Visualising NuGet Dependencies

12 Sep 2016

My new place of work has a lot of nuget packages, and I wanted to understand the dependencies between them. To do this I wrote a simple shell script to find all the packages.config files on my machine, and output all the relationships in a way which I could view them.

The format for viewing I use for this is Graphviz’s dot language, and the resulting output can be pasted into WebGraphviz to view.

RESULT_FILE="" # the output file
NAME_MATCH='Microsoft\.' # leave this as a blank string if you want no filtering

echo '' > $RESULT_FILE  # clear out the file
echo 'digraph Dependencies {' >> $RESULT_FILE
echo '  rankdir=LR;' >> $RESULT_FILE # we want a left to right graph, as it's a little easier to read

# find all packages.config, recursively beaneath the path passed into the script
find $1 -iname packages.config | while read line; do

  # find any csproj file next to the packages.config
  project_path="$(dirname $line)/*.csproj"

  # check it exists (e.g. to not error on a /.nuget/packages.config path)
  if [ -f $project_path ]; then

    # find the name of the assembly
    # (our projects are not named with the company prefix, but the assemblies/packages are)
    asm_name=$(grep -oP '<RootNamespace>\K(.*)(?=<)' $project_path)

    # Ignore any tests projects (optional)
    if [[ ${line} != *"Tests"* ]]; then

      # find all lines in the packages.config where the package name has a prefix
      grep -Po "package id=\"\K($NAME_MATCH.*?)(?=\")" $line | while read package; do
        # write it to the result
        echo "  \"$asm_name\" -> \"$package\"" >> $RESULT_FILE



echo '}' >> $RESULT_FILE

To use this, you just need to call it with the path you want to visualise:

$ ./ /d/dev/projects/ledger

Note on the grep usage I am using a non-capturing look behind (everything before \K) and a non-capturing look ahead (the (?=\") part), as if you just use a ‘normal’ expression, the parts which match which I don’t care about also get outputed by grep. In C# I would have written the expression like this:

var packageName = Regex.Match(line, "package id=\"(.*?)\"").Groups[1].Value;

As an example, if I run this over my directory with all of the Ledger code in it, and filter out test dependencies (e.g. remove Shouldy, NSubstitute, Xunit), you get the following dot file:

digraph Dependencies {
  "Ledger.Acceptance" -> "Newtonsoft.Json"
  "Ledger.Tests" -> "Newtonsoft.Json"
  "Ledger.Tests" -> "RabbitMQ.Client"
  "Ledger.Stores.Postgres" -> "Dapper"
  "Ledger.Stores.Postgres" -> "Ledger"
  "Ledger.Stores.Postgres" -> "Newtonsoft.Json"
  "Ledger.Stores.Postgres" -> "Npgsql"
  "Ledger.Stores.Postgres.Tests" -> "Dapper"
  "Ledger.Stores.Postgres.Tests" -> "Ledger"
  "Ledger.Stores.Postgres.Tests" -> "Ledger.Acceptance"
  "Ledger.Stores.Postgres.Tests" -> "Newtonsoft.Json"
  "Ledger.Stores.Postgres.Tests" -> "Npgsql"
  "Ledger.Stores.Fs" -> "Ledger"
  "Ledger.Stores.Fs" -> "Newtonsoft.Json"
  "Ledger.Stores.Fs.Tests" -> "Ledger"
  "Ledger.Stores.Fs.Tests" -> "Ledger.Acceptance"
  "Ledger.Stores.Fs.Tests" -> "Newtonsoft.Json"
  "Ledger.Stores.Fs.Tests" -> "structuremap"

Which renders into the following graph:

Nuget Graph

In the process of writing this though, I did have to go back into the projects and find out why the Ledger.Tests was referencing RabbitMQ.Client (example of appending events to a queue) and why Ledger.Stores.Fs.Tests referened Structuremap (it looks like I forgot to remove the reference after rewriting how Acceptance tests were setup).

The gist with all the code in can be found here:

Hope this is useful to others too!

code, net, nuget, graphviz, dependencies

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