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Improved "Run" Command

To run your application normally from a command prompt with all the default configuration from the project root directory, there's no real change from what you'd do without Oakton.AspNetCore. The command is still just:

dotnet run

If your command prompt is at the solution directory (my personal default), you can use all the available dotnet run options, and in this case tell the dotnet CLI to run a project in another directory like this example:

dotnet run --project src/MvcApp/MvcApp.csproj

So far, no changes from what you have today, so let's dig into what's changed. First, at any time to see the list of available commands in your system, use either the command dotnet run -- ? or dotnet run -- help as shown below:

dotnet run -- ?

Which gave this output on a sample MVC application with commands from an extension library:

Searching 'AspNetCoreExtensionCommands, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=null' for commands

    Available commands:
    check-env -> Execute all environment checks against the application
          run -> Runs the configured AspNetCore application
        smoke -> Simply try to build a web host as a smoke test


When you're using the dotnet run command, the usage of the double dashes -- separates command line arguments to the dotnet run command itself from the command arguments to your application. The args array passed into your application will be any arguments or flags to the right of the -- separator.

The run command shown above is the default command for Oakton and what will be executed unless you explicitly choose another named command.

Looking farther into what the run command provides with:

dotnet run -- ? run

gives you this help text for the options on the run command:

 Usages for 'run' (Runs the configured AspNetCore application)
  run [-c, --check] [-e, --environment <environment>] [-v, --verbose] [-l, --log-level <logleve>] [----config:<prop> <value>]

                        [-c, --check] -> Run the environment checks before starting the host
    [-e, --environment <environment>] -> Use to override the ASP.Net Environment name
                      [-v, --verbose] -> Write out much more information at startup and enables console logging
          [-l, --log-level <logleve>] -> Override the log level
          [----config:<prop> <value>] -> Overwrite individual configuration items

Overriding the Hosting Environment

To override the hosting environment that your ASP.Net Core application runs under, use the environment flag as shown below:

dotnet run -- --environment Testing

This would be the equivalent of running your application with this code (note the usage of UseEnvironment("Testing")):

    public class Program
        public static Task<int> Main(string[] args)
            return CreateWebHostBuilder(args)

        public static IWebHostBuilder CreateWebHostBuilder(string[] args) =>

                // This is what the --environment flag does

See Andrew Lock on how the hosting environment can be useful.

Overriding Configuration Items

Individual values in your system's IConfiguration can be overridden at the command line using the --config flag like so:

dotnet run -- --config:key1 value1 --config:key2 value2

The flag usage above would override the system configuration with the values key1=value1 and key2=value2.

Overriding the Minimum Log Level

You can override the minimum log level in the running application using any valid value of the LogLevel enumeration and the --log-level flag as shown below:

dotnet run -- --log-level Information

See Logging in .NET Core and ASP.NET Core for more information about ASP.Net Core logging.

Running Environment Checks Before Starting the Application

You can also opt into running any configured environment checks before starting Kestrel. If any of the environment checks fail, the application startup will fail. The goal of this feature is to make deployments be self-diagnosing and fail fast at startup time if the system can detect problems in its configuration or with its dependencies.

To run the environment checks as part of the run command, just use the --environment flag like this:

dotnet run -- --environment