Scott Hanselman

Exploring Wyam - a .NET Static Site Content Generator

December 11, '16 Comments [20] Posted in ASP.NET | Open Source
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It's a bit of a renaissance out there when it comes to Static Site Generators. There's Jekyll and GitBook, Hugo and Hexo. Middleman and Pelican, Brunch and Octopress. There's dozens, if not hundreds of static site content generators, and "long tail is long."

Wyam is a great .NET based open source static site generator

Static Generators a nice for sites that DO get updated with dynamic content, but just not updated every few minutes. That means a Static Site Generator can be great for documentation, blogs, your brochure-ware home page, product catalogs, resumes, and lots more. Why install WordPress when you don't need to hit a database or generate HTML on every page view? Why not generate your site only when it changes?

I recently heard about a .NET Core-based open source generator called Wyam and wanted to check it out.

Wyam is a simple to use, highly modular, and extremely configurable static content generator that can be used to generate web sites, produce documentation, create ebooks, and much more.

Wyam is a module system with a pipeline that you can configure and chain processes together however you like. You can generate HTML from Markdown, from Razor, even XSLT2 - anything you like, really. Wyam also integrates nicely into your continuous build systems like Cake and others, so you can also get the Nuget Tools package for Wyam.

There's a few ways to get Wyam but I downloaded the setup.exe from GitHub Releases. You can also just get a ZIP and download it to any folder. When I ran the setup.exe it flashed (I didn't see a dialog, but it's beta so I'll chalk it up to that) and it installed to C:\Users\scott\AppData\Local\Wyam with what looked like the Squirrel installer from GitHub and Paul Betts.

Wyam has a number of nice features that .NET Folks will find useful.

Let's see what I can do with in just a few minutes!

Scaffolding a Blog

Wyam has a similar command line syntax as dotnet.exe and it uses "recipes" so I can say --recipe Blog and I'll get:

C:\Users\scott\Desktop\wyamtest>wyam new --recipe Blog
Wyam version 0.14.1-beta

,@@@@@ /@\ @@@@@
@@@@@@ @@@@@| $@@@@@h
$@@@@@ ,@@@@@@@ g@@@@@P
]@@@@@M g@@@@@@@ g@@@@@P
$@@@@@ @@@@@@@@@ g@@@@@P
j@@@@@ g@@@@@@@@@p ,@@@@@@@
`$@@@@@@@@@@@` ]@@@@@@@@@`
$@@@@@@@P` ?$@@@@@P
`^`` *P*`
Scaffold directory C:/Users/scott/Desktop/wyamtest/input does not exist and will be created
Installing NuGet packages
NuGet packages installed in 101813 ms
Recursively loading assemblies
Assemblies loaded in 2349 ms
Cataloging classes
Classes cataloged in 277 ms

One could imagine recipes for product catalogs, little league sites, etc. You can make your own custom recipes as well.

I'll make a config.wyam file with this inside:

Settings.Host = "";
GlobalMetadata["Title"] = "Scott Hanselman";
GlobalMetadata["Description"] = "The personal wyam-made blog of Scott Hanselman";
GlobalMetadata["Intro"] = "Hi, welcome to my blog!";

Then I'll run wyam with:

