Say you’re dogfooding the latest and greatest .NET preview, and want to simply say “get latest preview 5 bits”. Trivial in any .NET project:

    <PackageReference Include="Microsoft.AspNetCore.Components.WebAssembly" Version="8.0.0-preview.5.*" />

Easy enough to bump when preview 6 comes out, right?

Now, if you happen to use NuGet’s CEntral Package Management, you will be greeted with a nice error message: Centrally defined floating package versions are not allowed. You see, you’re now using what “is considered an enterprise-level feature which provides easier version management at scale as well as deterministic and secure restores”!

You have been doing unsecure, complicated and undeterministic restores all along, you freak, and now you’re being punished for it.

Feel free to upvote the issue to fix this craziness

Now, before the NuGet team decided to lecture you on how to do something that’s been supported in package references since forever (floating and version ranges), there was already a way to do the same but natively using plain MSBuild SDK/targets stuff. And it works as intuitively as it should, supporting everything you can do at the project level, via centrally managed versions too: the Microsoft.Build.CentralPackageVersions MSBuild SDK.

Steps to migrate from the NuGet way to the MSBuild SDK way is trivial:

  1. Rename Directory.Packages.props to Packages.props

  2. In your Directory.Build.targets add the SDK:

  <Sdk Name="Microsoft.Build.CentralPackageVersions" Version="2.1.3" />
  1. Packages.props: find all PackageVersion Include and replace all with PackageReference Update.

Done. Back to sane developing (especially for dogfooding previews). Integration with Visual Studio isn’t great, obviously. If you install or update packages from the UI, you’ll have to manually move the versions to the Packages.props file. But dependabot should take care of that anyway.