Saturday, August 5, 2017

Chocolatey: A delightful Windows package manager

If you have worked with Linux based systems then you already know how easily one can install, uninstall, search and update the software packages using package manager utility like apt-get, dpkg, rpm, yum, etc. But can you vouch the same thing for Windows system? Does Windows system provides any similar utility for managing the software application. The answer would be NO. 

Question to the Windows user: Do you really like the traditional way (easy but time & effort taking) of installing, uninstalling, searching and upgrading the software application that generally involves below steps:
  • Search the desired version of software from internet 
  • Download the respective exe or MSI file (wait until it gets downloaded)
  • Install it manually i.e. click, click, click our way through the installation. If we are upgrading /downgrading the software version then uninstall the earlier version
  • Now follow the same process for EVERY piece of software that we want in our system.
In this article, we would discuss the solution of this problem. Now we have Chocolatey at our disposal that takes away all the pain of manually installing/uninstalling/searching/listing and upgrading the software packages in the Windows systems.

What is Chocolatey?

  • Chocolatey is a package manager utility like apt-get or yum but for Windows. Using a single command, one can install the required software along with it's dependencies. 
  • It is built on the NuGet infrastructure. But instead of installing developer packages, it installs standard windows software applications. 
  • It uses a packaging framework that understands both versioning and dependency requirements by which it can easily handle the package installs, updates, rollbacks and listing of packages.
  • Chocolatey packages encapsulate everything required to manage a particular piece of software into one deployment artifact by wrapping installers, executables, zips, and scripts into a compiled package file.
  • It can be used independently or one can also use it with popular configuration management tool like Puppet, and Chef.

Why Chocolatey?

  •  If you love working with Linux based packager manager utility like yum, apt-get then you would surely like Chocolatey as it is a similar utility but for Windows.
  • Takes away the pain of dependency management i.e tracking and installing all the dependent software before installing the desired software. For Example  choco install [package_name1], it will automatically resolve and install all the required dependent software package before installing package_name1. 
  • Can install software packages with minimal user intervention. Also possible to have unattended installation.
  • Can install of multiple packages using a single command.  
  • Can upgrade all the software packages in the system to their latest version  using a single command.
  • Possible to host private package repository instead of using Community Package Repository.
Thank you for reading this article. Hope you would love to try Chocolatey. Check out our next article in this series for Chocolatey Installation. If you have any suggestion or have any question do let me know in the comment box. Happy Learning!!

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