C:\Users\scott\Desktop\wyamtest>wyam -r Blog
Wyam version 0.14.1-beta
Loading configuration from file:///C:/Users/scott/Desktop/wyamtest/config.wyam
Installing NuGet packages
NuGet packages installed in 30059 ms
Recursively loading assemblies
Assemblies loaded in 368 ms
Cataloging classes
Classes cataloged in 406 ms
Evaluating configuration script
Evaluated configuration script in 2594 ms
Root path:
Input path(s):
Output path:
Cleaning output path output
Cleaned output directory
Executing 7 pipelines
Executing pipeline "Pages" (1/7) with 8 child module(s)
Executed pipeline "Pages" (1/7) in 221 ms resulting in 13 output document(s)
Executing pipeline "RawPosts" (2/7) with 7 child module(s)
Executed pipeline "RawPosts" (2/7) in 18 ms resulting in 1 output document(s)
Executing pipeline "Tags" (3/7) with 10 child module(s)
Executed pipeline "Tags" (3/7) in 1578 ms resulting in 1 output document(s)
Executing pipeline "Posts" (4/7) with 6 child module(s)
Executed pipeline "Posts" (4/7) in 620 ms resulting in 1 output document(s)
Executing pipeline "Feed" (5/7) with 3 child module(s)
Executed pipeline "Feed" (5/7) in 134 ms resulting in 2 output document(s)
Executing pipeline "RenderPages" (6/7) with 3 child module(s)
Executed pipeline "RenderPages" (6/7) in 333 ms resulting in 4 output document(s)
Executing pipeline "Resources" (7/7) with 1 child module(s)
Executed pipeline "Resources" (7/7) in 19 ms resulting in 14 output document(s)
Executed 7/7 pipelines in 2936 ms

I can also run it with -t for different themes, like "wyam -r Blog -t Phantom":

Wyam supports themes

As with most Static Site Generators I can start with a markdown file like "" and included name value pairs of metadata at the top:

Title: First Post
Published: 2016-01-01
Tags: Introduction
This is my first post!

If I'm working on my site a lot, I could run Wyam with the -w (WATCH) switch and then edit my posts in Visual Studio Code and Wyam will WATCH the input folder and automatically run over and over, regenerating the site each time I change the inputs! A nice little touch, indeed.

There's a lot of cool examples at that show you how to generate RSS, do pagination, use Razor but still generate statically, as well as mixing Razor for layouts and Markdown for posts.

The AdventureTime sample is fairly sophisticated (be sure to read the comments in the config.wyam for gotcha) example that includes a custom Pipeline, use of Yaml for front matter, and mixes markdown and Razor.

There's also a ton of modules you can use to extend the build however you like. For example, you could have source images be large and then auto-generate thumbnails like this:

ReadFiles("*").Where(x => x.Contains("images\\") && new[] { ".jpg", ".jpeg", ".gif", ".png"}.Contains(Path.GetExtension(x))),

There's a TON of options. You could even use Excel as the source data for your site, generate CSVs from the Excel OOXML and then generate your site from those CSVs. Sounds crazy, but if you run a small business or non-profit you could quickly make a nice workflow for someone to take control of their own site!

GOTCHA: When generating a site locally your initial reaction may be to open the /output folder and open the index.html in your local browser. You MAY be disappointed with you use a static site generator. Often they generate absolute paths for CSS and Javascript so you'll see a lousy version of your website locally. Either change your templates to generate relative paths OR use a staging site and look at your sites live online. Even better, use the Wyam "preview web server" and run Wyam with a "-p" argument and then visit http://localhost:5080 to see your actual site as it will show up online.

Wyam looks like a really interesting start to a great open source project. It's got a lot of code, good docs, and it's easy to get started. It also has a bunch of advanced features that would enable me to easily embed static site generation in a dynamic app. From the comments, it seems that Dave Glick is doing most of the work himself. I'm sure he'd appreciate you reaching out and helping with some issues.

As always, don't just send a PR without talking and working with the maintainers of your favorite open source projects. Also, ask if they have issues that are friendly to

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About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Publishing ASP.NET Core 1.1 applications to Azure using git deploy

November 23, '16 Comments [13] Posted in ASP.NET | Azure
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I took an ASP.NET Core 1.0 application and updated its package references to ASP.NET 1.1 today. I also updated to my SDK to the Current (not the LTS - Long Term Support version). Everything worked great building and running locally, but then I made a new Web App in Azure and did a quick git deploy.

Deploying ASP.NET Core 1.1 to Azure


c:\aspnetcore11app> azure site create "aspnetcore11test" --location "West US" --git
c:\aspnetcore11app> git add .
c:\aspnetcore11app> git commit -m "initial"
c:\aspnetcore11app> git push azure master

Then I watched the logs go by. You can watch them at the command line or from within the Azure Portal under "Log Stream."

