Create Custom Package Templates

Create Custom Package Templates

As of choco 0.9.9.9, you can create your own custom package templates when the built-in template is not enough.

Overview

A template is used for creating packages. Chocolatey (choco) has a built-in template that it uses when generating a new package from the command choco new.

Where do Templates go?

If you drop a template into $env:ChocolateyInstall\templates folder, you can use -t name_of_template to generate a choco template based on that. So for:

Windows Explorer showing the installation location for a new template with the name of Organization

You would call choco new pkgname -t organization and choco will use the template folder instead of the built-in template.

Can I replace the built-in template?

If you are using a version of Chocolatey CLI earlier than 0.12.0, you can replace the built-in template by copying the template to a folder called default. The choco new command will then use that by default.

Chocolatey CLI version 0.12.0 or later introduced the choco template command. You can use it to list the installed templates and set the defaultTemplateName to set the template to be used by default when running the choco new command. You can also still copy the template files that worked with previous versions.

What values can I template?

You can get the names by running choco new -h:

Possible properties to pass:
    packageversion
    maintainername
    maintainerrepo
    installertype
    url
    url64
    silentargs

However PackageName and PackageNameLower also show up as they are based on the name of the package that you pass e.g. "bob" in choco new bob

Then you surround those templated values with [[]] to make them templated for choco to use.

📝 NOTE You can set and pass arbitrary values through as well. This is shown in the example with CustomValue.

Template Example

This is a template for embedding an MSI into a package. This removes almost everything that is unnecessary for embedding software into packages. And because the autoUninstaller handles MSIs without an issue, we don't need a chocolateyUninstall.ps1.

A file with the extension .nuspec:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<package xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/packaging/2015/06/nuspec.xsd">
  <metadata>
    <id>[[PackageNameLower]]</id>
    <title>[[PackageName]] (Install)</title>
    <version>[[PackageVersion]]</version>
    <authors>Original authors</authors>
    <owners>[[MaintainerName]]</owners>
    <description>__REPLACE__MarkDown_Okay [[AutomaticPackageNotesNuspec]]
    </description>
    <tags>[[PackageNameLower]] admin</tags>
    <!--<dependencies>
      <dependency id="" version="__VERSION__" />
      <dependency id="" />
    </dependencies>-->
  </metadata>
  <files>
    <file src="tools\**" target="tools" />
  </files>
</package>

📝 NOTE Ensure that the template nuspec is encoded as UTF8 with BOM to avoid issues with non-ascii characters. The final package source generated by the template will contain the correct nuspec without a BOM.

tools\chocolateyInstall.ps1:

# Custom value: [[CustomValue]]
$ErrorActionPreference = 'Stop'; # stop on all errors

[[AutomaticPackageNotesInstaller]]
$packageName  = '[[PackageName]]'
$toolsDir     = "$(Split-Path -parent $MyInvocation.MyCommand.Definition)"
$fileLocation = Join-Path $toolsDir 'NAME_OF_EMBEDDED_INSTALLER_FILE'

$packageArgs = @{
  packageName   = $packageName
  file          = $fileLocation
  fileType      = '[[InstallerType]]' #only one of these: exe, msi, msu

  #MSI
  silentArgs    = "/qn /norestart /l*v `"$env:TEMP\chocolatey\$($packageName)\$($packageName).MsiInstall.log`""
  validExitCodes= @(0, 3010, 1641)
  #OTHERS
  #silentArgs   ='[[SilentArgs]]' # /s /S /q /Q /quiet /silent /SILENT /VERYSILENT -s - try any of these to get the silent installer
  #validExitCodes= @(0) #please insert other valid exit codes here
}

Install-ChocolateyInstallPackage @packageArgs

Once installed, call this with choco new test -t <TEMPLATE NAME> CustomValue=Yes

Manage Templates as packages

If you have Chocolatey v0.9.10+, you can manage templates as packages allowing you to upgrade a template when a new version is available. When it comes to packaging templates, Chocolatey takes a conventional approach. You must create a package with the suffix ".template" and have a templates folder.

To manage a template as a package, create a new package with the name "