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By Scott Addie

Visual Studio has built-in support for LibMan in ASP.NET Core projects, including:

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  • Support for configuring and running LibMan restore operations on build.
  • Menu items for triggering LibMan restore and clean operations.
  • Search dialog for finding libraries and adding the files to a project.
  • Editing support for libman.json—the LibMan manifest file.

Prerequisites

  • Visual Studio 2019 with the ASP.NET and web development workload

Add library files

Library files can be added to an ASP.NET Core project in two different ways:

Use the Add Client-Side Library dialog

Follow these steps to install a client-side library:

  • In Solution Explorer, right-click the project folder in which the files should be added. Choose Add > Client-Side Library. The Add Client-Side Library dialog appears:

  • Select the library provider from the Provider drop down. CDNJS is the default provider.

  • Type the library name to fetch in the Library text box. IntelliSense provides a list of libraries beginning with the provided text.

  • Select the library from the IntelliSense list. Notice the library name is suffixed with the @ symbol and the latest stable version known to the selected provider.

  • Decide which files to include:

    • Select the Include all library files radio button to include all of the library's files.
    • Select the Choose specific files radio button to include a subset of the library's files. When the radio button is selected, the file selector tree is enabled. Check the boxes to the left of the file names to download.
  • Specify the project folder for storing the files in the Target Location text box. As a recommendation, store each library in a separate folder.

    The suggested Target Location folder is based on the location from which the dialog launched:

    • If launched from the project root:
      • wwwroot/lib is used if wwwroot exists.
      • lib is used if wwwroot doesn't exist.
    • If launched from a project folder, the corresponding folder name is used.

    The folder suggestion is suffixed with the library name. The following table illustrates folder suggestions when installing jQuery in a Razor Pages project.

    Launch locationSuggested folder
    project root (if wwwroot exists)wwwroot/lib/jquery/
    project root (if wwwroot doesn't exist)lib/jquery/
    Pages folder in projectPages/jquery/
  • Click the Install button to download the files, per the configuration in libman.json.

  • Review the Library Manager feed of the Output window for installation details. For example:

Manually configure LibMan manifest file entries

All LibMan operations in Visual Studio are based on the content of the project root's LibMan manifest (libman.json). You can manually edit libman.json to configure library files for the project. Visual Studio restores all library files once libman.json is saved.

To open libman.json for editing, the following options exist:

  • Double-click the libman.json file in Solution Explorer.
  • Right-click the project in Solution Explorer and select Manage Client-Side Libraries.
  • Select Manage Client-Side Libraries from the Visual Studio Project menu.

If the libman.json file doesn't already exist in the project root, it will be created with the default item template content.

Visual Studio offers rich JSON editing support such as colorization, formatting, IntelliSense, and schema validation. The LibMan manifest's JSON schema is found at https://json.schemastore.org/libman.

With the following manifest file, LibMan retrieves files per the configuration defined in the libraries property. An explanation of the object literals defined within libraries follows:

  • A subset of jQuery version 3.3.1 is retrieved from the CDNJS provider. The subset is defined in the files property—jquery.min.js, jquery.js, and jquery.min.map. The files are placed in the project's wwwroot/lib/jquery folder.
  • The entirety of Bootstrap version 4.1.3 is retrieved and placed in a wwwroot/lib/bootstrap folder. The object literal's provider property overrides the defaultProvider property value. LibMan retrieves the Bootstrap files from the unpkg provider.
  • A subset of Lodash was approved by a governing body within the organization. The lodash.js and lodash.min.js files are retrieved from the local file system at C:templodash. The files are copied to the project's wwwroot/lib/lodash folder.

Note

LibMan only supports one version of each library from each provider. The libman.json file fails schema validation if it contains two libraries with the same library name for a given provider.

Restore library files

To restore library files from within Visual Studio, there must be a valid libman.json file in the project root. Restored files are placed in the project at the location specified for each library.

Library files can be restored in an ASP.NET Core project in two ways:

Restore files during build

LibMan can restore the defined library files as part of the build process. By default, the restore-on-build behavior is disabled.

