Magic script-based C# task runner
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Nake is a magic task runner tool for .NET. It's a hybrid of Shovel and Rake. The DSL for defining tasks is uniquely minimal and it's just plain C# code! Nake is built on top of the latest Roslyn release so you can use all of the C# V6 features in you scripts and even more.

Gitter Build status NuGet

How to install

There multiple ways in which Nake could be installed. You can install it by using NuGet package, or you can get it by downloading a standalone executable from GitHub releases page, and of course you can always build it from sources.

To install Nake via NuGet, run this command in NuGet package manager console:

PM> Install-Package Nake

Scripting reference

#r "System"                         // 
#r "System.Core"                    //   #reference assemblies from the GAC 
#r "System.Data"                    //    (these are referenced by default)
#r "System.Xml"                     //
#r "System.Xml.Linq"                //

#r "WindowsBase, Version=4.0..."    //  you can reference assembly by its full name
#r "Packages\NUnit.2.6.2\nunit.dll" //        or by using relative path
#r "C:\Orleans\SDK\Orleans.dll"     //            or by absolute path

#load "Other.csx"                   //      #load code from other script files
#load "Build\Another.csx"           //  (both absolute and relative paths are fine)

using System;                       //
using System.IO;                    //      standard C# namespace imports
using System.Linq;                  //     (these are imported by default)
using System.Text;                  //  
using System.Collections.Generic;   //  

using static System.IO.Path;        //    C# V6 "using static members" feature 
using static System.Console;        //      will make you scripts more terse

WriteLine("Are you ready? Y/N:");   //      any code you put on the script level 
if (ReadLine() == "N")              //  will run before any of the tasks are executed
    Exit("See you soon ...");       //      (useful for one-off initialization)

var greeting = "Hello";             //   you can override any script-level variables 
var who = "world";                  //  with the values passed from the command line

/// Prints greeting                 //  this F#-style summary is shown in task listing
[Task] void Welcome()               //  [Task] makes method runnable from command line
    WriteLine("{greeting},{who}!"); //  forget ugly string.Format & string concatenation 
}                                   //   with built-in support for string interpolation

[Task] void Tell(
    string what = "Hello",          //     for parameterized tasks you can supply
    string whom = "world",          //     arguments directly from the command line
    int times = 1,                  //          (string, int, boolean and 
    DayOfWeek when,                 //         enum arguments are supported)
    bool quiet = false              //  + switch-like syntax for booleans (eg, --quiet)
    var emphasis = quiet ? "" : "!";
    for (; times > 0; times--)
	    WriteLine("{what}, {whom} on {when}{emphasis}");

[Step] void Clean()   			    //     Steps are Tasks with 'run once' semantics      
{					                //     (foundation of any build automation tool)

[Step] void Build(string cfg = "Debug")
    Clean();                        //  unlike popular tools, there is no special syntax
    -------                         //     for specifying task (step) dependencies
    MSBuild("Nake.sln", cfg);       //    (it's just plain old C# method invocation)
[Step] void Test()
    Clean();                        //     you have complete control over decision,
    Build();                        //  when and in what order dependent steps should run
    -------                         //      (and Nake makes sure of run-once behavior)

[Step] void Publish(bool beta = false)
    Test();                         //   sometimes, you need to execute the same step but with
    Build("Release");               //  different args. Unlike other build automation tools
    ------                          //  there is no special syntax to force step to run again, 
    Nuget("Nake.nuspec", beta)      //       you just invoke it with different arguments!

var apiKey = "$NugetKey$";          //      $var$ is the shortcut syntax for getting 
Push(apiKey, "{PackagePath}");      //          value of environment variable

Write("$NakeStartupDirectory$");    //       these special environment variables
Write("$NakeScriptDirectory$");     //        are automatically created by Nake

Write("{{esc}}");                   //  will simply print {esc} (no string interpolation)
Write("$$esc$$");                   //  will simply print $esc$ (no env variable inlining)

class Azure                         //  namespace declarations cannot be used with scripts,
{                                   //  but could be easily emulated with class declarations
    class Queue                     //     and you can nest them infinitely as you like
        [Task] void Clean()         //     then from the command line you would invoke
        {}                          //  this task by its full path (ie, azure.queue.clean)

[Task] void Default()               //          running Nake without any options 
{                                   //       will cause it to run the "default" task

Command line reference

General syntax is: Nake [options ...] [VAR=VALUE ...] [task ...]

