How to reference an established GitHub library in C# with a using statement

calman gold 20 Reputation points
2023-08-27T04:11:43.3366667+00:00

I want to write a console app in .NET with C#. I have a library available on GitHub and want to reference it with a using statement. How do I install this library in order to use it ?

.NET
.NET
Microsoft Technologies based on the .NET software framework.
3,347 questions
0 comments No comments
{count} votes

Accepted answer
  1. Hui Liu-MSFT 38,051 Reputation points Microsoft Vendor
    2023-08-28T02:12:14.8933333+00:00

    Hi,@calman gold. Welcome Microsoft Q&A.

    To reference a library available on GitHub and use it in your .NET C# console app, you could follow these steps:

    Clone or Download the Library: Visit the GitHub repository of the library you want to use.

    Click on the "Code" button and select either "Download ZIP" to download the repository as a ZIP file, or copy the repository URL to clone it using Git.

    Extract or Clone the Repository:

    If you downloaded the ZIP file, extract it to a location on your computer.

    If you cloned the repository using Git, open a command prompt and navigate to the directory where you want to clone the repository, then use the git clone command followed by the repository URL.

    Build the Library: Once you have the repository cloned, navigate to the directory where the library's source code is located. If the library is provided as a NuGet package, you might need to build the library to generate the necessary binaries and assemblies.

    Build the Solution: If the library is part of a solution containing multiple projects, build the entire solution to ensure that all dependencies are compiled.

    Locate the DLLs: After building, you'll find the compiled DLL files of the library. These DLLs are the ones you need to reference in your console app.

    Create Your Console App: Create a new .NET C# console application project in your preferred IDE (Visual Studio, Visual Studio Code, etc.).

    Add Reference: In your console app project, add a reference to the compiled DLL(s) of the library that you obtained from step 4. To add a reference:

    In Visual Studio:

    Right-click on your project in the Solution Explorer.

    Select "Add" > "Reference..."

    Browse and select the DLL(s) you obtained from step 4.

    Click "Add" and then "OK."

    Write Code: In your C# code, add a using statement to reference the namespaces/classes from the library. For example:

    using MyLibraryNamespace;

    Build and Run: Build your console app and run it to test that the library is being used correctly.

    Handling Dependencies: If the library has any external dependencies, make sure those dependencies are also referenced in your project. If the library is available on NuGet, you can use NuGet Package Manager or .NET CLI to add those dependencies.

    Remember that libraries on GitHub might have specific installation or usage instructions provided in their README or documentation. Make sure to follow those instructions if they exist.

    Lastly, if the library is available on NuGet, it's often recommended to reference it using NuGet packages rather than directly referencing DLL files. This helps manage versioning and updates more effectively.


    If the response is helpful, please click "Accept Answer" and upvote it.

    Note: Please follow the steps in our documentation to enable e-mail notifications if you want to receive the related email notification for this thread.

    1 person found this answer helpful.

2 additional answers

Sort by: Most helpful
  1. Johan Smarius 390 Reputation points MVP
    2023-08-27T08:38:38.2433333+00:00

    You cannot reference a GitHub repo directly. You do have some options though. You could create a NuGet package from it and host this package in a private NuGet repo. The easiest way is probably to get the code from GitHub. Compile this code and add the library as a reference to your console app. Please keep in mind that with the latter option you don't have any version control, so updates to the library are not automatically added to your console app.


  2. Bruce (SqlWork.com) 55,196 Reputation points
    2023-08-28T20:04:07.6933333+00:00

    if you control the library, you should publish it as a nuget library hosted on GitHub. then the console app would just reference the library as a nuget package.

    https://docs.github.com/en/packages/working-with-a-github-packages-registry/working-with-the-nuget-registry

    0 comments No comments