Sometimes, when I go to technical training events, my effectiveness as a developer benefits far more immediately from some off-handed comment or casually demonstrated technique from the presenter than from the specific subject matter. I can’t even remember what I was supposed to be learning the first time I saw NuGet, which has saved me untold hours mucking with installers for Visual Studio. Similarly, this week at an ALT.net session on using Couchbase Server with .net, the presenter (John Zablocki, of dllHell.net) was coincidentally using Chocolatey to install some software on his presentation machine and instantly saved me weeks of trying to remember and find about three dozen utilities and tools to put on my new laptop.
Chocolatey is an add-on to Visual Studio’s (now) nearly ubiquitous integrated deployment tool for libraries and APIs. In an unusual role reversal, this particular add-on succeeds by making its host application less specific in its operation. Where NuGet is specifically targeted at installing developer tools, Chocolatey is, at its heart, a command-line app for installing any application or package on Microsoft Windows.
This morning, I quickly installed a dozen applications from the Chocolatey gallery, ranging from drop-in utilities like Console2 and Launchy to specific dev tools like Git and ReSharper.
Because it’s built on top of NuGet, most of the 300+ packages available via Chocolatey are developer-flavored, but it’s not hard to imagine this neat little command line utility becoming as ubiquitous on Windows as apt-get is on many flavors of Linux.