Getting Started with DotNet CLI

08 Jan 2024
29 min read  

Do you want to develop cross platform apps that will run on Windows, Linux, MacOS then you should for .NET Core, that says “Develop once and deploy on multiple platform”. Get ready for 100% growth in your tech career! Our dot net microservices course guarantees you the skills you need for a salary hike, job placement, and interview success. Enroll today and watch your future soar! I have explained about .NET Core in my previous article, you can refer it here To Develop Apps using .NET .Core you can use the below methods

  1. Using .NET Command Line Interface (CLI)

  2. Using Visual studio or VS for MAC

  3. Using Visual Studio Code

In this article we will see how to use .NET Command Line Interface (CLI) to create, build, compile and run .NET Core Apps that will deploy on Windows, MacOS and Linux, So let’s get started

.NET CLI Commands


CLI having different commands (that includes Basic command set, Project Modification command set and Advanced command set) that helps to create a base or a foundation, that will support IDE, editors and tools.

Basic commands

new command

This command is used to create New file that file may be solutions file, template or configuration file the syntax of this command is as below

 dotnet new <TEMPLATE><Options>

Here dotnet is the keyword and newis the command, Template could be application type like Console app, class library, Unit test project, Razor, MVC, ASP.NET Core file, JSON, NuGet config etc. Go through next example

 dotnet new console -o myFirst_CLI_App

In above command console is the application template and-ois the application attribute which is used to generate output in current directory myFirst_CLI_App is the application name

restore Command

This command is used to restores tools and dependencies of the project, basically, this command takes use of NuGet Packages to restore project related tools and dependencies, The syntax of the command is as below

 dotnet restore [<ROOT>]

The example, Dotnet restore [Here is the root is the optional path which is project directory, default it is current directory]

build Command

This command is used to build a project with all its dependencies, The syntax is as simple

 dotnet build [<PROJECT>]

The example, dotnet build[<PROJECT>, is the path of project that needs to be build, by default it takes current path as project path]

publish Command

As name suggest this command helps to create deployment package, The resultant output is a directory that contains IL (Intermediate Language) files, config files, JSON files, NuGet Packages if exists. The Syntax is

 dotnet publish [<PROJECT>]

The example, dotnet publish[<PROJECT> is the path of the project file, default is current directory]

run Command

This command is used to run application, it is very helpful for rapid development from command line, the output of the application is written to the default location that is bin/<configuration>/<target> the syntax is dotnet run, If you want to run any specific project then the syntax would be

 dotnet run --project
The example
 dotnet run –projectprojects/MyProj/MyProj.csproj

in above example projects/MyProj/MyProj.csprojis the project path to run.

test Command

This command is used to execute Unit Test Cases basically it’s a console that support unit test runner, the output of the command is result of each test case that is fail or pass, The syntax is

 dotnet test [<PROJECT>]

The example, dotnet test[<Project> is the project path which is optional, default path is current directory]

Some additional Basic commands
dotnet vstest MyProject.dll,It helps to run test from specifi file
dotnet pack, This command packs the code in to packages
dotnet migrate, This is migration command use to migrate project from Preview 2 to Core SDK 1.0
dotnet clean [<PROJECT>], use to clean project output
dotnet sln <solution name> add <project name>, this command is use to modify (add, remove files in solution) solution file,
dotnet help <COMMAND_NAME>, as name suggest it displays help about each command
dotnet store -m|--manifest it store the project assembly in package (by default assemblies are not packaged with runtime)

Project Modification Commands

These commands are used to modify project settings like adding and removing of package, references etc.Let’s see them one by one

add package command

This command will add package as a reference in project

 dotnet add [<PROJECT>] package <PACKAGE_NAME>

The example, Suppose, I want to add the test.Jsonpackage reference to project, then I can use syntax like

 dotnet add package test.Json

add reference command

This command will add reference in project from a project, in short project can be add as a reference in another project

 dotnet add [<PROJECT>] reference <PROJECT_REFERENCES>

The example, Suppose, I want to add the app.csproj project in another project then the syntax will be,

 dotnet add app.csproj reference test.csproj

remove package command

This command is use to remove package from project

 dotnet remove [<PROJECT>] package <PACKAGE_NAME>

The example, Suppose, I want to remove the test.jsonpackage from my project then the syntax will be,

 dotnet remove package test.Json
Some additional Basic commands
remove reference
dotnet remove [<PROJECT>] reference <PROJECT_REFERENCES>,It helps to remove reference of a project from another project
list reference
dotnet pack, This command packs the code in to packages