The deployment failed when Azure was building the app and got this error:

Build started 11/25/2016 6:51:54 AM.
2016-11-25T06:51:55         1>Project "D:\home\site\repository\aspnet1.1.xproj" on node 1 (Publish target(s)).
2016-11-25T06:51:55         1>D:\home\site\repository\aspnet1.1.xproj(7,3): error MSB4019: The imported project "D:\Program Files (x86)\dotnet\sdk\1.0.0-preview3-004056\Extensions\Microsoft\VisualStudio\v14.0\DotNet\Microsoft.DotNet.Props" was not found. Confirm that the path in the <Import> declaration is correct, and that the file exists on disk.
2016-11-25T06:51:55         1>Done Building Project "D:\home\site\repository\aspnet1.1.xproj" (Publish target(s)) -- FAILED.

See where it says "1.0.0-preview3-004056" in there? Looks like Azure Web Apps has some build that isn't the one that I have. Theirs has the new csproj/msbuild stuff and I'm staying a few steps back waiting for things to bake.

Remember that unless you specify the SDK version, .NET Core will use whatever is the latest one on the box.

Well, what do I have locally?

C:\aspnetcore11app>dotnet --version

OK, then that's what I need to use so I'll make a global.json at the root of my project, then move my code into a folder under "src" for example.

"projects": [ "src", "test" ],
"sdk": {
"version": "1.0.0-preview2-1-003177"

Here I'm "pinning" the same SDK version. This will tell Azure (or you, if I gave you the code) to use this SDK version when building.

Now I'll redeploy with a git add, commit, and push. It works.

I think this should be easier, but I'm not sure how it should be easier. Does this mean that everyone should have a global.json with a preferred version? If you have no preferred version should Azure give a smarter error if it has an incompatible newer one?

The learning here for me is that not having a global.json basically says "*.*" to any cloud build servers and you'll get whatever latest SDK they have. It could stop working any day.

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About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Free ASP.NET Core 1.0 Training on Microsoft Virtual Academy

October 27, '16 Comments [20] Posted in ASP.NET
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This time last year we did a Microsoft Virtual Academy class on what was then called "ASP.NET 5." It made sense to call it 5 since 5 > 4.6, right? But since then ASP.NET 5 has become .NET Core 1.0 and ASP.NET Core 1.0. It's 1.0 because it's smaller, newer, and different. As the .NET "full" framework marches on, on Windows, .NET Core is cross-platform and for the cloud.

Command line concepts like dnx, dnu, and dnvm have been unified into a single "dotnet" driver. You can download .NET Core at and along with you can get a web site up and running in 10 minutes on Windows, Mac, or many flavors of Linux.

So, we've decided to update and refresh our Microsoft Virtual Academy. In fact, we've done three days of training. Introduction, Intermediate, and Cross-Platform. The introduction day is out and it's free! We'll be releasing the new two days of training very soon.

NOTE: There's a LOT of quality free courseware for learning .NET Core and ASP.NET Core. We've put the best at and I encourage you to check them out!

Head over to Microsoft Virtual Academy and watch our new, free "Introduction to ASP.NET Core 1.0." It's a great relaxed pace if you've been out of the game for a bit, or you're a seasoned .NET "Full" developer who has avoided learning .NET Core thus far. If you don't know the C# language yet, check out our online C# tutorial first, then watch the video.


And help me out by adding a few stars there under Ratings. We're new. ;)

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About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Exploring ASP.NET Core with Docker in both Linux and Windows Containers

October 14, '16 Comments [23] Posted in ASP.NET | Docker | Open Source
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In May of last year doing things with ASP.NET and Docker was in its infancy. But cool stuff was afoot. I wrote a blog post showing how to publish an ASP.NET 5 (5 at the time, now Core 1.0) app to Docker. Later in December of 2015 new tools like Docker Toolbox and Kitematic made things even easier. In May of 2016 Docker for Windows Beta continued to move the ball forward nicely.

