24

To keep our house in order, I want to automatically assemble licenses for project dependencies in our documentation, rather than having to add them manually.

Does anybody know a simple way to traverse programmatically a set of CSPROJ files and extract the license information for the referenced packages as a link or string?

  • When you say licence information you mean a short string representing the licence type or a link pointing to the licence page on the web? How would you like this information to be returned, in a console window or, for example, in a CSV/HTML file? – mguassa Jun 14 '15 at 20:01
  • I could take either the link or a string. I'm more looking for a programmatic way to access the information in the first place – Byron Ross Jun 16 '15 at 13:58
24

One way I know to get such information is by using PowerShell in the Package Manager Console, from within Visual Studio.

The Package Manager Console is a PowerShell console within Visual Studio used to interact with NuGet and automate Visual Studio.

Basically you can use the Get-Package cmdlet to get a list of packages referenced in a specific project (or in an entire Solution). Regarding the license information for each package, for what I've seen you can only get the license URL and not just a short string representing the license type.

Here's an example for a Solution of mine returning a list of entries, each one consisting of the package identifier and the link to the license:

Get-Package | Select-Object Id,LicenseUrl

The output is something like this:

get-package output

Other elements that can be returned are documented in the Nuspec reference, in the metadata section (e.g. the version of the package, a short description, etc.).

  • Just a note - In VS2015 'LicenseUrl' always returns an empty string. NuGet documentation says 'LicenseUrl' will be deprecated from v3.x on wards, buts does not mention about any alternatives – James Poulose Nov 20 '15 at 5:32
  • As of 4/24 via VS2017 this answer works. – justSteve Apr 24 '18 at 8:48
6

Based on multiple sources, I've made a PowerShell script that reads all NuGet packages and fetches the license files and put that in a folder called "licenses". The script should be run on the root of the project (where the "packages" folder is located).

# Run in Package Manager Console with `./download-packages-license.ps1`.
# If access denied, execute `Set-ExecutionPolicy -Scope Process -ExecutionPolicy RemoteSigned`.

Split-Path -parent $dte.Solution.FileName | cd; New-Item -ItemType Directory -Force -Path ".\licenses";
@( Get-Project -All | ? { $_.ProjectName } | % {
    Get-Package -ProjectName $_.ProjectName | ? { $_.LicenseUrl }
} ) | Sort-Object Id -Unique | % {
    $pkg = $_;
    Try {
        if ($pkg.Id -notlike 'microsoft*' -and $pkg.LicenseUrl.StartsWith('http')) {
            Write-Host ("Download license for package " + $pkg.Id + " from " + $pkg.LicenseUrl);
            #Write-Host (ConvertTo-Json ($pkg));

            $licenseUrl = $pkg.LicenseUrl
            if ($licenseUrl.contains('github.com')) {
                $licenseUrl = $licenseUrl.replace("/blob/", "/raw/")
            }

            $extension = ".txt"
            if ($licenseUrl.EndsWith(".md")) {
                $extension = ".md"
            }

            (New-Object System.Net.WebClient).DownloadFile($licenseUrl, (Join-Path (pwd) 'licenses\') + $pkg.Id + $extension);
        }
    }
    Catch [system.exception] {
        Write-Host ("Could not download license for " + $pkg.Id)
    }
}

Disclaimer: I'm no PowerShell expert. Run at your own risk :)

I couldn't find any simple code that detects which license the NuGet package has, based on it's license file. The only project that comes close to a solution is Licensee, but this is build in Ruby.

0

I managed to get the licence information using the following command:

@( @(Get-Project -All | ForEach-Object { Get-Package -ProjectName $_.ProjectName }) | Select Id -Unique ) | ForEach-Object { $pkg = $_ ;$pkgId = $_.Id ; if ($pkgId -notlike  'microsoft*'){ $url = Open-PackagePage $pkgId -License -WhatIf -PassThru; Write-Host "$pkgId $url"}}

protected by gnat Jan 15 '18 at 13:50

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.