Advanced commands

There are some advanced commands that deals with nuget packages

nuget delete command

This command is use to remove or delete nuget package server

 dotnet nuget delete [<PACKAGE_NAME><PACKAGE_VERSION>]

The example, Suppose, I want to remove the AspNetCore.Mvc package from my project then the syntax will be

 dotnet nuget delete Microsoft.AspNetCore.Mvc

nuget locals command

This command is use to clear local cache and resources used by NuGet

 dotnet nuget locals <CACHE_LOCATION>

The example, Following command will clear all cache directories, temp cache and global temp packages

 dotnet nuget locals –l all

nuget push command

As name suggest This command is use to push package on server as well as it helps to publish it

 dotnet nuget push [<ROOT>] 

The example, Following command will push test.pkg to server and publish it

 dotnet nuget push foo.nupkg

msbuild command

This command is same like our build menu in Visual Studio, it will build the project with all its dependencies

 dotnet msbuild

The example, Following command will build project using release configuration

 dotnet msbuild -p:Configuration=Release

.NET CLI Application Templates

There are lot of template exist in C#, F# and VB.NET template. you can install them using CLI commands with different attributes. Some of them are listed below with their CLI commands

Quick Install
.NET Boxed
dotnet new -i "Boxed.Templates::*"
ASP.NET Core SPA Templates
dotnet new -i "Microsoft.AspNetCore.SpaTemplates::*"
Auth0 Templates
dotnet new -i "Auth0.Templates::*"
AWS Lambda .NET Core Templates
dotnet new -i "Amazon.Lambda.Templates::*"
Blazor - Full stack web development with C# and Web Assembly
dotnet new -i Microsoft.AspNetCore.Blazor.Templates::*
dotnet new -i "Cake.Frosting.Template::*"
Carter - Carter is a library that allows Nancy-esque routing for use with ASP.Net Core.
dotnet new -i "CarterTemplate::*"
dotnet new -i "cloudscribe.templates::*"
DotVVM - Open source MVVM framework for line of business web applications
dotnet new -i "DotVVM.Templates::*"

For more information you can checkout link .NET Template with CLI commands

Creating and Building An Application Using DotNetCLI

To start building app on .NET Core with CLI, first you need to install .NET SDK. As .NET Core is supporting cross platform compatibility, .NET Core SDK come with cross platform version including Windows (32 and 64 bit), Linux and MacOS. To download your desired installer you can check next link Setup Installer, Now move to Command prompt and type following commands

 dotnet new console -o my_first_app

Explanation : With the above new command we are creating console application in my_first_app directory

 cd my_first_app

Explanation : Move to directory my_first_app

If you move to my_first_app directory, you will find Program.cs file, it has ‘Hello World’ program written inside it. The code of the program is given below

 using System;
 namespace my_first_app
 class Program
 staticvoidMain(string[] args)
 Console.WriteLine("Hello World!");

Now put next command

 dotnet run

Explanation : It is the basic command used to run project

 dotnet run
Hello World!

That’s it. We have successfully completed out first .Net Core program with CLI commands

Dot NET CLI Advantages

  • Rapid development is possible

  • Support crossplat form OS so no need to depend upon only Windows

  • No Need to install Visual Studio

  • Easy compile and run, Just fire runcommand in command prompt and it will do all task for you


In this article, we have learned about .NET microservices training. If we want to develop code without Visual Studio and without Windows platform (Linux or MacOS), the Command Line Interface is a really good tool. It has all the necessary capabilities of Visual Studio, starting from new project creation, build, compile, run to publish. It’s so simple that one can easily learn and develop .NET Core app that will be cross-platform compatible. .NET Core CLI code is available on GitHub.

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About Author
Prasad Kulkarni (Microsoft MVP and Sr. Technical leader)

He is Sr. Technical leader by profession and very passionate about Microsoft .NET technology. He likes to write articles on different .NET aspects and likes to help developers so that they can resolve their issues. He believes in "Earning Knowledge" is an endless entity.
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