I wanted to see how things are looking with ASP.NET Core, Docker, and Windows here in October of 2016.

I installed these things:

Docker for Windows is really nice as it automates setting up Hyper-V for you and creates the Docker host OS and gets it all running. This is a big time saver.

Hyper-V manager

There's my Linux host that I don't really have to think about. I'll do everything from the command line or from Visual Studio.

I'll say File | New Project and make a new ASP.NET Core application running on .NET Core.

Then I right click and Add | Docker Support. This menu comes from the Visual Studio Tools for Docker extension. This adds a basic Dockerfile and some docker-compose files. Out of the box, I'm all setup to deploy my ASP.NET Core app to a Docker Linux container.

ASP.NET Core in a Docker Linux Container

Starting from my ASP.NET Core app, I'll make sure my base image (that's the FROM in the Dockerfile) is the base ASP.NET Core image for Linux.

FROM microsoft/aspnetcore:1.0.1
ENTRYPOINT ["dotnet", "WebApplication4.dll"]
ARG source=.
COPY $source .

Next, since I don't want Docker to do the building of my application yet, I'll publish it locally. Be sure to read Steve Lasker's blog post "Building Optimized Docker Images with ASP.NET Core" to learn how to have one docker container build your app and the other run it it. This optimizes server density and resource.

I'll publish, then build the images, and run it.

>dotnet publish

>docker build bin\Debug\netcoreapp1.0\publish -t aspnetcoreonlinux

>docker images
aspnetcoreonlinux latest dab2bff7e4a6 28 seconds ago 276.2 MB
microsoft/aspnetcore 1.0.1 2e781d03cb22 44 hours ago 266.7 MB

>docker run -it -d -p 85:80 aspnetcoreonlinux

>docker ps
1cfcc8e8e7d4 aspnetcoreonlinux "dotnet WebApplicatio" 2 seconds ago Up 1 seconds>80/tcp clever_archimedes

And there's my ASP.NET Core app running in Docker. So I'm running Windows, running Hyper-V, running a Linux host that is hosting Docker containers.

What else can I do?

ASP.NET Core in a Docker Windows Container running Windows Nano Server

There's Windows Server, there's Windows Server Core that removes the UI among other things and there's Windows Nano Server which gets Windows down to like hundreds of megs instead of many gigs. This means there's a lot of great choices depending on what you need for functionality and server density. Ship as little as possible.

Let me see if I can get ASP.NET Core running on Kestrel under Windows Nano Server. Certainly, since Nano is very capable, I could run IIS within the container and there's docs on that.

Michael Friis from Docker has a great blog post on building and running your first Docker Windows Server Container. With the new Docker for Windows you can just right click on it and switch between Linux and Windows Containers.

Docker switches between Mac and Windows easily

So now I'm using Docker with Windows Containers. You may not know that you likely already have Windows Containers! It was shipped inside Windows 10 Anniversary Edition. You can check for Containers in Features:

Add Containers in Windows 10

I'll change my Dockerfile to use the Windows Nano Server image. I can also control the ports that ASP.NET talks on if I like with an Environment Variable and Expose that within Docker.

FROM microsoft/dotnet:nanoserver
ENTRYPOINT ["dotnet", "WebApplication4.dll"]
ARG source=.
COPY $source .

Then I'll publish and build...

>dotnet publish
>docker build bin\Debug\netcoreapp1.0\publish -t aspnetcoreonnano

Then I'll run it, mapping the ports from Windows outside to the Windows container inside!

NOTE: There's a bug as of this writing that affects how Windows 10 talks to Containers via "NAT" (Network Address Translation) such that you can't easily go http://localhost:82 like you (and I) want to. Today you have to hit the IP of the container directly. I'll report back once I hear more about this bug and how it gets fixed. It'll show up in Windows Update one day. The workaround is to get the IP address of the container from docker like this:  docker inspect -f "{{ .NetworkSettings.Networks.nat.IPAddress }}" HASH

So I'll run my ASP.NET Core app on Windows Nano Server (again, to be clear, this is running on Windows 10 and Nano Server is inside a Container!)

