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Cake-Contrib Guidelines & Best Practices

This document provides some guidelines and best practices for writing Cake addins hosted within the cake-contrib GitHub Organization (however, these guidelines can also be applied to addin's hosted outside the Orgnanization).

All known addins are audited twice daily to ensure compliance, and a summary report, as well as a detailed report, are generated at the conclusion of each audit. As a Cake user you can use the summary audit report to verify if the addins you are using are compatible with the version of Cake you are using. As an addin author you should use the detailed audit report to verify that you are complying with all recommendations.

Naming Convention

Your addin should be named where xxx is a meaningful and unique name that describes what your addin does. We strongly encourage you to be consistent and use the same name for the GitHub repo, the C# solution name, the assembly generated from your project and the NuGet package. The Cake. prefix in the naming convention is particularly important for the NuGet package and the assembly in your package, because it's used by the automated AddinDiscoverer to identify addins for Cake.

For example, Cake.Email is the name that clearly identifies the addin for Cake that allows emails to be sent from your build script. This name is used in the GitHub repo, it's the name of the solution file, it's the name of the project file, the name of the generated assembly and finally, it's also the name of the NuGet package.

NuGet Package Icon

Addins should use the Cake Contrib icon rather than the Cake icon or any other custom icon. Also, addins should embed the icon in their NuGet package rather than rely on an external web site to host their icon. You can do so by adding the following line in your addin's .csproj:


Your addin's .csproj should also contain a reference to your png file like so:

    <None Include="..\PackageIcon.png" Pack="true" PackagePath="" />

Notice the Pack attribute, this is particularly important to ensure the file is embedded in the NuGet package.

Please note that the source for the icon can be found here.

Until early 2019, the recommendation was to reference the cake-contrib icon hosted on the rawgit CDN but rawgit announced that it would shutdown in October 2019 therefore the recommendation changed to reference the cake-contrib icon hosted on the jsDelivr CDN. This recommendation changed once again in the fall of 2019 when NuGet started supporting embedded icons.

Build Infrastructure

Addins which are part of the cake-contrib Organization should use the Cake.Recipe scripts for their build process.

Supported Cake Version

To have the best support for different versions of Cake, the addin should currently be built against Cake version 0.33.0, or, if a specific newer functionality is required, the lowest version providing the specific functionality. Please note that addins built against newer versions of Cake might not be compatible with previous versions of Cake and vice-versa, addins built against older versions might not be compatible with future versions of Cake (this is especially true when a future version of Cake introduces breaking changes).

It is incumbent on addin authors to upgrade their references and publish new version of their NuGet packages when a new version of Cake with breaking changes becomes available.


As .NET Framwork < 4.7.2 has issues with running .NET Standard assemblies, and Cake itself can run on .NET Framework 4.6.1 it is suggested to multi-target addins to netstandard2.0 and net461 to have the maximum compatibility.

This replaces the previous suggestion to only target netstandard2.0 starting with Cake 0.26.0 as since then issues were found with running netstandard2.0 on .NET Framwork < 4.7.2.

Multi-targetting was suggested by Microsoft in this .NET Conf 2018 talk and the underlying issues are explained in this tweet

Cake.Core / Cake.Common references

Those references are being implicitly added by the Cake engine. Thus there is no need to add them as dependencies inside the nuspec file. This is not too hard to accomplish of you write your own nuspec file. But if you are using dotnet.exe pack to create the NuGet package you need to explicitly mark those references as private assets inside the new csproj format.

  <PackageReference Include="Cake.Core" Version="0.33.0" PrivateAssets="All" />
  <PackageReference Include="Cake.Common" Version="0.33.0" PrivateAssets="All" />


Addins should follow the Cake Documentation Guidelines.

Addin documentation

The preferred tool for creating documentation for the addin is Wyam. The Cake.Recipe scripts support building Wyam projects and the created website can be published to using a gh-pages branch.

For details see How to create gh-pages branch.

Deprecating an addin

From time to time, a previously published addin needs to be deprecated. This could be for a number of reasons:

  • It was created in error.
  • It has been superseded by another package.
  • It is an older package that no longer follows the guidelines.
  • Its package id has been changed to something that better fits with the package naming guidelines.

All versions of this package could simply be unlisted from, meaning that they could no longer be found, however, this solution is not ideal. Any build script referencing this package without a specific version would no longer works which is far from ideal. When a package needs to be deprecated, it needs to be handled in such a way that existing users will continue to be able to use the old package id, but take advantage of the replacement package, if there is one.

In order to deprecate an addin, the following steps should be followed:

  • Create a new version of the deprecated addin package.
  • Prepend [DEPRECATED] to the title of the package (e.g. "[DEPRECATED] My Cake addin")
  • Update the package description: Why is the package being deprecated?
  • Publish this new version of the package to

Further reading

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