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Creating a local NuGet repository for offline development

I spend several hours each week on long-distance train journeys and often use the time to code, whether on a pet project or practising a kata or two. Large parts of this journey have patchy-at-best mobile data coverage, so tools with a reliance on a stable internet connection can cause problems. One of these tools is the NuGet Package Manager in Visual Studio.

In the most simple cases, where a solution just needs a reference to a single DLL, local copies are an adequate solution. However, that is not always sufficient as some of the libraries I want to use are vastly more complex with extended dependency chains. I was really beginning to miss NuGet while working offline, so I decided to set up my own offline local NuGet repository. It is a surprisingly simple operation, yet I had to do quite a bit of hunting around to find all the steps I needed to perform and failed to find a them all listed in a single article. So here goes…

Firstly, you’ll need to create a local folder to house all your local NuGet packages. I created a folder called ‘LocalNugetRepository’ within the Documents\Visual Studio 2013 folder, but you can call it whatever you like and place it anywhere you have sufficient privileges:

Local repository folder

The next step is to download the NuGet packages you wish to be able to use offline into this folder. Packages can be downloaded from nuget.org. Importantly, you must be logged in to this site to be able to download packages, so go ahead and log in, or register for a new account if you don’t already have one.

Once you are logged in, search for the packages you require and click the ‘Download’ link in the left hand menu of each (highlighted below). This link will not be present in the menu if you are not logged in:

Downloading packages from nuget.org

Once you have successfully downloaded the .nupkg files you require into your local repository folder, head into Visual Studio and open the NuGet Settings dialog via Tools > NuGet Package Manager > Package Manager Settings. Click the Package Sources tab within the settings dialog, followed by the ‘plus’ icon in the top left to add a new package source:

Adding a local package source

Enter the Name and Source of your local repository. The name can be any string and will be the name displayed in the NuGet Package Manager within Visual Studio.

Now that you have added the local package source, you will be able to use your offline local repository from within Visual Studio in the usual way, either via the Console or via the Package Dialog, by selecting it from the Package Source menu, without the need for an active internet connection:

Using the new local package source

It is worth noting here that if you downloaded any pre-release packages from nuget.org into your local repository they will not be displayed by default within either the Package Manager Console or GUI dialog. This is by design, however it can be overridden in the Package Manager Console through the use of the -IncludePrerelease flag. For more information, see the official documentation.

About the author

Steve is a Software Craftsman and author with over 18 years professional experience. He first discovered his passion for code at the age of seven, when his father brought home a Sinclair Spectrum and a portable black and white television. The countless hours spent typing in listings from Sinclair User magazine sparked an enthusiasm for programming that has stayed with him for life.

During his career, Steve has worked on projects in a wide variety of sectors including retail e-commerce, finance, education, media, government and healthcare, developing large-scale, resilient, distributed systems on an assortment of platforms. He currently specialises in solutions built on the Microsoft .Net stack, with a particular interest in cloud computing using the Microsoft Azure platform.

Steve is a pragmatic problem solver with a focus on the delivery of high-quality, robust and maintainable code. He is a passionate advocate of continuous improvement, both for software and software developers and believes that the future success of the software industry relies on the sharing of knowledge gained through experience.

He is a member of the Microsoft Azure Advisor's Group and the London Software Craftsmanship Community (LSCC).

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