>docker run -it -d -p 88:82 aspnetcoreonnano

>docker inspect -f "{{ .NetworkSettings.Networks.nat.IPAddress }}" afa

Now I can hit that site with Once that bug above is fixed, it'll get hit and routed like any container.

The best part about Windows Containers is that they are fast and lightweight. Once the image is downloaded and build on your machine, you're starting and stopping them in seconds with Docker.

BUT, you can also isolate Windows Containers using Docker like this:

docker run --isolation=hyperv -it -d -p 86:82 aspnetcoreonnano

So now this instance is running fully isolated within Hyper-V itself. You get the best of all worlds. Speed and convenient deployment plus optional and easy isolation.

ASP.NET Core in a Docker Windows Container running Windows Server Core 2016

I can then change the Dockerfile to use the full Windows Server Core image. This is 8 gigs so be ready as it'll take a bit to download and extract but it is really Windows. You can also choose to run this as a container or as an isolated Hyper-V container.

Here I just change the FROM to get a Windows Sever Core with .NET Core included.

FROM microsoft/dotnet:1.0.0-preview2-windowsservercore-sdk
ENTRYPOINT ["dotnet", "WebApplication4.dll"]
ARG source=.
COPY $source .

NOTE: I hear it's likely that the the .NET Core on Windows Server Core images will likely go away. It makes more sense for .NET Core to run on Windows Nano Server or other lightweight images. You'll use Server Core for heavier stuff, and Server is nice because it means you can run "full" .NET Framework apps in containers! If you REALLY want to have .NET Core on Server Core you can make your own Dockerfile and easily build and image that has the things you want.

Then I'll publish, build, and run again.

>docker images
aspnetcoreonnano latest 7e02d6800acf 24 minutes ago 1.113 GB
aspnetcoreonservercore latest a11d9a9ba0c2 28 minutes ago 7.751 GB

Since containers are so fast to start and stop I can have a complete web farm running with Redis in a Container, SQL in another, and my web stack in a third. Or mix and match.

>docker ps
d32a981ceabb aspnetcoreonwindows "dotnet WebApplicatio">82/tcp compassionate_blackwell
a179a48ca9f6 aspnetcoreonnano "dotnet WebApplicatio">82/tcp determined_stallman
170a8afa1b8b aspnetcoreonnano "dotnet WebApplicatio">82/tcp agitated_northcutt
afafdbead8b0 aspnetcoreonnano "dotnet WebApplicatio">82/tcp naughty_ramanujan
2cf45ea2f008 a7fa77b6f1d4 "dotnet WebApplicatio">82/tcp sleepy_hodgkin


Again, go check out Michael's article where he uses Docker Compose to bring up the ASP.NET Music Store sample with SQL Express in one Windows Container and ASP.NET Core in another as well as Steve Lasker's blog (in fact his whole blog is gold) on making optimized Docker images with ASP.NET Core.

IMAGE ID            RESPOSITORY                   TAG                 SIZE
0ec4274c5571 web optimized 276.2 MB
f9f196304c95 web single 583.8 MB
f450043e0a44 microsoft/aspnetcore 1.0.1 266.7 MB
706045865622 microsoft/aspnetcore-build 1.0.1 896.6 MB

Steve points out a number of techniques that will allow you to get the most out of Docker and ASP.NET Core.

The result of all this means (IMHO) that you can use ASP.NET Core:

  • ASP.NET Core on Linux
    • within Docker containers
    • in any Cloud
  • ASP.NET Core on Windows, Windows Server, Server Core, and Nano Server.
    • within Docker windows containers
    • within Docker isolated Hyper-V containers

This means you can choose the level of feature support and size to optimize for server density and convenience. Once all the tooling (the Docker folks with Docker for Windows and the VS folks with Visual Studio Docker Tools) is baked, we'll have nice debugging and workflows from dev to production.

What have you been doing with Docker, Containers, and ASP.NET Core? Sound off in the comments.

