Chocolatey – A good app manager for Windows

chocolatey package manager for Windows

I had been playing around with Linux for a long time before my kinda permanent switch to Windows 8.

Apart from the fact that I could show my geek skills to lesser mortals, the thing I missed the most was probably “package managers”. Be it “Yum” in RedHat or CentOS, Apt in Ubuntu, or Synaptic – all of them bring tremendous power to the user.

You just have to go through the software available, read a few reviews (in some managers), hit select and download the software with all its interdependencies and quirks.

Worked really well for me – especially when I was learning the ropes in Linux.

Back to Windows, and I found it not a bit annoying. I was so accustomed to downloading MSI, or any of the hundred other installer files to install every kind of software out there. Until I stopped to consider the problem of not having a single app manager in Windows.

Yes, there is certainly the Microsoft store. But how many times have you used it?

With this, I present Chocolatey.

What is Chocolatey?

As the description on Chocolatey kindly tells us, it is “kind of Yum for Windows”.

Yummy? – you bet.

chocolatey package manager for Windows

Chocolatey offers a one-click, er.. one line install that for any of the supported packages.

You get started by installing Chocolatey. The installation is not your traditional install.

Just open your command prompt as administrator. Type in this gem below..

@powershell -NoProfile -ExecutionPolicy unrestricted -Command "iex ((new-object net.webclient).DownloadString('https://chocolatey.org/install.ps1'))" && SET PATH=%PATH%;%ALLUSERSPROFILE%\chocolatey\bin

And, there – you are done.

Using Chocolatey

What Chocolatey means as a user now is this – you can select any of the 100s of packages offered by Chocolatey and simply type the line at the right of the package to install the software.

Chocolatey package manager for Windows

Chocolatey takes care of any dependencies, and installs the software on your machine. How cool is that?

Turns out not as cool as I anticipated. Yes there is a lot of stuff that I use normally – like Chrome, 7 Zip, Notepad++ etc. But, there are still plenty missing. I should roll up my sleeve and get creating packages that I really love.

If you are a software developer who has used other software to develop your application, and your software needs additional third party software – all you do is create a package and tell Chocolatey that. Now, whenever people install your software through Chocolatey – your package manager script takes care of any  dependencies and install your software in a “safe” way.

Chocolatey packages are actually maintained as a feed, that you (and others) can see and use. Chocolatey can also be used for your internal company distribution of software – another topic altogether!

 

Chocolatey itself is based on NuGet which is finds itself as a good package/library manager for developers.

Chocolatey is still in alpha – you can expect it to break your software installation. In my intensive use of 3 days, I could not really find any issues. So, I am recommending it to you dear reader, at absolutely zero cost.

That brings to my next topic – Chocolatey is open source and completely free of cost.

 

Try Chocolatey yourself, and hail its command line goodness.