Central nuget store for your UNO Platform App

27/06/2022

With the 4.2 release of the UNO Platform we are in the final stages to be production ready. The release brings the .NET 6 version to "RC" stable. With that we can leverage a trick I showed earlier in the blog, meet Directory.Build.props.

If you are not familiar with the UNO Platform at all, I covered that in a greater detail here. There you can also discover links to the official website: https://platform.uno/. That said the dependency management was one of my major concern back then... and this got addressed by the developer team with the update to the latest .NET 6 version.

Setup

The base for this setup can be found under dotnet new templates for Uno Platform. If you don't have the Uno Platform tools installed run the following command:

dotnet tool install -g uno.check

If you have the tools already installed but want to update to the latest version:

dotnet tool update -g uno.check

You can also check if you have the newest project templates installed:

dotnet new install Uno.ProjectTemplates.Dotnet

After that we will be able to create our new app with .NET 6 support. For that the Uno Platform team gave us a handy dotnet template:

dotnet new unoapp-winui-net6 -o UnoDirectoryBuildProps

There is also dotnet new unoapp-net6 -o MyApp. The trick will not work with this template. The reason is that the "old" UWP head is .NET Framework. The Directory.Build.props "trick" only works with C# 9 or higher. The .NET Framework is limited to C# 7.3.

If you did not exclude any of the "heads" you folder structure would look roughly like that:

UnoDirectoryBuildProps.Mobile/
UnoDirectoryBuildProps.Shared/
UnoDirectoryBuildProps.Skia.Gtk/
UnoDirectoryBuildProps.Skia.Linux.FrameBuffer/
UnoDirectoryBuildProps.Skia.WPF/
UnoDirectoryBuildProps.Skia.WPF.Host/
UnoDirectoryBuildProps.Wasm/
UnoDirectoryBuildProps.Windows/
UnoDirectoryBuildProps.sln

Now we are totally set and can embrace the power of the Directory.Build.props.

Creating the central NuGet repository

In super short we need a few things to pull this off:

  1. A central place to manage all of our dependencies
  2. Exclude selectively some packages for some Heads.

A central place to manage all of our dependencies

There are a lot of projects and it is very tedious to add a new package one by one to all of those projects. That is where the Directory.Build.props comes into play. The rough idea is that when you build your csproj file, dotnet will check recursively every folder and parent folder for a Directory.Build.props file, which if exists, will then be included. I will link my article again here if you still not sure what I am referring about.

There are packages like let's say StyleCop or SonarAnalyzers you just want to have in every project. So let's use this as an example. I will the following Directory.Build.props to the root of the solution (I will link this example at the end of the blog post).

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<Project xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/developer/msbuild/2003">
	<ItemGroup>
      <PackageReference Include="SonarAnalyzer.CSharp" Version="8.37.0.45539">
        <PrivateAssets>all</PrivateAssets>
        <IncludeAssets>runtime; build; native; contentfiles; analyzers; buildtransitive</IncludeAssets>
      </PackageReference>
      <PackageReference Include="StyleCop.Analyzers" Version="1.2.0-beta.406">
        <PrivateAssets>all</PrivateAssets>
        <IncludeAssets>runtime; build; native; contentfiles; analyzers; buildtransitive</IncludeAssets>
      </PackageReference>
    </ItemGroup>

    <ItemGroup>
        <AdditionalFiles Include="$(MSBuildThisFileDirectory)\stylecop.json" Link="stylecop.json" />
    </ItemGroup>
    <PropertyGroup>
        <CodeAnalysisRuleSet>$(MSBuildThisFileDirectory)\stylecop.analyzers.ruleset</CodeAnalysisRuleSet>
    </PropertyGroup>

    <PropertyGroup>
        <WarningLevel>5</WarningLevel>
        <TreatWarningsAsErrors>true</TreatWarningsAsErrors>
    </PropertyGroup>
</Project>

