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Dotnet Tool Creation

28 Jul 2020 - Cody Merritt Anhorn

As part of my development I wanted a way to easily use my EventHorizon.Blazor.TypeScript.Interop.Generator package, to do this I created a .NET Core Command Line Interface Tool. In this article I will go over how you too can create a simple tool of your own.

Checkout the How To section for the code.

Example Tool Project: EventHorizon.Blazor.TypeScript.Interop.Tool

What is a Tool

A tool is a Command Line Interface keyword that runs some functionality. In my case I wanted a tool that would make it easy to create my Generated code for interfacing with the JavaScript layer from C# in the context of a Blazor WASM application. To do this I used a simple console application, but using the .NET Core tools functionality I was able to create an console package that would run when called by a command of my choosing.

Usage

The usage for a Tool is quite limitless, what ever you can put into a .NET Core console application, you can turn into a tool. My example will be a very simple echo command, but your imagination is the limit here.

How to

To start you will need two thinks, .NET Core SDK installed and to create a console application.

# Create a dotnet console app
dotnet new console -o MyTool

It should generate a Program.cs similar to this:

using System;

namespace MyTool
{
    class Program
    {
        static void Main(string[] args)
        {
            Console.WriteLine("Hello World!");
        }
    }
}

Update the Program.cs to this:

using System;

namespace MyTool
{
    class Program
    {
        static void Main(string[] args)
        {
            // Validate input
            if (args.Length == 0)
            {
                // Show some help text
                Console.WriteLine("Pass in any text");
                return;
            }
            // Display first item
            Console.WriteLine(args[0]);
        }
    }
}

You can use the few commands below:

# nothing passed in
> dotnet run
nothing to show

# hi passed in
> dotnet run -- hi
hi

# Two arguments passed in
> dotnet run -- hi hello
hi

# A single argument string passed in
> dotnet run -- "hi hello"
hi hello

Enabled the Project as a Tool

To setup the project as a tool you only have to add a few attributes to the csproj file:

<Project Sdk="Microsoft.NET.Sdk">

    <PropertyGroup>
        <OutputType>Exe</OutputType>
        <TargetFramework>net5.0</TargetFramework>
        <!-- Tell "dotnet pack" that this should show up in NuGet as a tool -->
        <PackAsTool>true</PackAsTool>
        <!-- Give your tool a custom short name for easier usage -->
        <ToolCommandName>mytool</ToolCommandName>
    </PropertyGroup>

</Project>

References

Checkout Microsoft for a more encompassing tutorial: How to manage .NET Core tools


Categories: blog

Tags: .NET Core Tool


Cody Merritt Anhorn
Email: cody.anhorn@hotmail.com