Obviously once you’re happy that your changes to Core are working correctly, then you can can commit them and consume an updated version of the package in your service as usual.

Anyway, hopefully this will speed up your local development as much as it has mine.

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