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About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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How to reference an existing .NET Framework Project in an ASP.NET Core 1.0 Web App

October 8, '16 Comments [25] Posted in ASP.NET | ASP.NET MVC
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I had a reader send me a question yesterday. She basically wanted to use her existing .NET Framework libraries in an ASP.NET Core application, and it wasn't super clear how to do it.

I have a quick question for you regarding core. We are rewriting our website using core, empty from the bottom up. We have 2 libraries written in .net 4.6 . One is our database model and repositories and the other is a project of internal utilities we use a lot. Unfortunately we cannot see how to reference these two projects in our .net core project.

It can be a little confusing. As I mentioned earlier this week, some people don't realize that ASP.NET Core 1.0 (that's the web framework bit) runs on either .NET Core or .NET Framework 4.6 aka "Full Framework."

ASP.NET Core 1.0 runs on ASP.NET 4.6 nicely

When you make a new web project in Visual Studio you see (today) this dialog. Note in the dropdown at the top you can select your minimum .NET Framework version. You can select 4.6.2, if you like, but I'll do 4.5.2 to be a little more compatible. It's up to you.

File New Project

This dialog could use clearer text and hopefully it will soon.

  • There's the regular ASP.NET Web Application at the top. That's ASP.NET 4.6 with MVC and Web API. It runs on the .NET Framework.
  • There's ASP.NET Core 1.0 running on .NET Core. That's cross platform. If you select that one you'll be able to run your app anywhere but you can't reference "Full" .NET Framework assemblies as they are just for Windows.  If you want to run anywhere you need to use .NET Standard APIs that will run anywhere.
  • There's ASP.NET Core 1.0 running on .NET Framework. That's the new ASP.NET Core 1.0 with unified MVC and Web API but running on the .NET Framework you run today on Windows.

As we see in the diagram above, ASP.NET Core 1.0 is the new streamlined ASP.NET  that can run on top of both .NET Framework (Windows) and .NET Core (Mac/Windows/Linux).

I'll chose ASP.NET Core on .NET Framework and I'll see this in my Solution Explorer:

Web App targeting .NET Framework 4.5.2

I've got another DLL that I made with the regular File | New Project | Class Library.

New Class Library

Then I reference it the usual way with Add Reference and it looks like this in the References node in Solution Explorer. Note the icon differences.

Adding ClassLibrary1 to the References Node in Solution Explorer

If we look in the project.json (Be aware that this will change for the better in the future when project.json's functionality is merged with csproj and msbuild) you'll note that the ClassLIbrary1 isn't listed under the top level dependencies node, but as a framework specific dependency like this:

"dependencies": {
"Microsoft.StuffAndThings": "1.0.0",
"Microsoft.AspNetCore.Mvc": "1.0.1",

"frameworks": {
"net452": {
"dependencies": {
"ClassLibrary1": {
"target": "project"

Notice also that in this case it's a type="project" dependency in this case as I didn't build a NuGet package and reference that.

Since the .NET Core tooling is in preview there are some gotchas when doing this today.

  • Make sure that all your class libraries are targeting an appropriate version of the .NET Framework.
    • For example, don't have a 4.5.2 Web App targeting a 4.6.2 Class Library. This could bite you in subtle ways if things don't line up in production.
  • dotnet restore at the command line may well get confused and give you an error like:
    • Errors in D:\github\WebApplication2\src\WebApplication2\project.json - Unable to resolve 'ClassLibrary1' for '.NETFramework,Version=v4.5.2'.
    • Use Visual Studio to build or run msbuild at the command line.
  • You can restore packages from the command line with nuget.exe version 3.4.4 or greater if you restore on the .sln file like this:
    • D:\github\WebApplication2>nuget restore WebApplication2.sln
      MSBuild auto-detection: using msbuild version '14.0' from 'C:\Program Files (x86)\MSBuild\14.0\bin'.
    • I recommend you run nuget.exe to see what version you have and run nuget update -self to have it update itself.

These gotchas will be fixed when the tooling is finalized.

Hope this helps!

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About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.