Microsoft has unexpectedly announced a new package manager for Windows. The announcement was made at Build 2020, Microsoft’s conference for developers that’s being held virtually this year.
Like other package managers, Windows Package Manager provides an easier way to install software on your machine.
Windows Package Manager is a command line tool, and to use it you enter the command to run the package manager (winget in this case) and the name of the software you want to install, and the package manager finds the most recent version and installs it.
What’s particularly useful for Windows users about the new tool is that it will install apps that aren’t present in the Windows Store set of ‘authorised’ applications.
Microsoft is setting up a list of popular third party applications that it will manage so that they will install correctly. For developers, a more important aspect is that it means that as a developer you can use the new tool to distribute your applications.
The package manager is released as an open source preview, and developers can clone, build, run and test the code from its GitHub repository.
The utility can be used to install any app with a valid manifest, even local ones. The command line client has been pre-configured to point to the Microsoft community repository, meaning you can install any package with a manifest that has been published.
You can search for available packages and display information using the show command, and there are also commands to help with manifest creation and validation.
Once the first third-party repository is published, you will be able to add that repository as a source as well.