So we are adding StyleCop and the SonarAnalyzers. By the way your folder structure should now look like this:

UnoDirectoryBuildProps.Mobile/
UnoDirectoryBuildProps.Shared/
UnoDirectoryBuildProps.Skia.Gtk/
UnoDirectoryBuildProps.Skia.Linux.FrameBuffer/
UnoDirectoryBuildProps.Skia.WPF/
UnoDirectoryBuildProps.Skia.WPF.Host/
UnoDirectoryBuildProps.UWP/
UnoDirectoryBuildProps.Wasm/
UnoDirectoryBuildProps.Windows/
UnoDirectoryBuildProps.sln

Directory.Build.props
stylecop.analyzers.ruleset
stylecop.json

Of course stylecop here is optional and only for demonstrational purposes. Let's check if our Uno Platform projects "see" the new dependencies.

nuget

Exclude selectively some packages for some Heads.

Now not all the time every project should include all the dependencies. And that is especially important for the Uno Platform. A bit more context. The guys and girls from the Uno Platform did hard work to get the Windows Community Toolkit work on your Uno Platform App (a lot of cool controls and other things making your life easier). But you should not include those Uno Platform nuget packages to your UWP or WinUI head. For those "special" ones we use the packages which a developer would normally use if he would "only" write an UWP or WinUI app. To recap: For everything besides UWP/WinUI we take the Uno Platform nuget packages and for UWP/WinUI we take the official Microsoft nuget packages.

And that we can easily model with the Directory.Build.props. Until now StyleCop and SonarAnalyzers will be referenced in every project.

So let's say we want to add the Uno.CommunityToolkit.WinUI.Controls package. That would mean (without Directory.Build.props) running through multiple projects to add the packages except for the UWP where we want to use the CommunityToolkit.WinUI.Controls.

With the Directory.Build.props we can leverage the Condition. One example would look like this:

<ItemGroup Label="Packages for UNO Platform Heads" Condition="$(MSBuildProjectName) != 'UnoDirectoryBuildProps.Windows'">
  <PackageReference Include="Uno.CommunityToolkit.WinUI.Controls" Version="7.1.11" />
</ItemGroup>

<ItemGroup Label="Packages for WinUI Head" Condition="$(MSBuildProjectName) == 'UnoDirectoryBuildProps.Windows'">
  <PackageReference Include="CommunityToolkit.WinUI.Controls" Version="7.1.11" />
</ItemGroup>

We would use the concrete project name. That is a total valid strategy. Another option (and this is how the Uno Platform guys do it) is to use the concrete .net target version. It would look like this:

<ItemGroup Label="Packages for UNO Platform Heads" Condition="'$(TargetFramework)' != 'net6.0-windows10.0.19041.0'">
  <PackageReference Include="Uno.CommunityToolkit.WinUI.Controls" Version="7.1.11" />
</ItemGroup>

<ItemGroup Label="Packages for WinUI Head" Condition="'$(TargetFramework)' == 'net6.0-windows10.0.19041.0'">
  <PackageReference Include="CommunityToolkit.WinUI.Controls" Version="7.1.11" />
</ItemGroup>

The example is taken from the GitHub repository. Now to get the concrete target framework version just check the TargetFramework element in the WinUI3 csproj file. Mine looks like this <TargetFramework>net6.0-windows10.0.19041.0</TargetFramework> therefore this condition.

And that is all. Now the WinUI 3 Head first. Here we want to have the CommunityToolkit.WinUI.Controls package:

WinUI3

And here for example the WASM head:

Wasm

Perfect. Exactly what we want. Dependency management can make a lot of fun.

Conclusion

With the Directory.Build.props we easily managed all our dependencies. Also we categorized them in 2 groups. The ones we want to have in every project and the ones (like UI controls) we want to have only in a certain group of projects or a single project itself.

Resources

  • The code to this example can be found here.
  • All my examples can be found here.
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