> Nake -f "Nake.csx" Log=1 build    //       set Log environment variable to 1 and
                                    //      then run Build() task from Nake.csx file 
> Nake Log=1 build                  //  equivalent to the above as Nake will automatically try 
                                    //   to use Nake.csx file if present in current directory


   -?  --help             Display help message and exit
   -v  --version          Display the program version and exit
   -q  --quiet            Do not echo informational messages to standard output
   -s  --silent           Same as --quiet but also suppresses user generated log messages
   -f  --nakefile FILE    Use FILE as Nake project file
   -d  --directory DIR    Use DIR as current directory
   -t  --trace            Enables full stack traces in error reporting + task execution trace
       --debug            Enables full script debugging in Visual Studio
   -T  --tasks [PATTERN]  Display tasks with descriptions matching optional PATTERN and exit
   	   --runner NAME      Use NAME as runner file name in task listing
   -r  --reset-cache      Resets compilation output cache

Invoking tasks

General syntax for invoking tasks and passing arguments is similar to the normal C# method invocation syntax, except is used instead of , to separate task arguments, and = is used instead of : for specifying named argument values. Also, boolean arguments support special -- switch syntax.

> Nake build                          //  run Build task with default arg values
> Nake build Release                  //  or with first positional argument set to 'Release'
> Nake build cfg=Release              //  or with named argument 'cfg' set to 'Release'
> Nake build Release outDir="C:\Tmp"  //  you can mix positional and named arguments
> Nake build ; test                   //  or invoke multiple tasks within a same session
> Nake build `; test                  //  also escape ';' when running in PowerShell console 
> Nake publish --beta                 //  invoke Publish task with 'beta' arg set to 'true'

Included utility reference

Out-of-the box Nake includes a lot of useful convinient utility functions to help you with:

  • running external tools, such as command-line commands or MSBuild
  • selecting and transforming file system paths (globber)
  • casual file system tasks, such as copying, moving, deleting files/folders
  • logging messages to console
  • working with environment variables
  • controlling Nake's runner
  • etc

Check out table below for reference on using utility library:

Class Functions
Run Running external tools: Cmd, MSBuild
App Controlling Nake's runner
Log Logging messages to console
Env Working with environment variables
FS File-system tasks, such as copy/move/del/mkdir/etc
FileSet File path selection and transformation (globber)
Color Printing to console in color
Location Current directory and special paths (script, startup)

Also, see 'by use-case' reference on wiki.

Tips & tricks

class Azure
    StorageAccount account;
    static Azure()                  //  this will run once before any of the 
    {                               //  tasks in this namespace are executed
        account = Init();           //  (useful for one-off initialization)


  • Running on Mono
  • Interactive mode


Gimme your pull requests!

Samples and Documentation

Have a look at Nake.csx. It's a Nake file used to build and publish Nake itself (ye, we're eating our own dog food).


General discussion group could be found here. Also, for news you can follow Nake's official twitter account (or my account for that matter). The twitter's hashtag is #naketool.


  • Thanks to everyone in the Roslyn compiler team for making this happen
  • Thanks to all members of the scriptcs team for lending me their script pre-processing code
  • Special thanks to Anton Martynenko for giving me an idea and steering Nake's DSL in the right direction
  • Hugs and kisses to my lovely Valery for being so patient and supportive, and for feeding me food and beer, while I was sitting in my cage working on Nake, instead of spending that time with her


Apache 2 License