To enable and test the restore-on-build behavior:

  • Right-click libman.json in Solution Explorer and select Enable Restore Client-Side Libraries on Build from the context menu.

  • Click the Yes button when prompted to install a NuGet package. The Microsoft.Web.LibraryManager.Build NuGet package is added to the project:

  • Build the project to confirm LibMan file restoration occurs. The Microsoft.Web.LibraryManager.Build package injects an MSBuild target that runs LibMan during the project's build operation.

  • Review the Build feed of the Output window for a LibMan activity log:

When the restore-on-build behavior is enabled, the libman.json context menu displays a Disable Restore Client-Side Libraries on Build option. Selecting this option removes the Microsoft.Web.LibraryManager.Build package reference from the project file. Consequently, the client-side libraries are no longer restored on each build.

Regardless of the restore-on-build setting, you can manually restore at any time from the libman.json context menu. For more information, see Restore files manually.

Restore files manually

To manually restore library files:

  • For all projects in the solution:
    • Right-click the solution name in Solution Explorer.
    • Select the Restore Client-Side Libraries option.
  • For a specific project:
    • Right-click the libman.json file in Solution Explorer.
    • Select the Restore Client-Side Libraries option.

While the restore operation is running:

  • The Task Status Center (TSC) icon on the Visual Studio status bar will be animated and will read Restore operation started. Clicking the icon opens a tooltip listing the known background tasks.

  • Messages will be sent to the status bar and the Library Manager feed of the Output window. For example:

Delete library files

To perform the clean operation, which deletes library files previously restored in Visual Studio:

  • Right-click the libman.json file in Solution Explorer.
  • Select the Clean Client-Side Libraries option.

To prevent unintentional removal of non-library files, the clean operation doesn't delete whole directories. It only removes files that were included in the previous restore.

While the clean operation is running:

  • The TSC icon on the Visual Studio status bar will be animated and will read Client libraries operation started. Clicking the icon opens a tooltip listing the known background tasks.
  • Messages are sent to the status bar and the Library Manager feed of the Output window. For example:

The clean operation only deletes files from the project. Library files stay in the cache for faster retrieval on future restore operations. To manage library files stored in the local machine's cache, use the LibMan CLI.

Uninstall library files

To uninstall library files:

  • Open libman.json.

  • Position the caret inside the corresponding libraries object literal.

  • Click the light bulb icon that appears in the left margin, and select Uninstall <library_name>@<library_version>:

Alternatively, you can manually edit and save the LibMan manifest (libman.json). The restore operation runs when the file is saved. Library files that are no longer defined in libman.json are removed from the project.

Update library version

To check for an updated library version:

  • Open libman.json.
  • Position the caret inside the corresponding libraries object literal.
  • Click the light bulb icon that appears in the left margin. Hover over Check for updates.

LibMan checks for a library version newer than the version installed. The following outcomes can occur:

  • A No updates found message is displayed if the latest version is already installed.

  • The latest stable version is displayed if not already installed.

  • If a pre-release newer than the installed version is available, the pre-release is displayed.

To downgrade to an older library version, manually edit the libman.json file. When the file is saved, the LibMan restore operation:

  • Removes redundant files from the previous version.
  • Adds new and updated files from the new version.

Additional resources

If you are a music enthusiast as well as tech savvy, you may be familiar with M3U8 file extension. Nevertheless, most people do not understand this format or even have not heard of it. In fact, M3U8 is widely used on computers, websites and streaming services.

This post will share the basic knowledge about this audio format in detail. Then you will understand what is M3U8 and how to listen to it with the best M3U8 players on Windows 10/8.1/8/7 and Mac OS X.

M3U8 Players

Part 1: What is m3u8?

In brief, M3U8 is the file extension of audio playlist encoded with UTF-8. It uses plain text files to store the information of audio tracks and music, such as the absolute paths and relative paths of local audio files, as well as URLs. Both audio and video players are able to get where media files are located through the information.

As mentioned previously, M3U8 does not contain media content but the location information.

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M3U8 files can be opened and edited by most text editors, such as Notepad on Windows. However, if you want to listen to it, you have to prepare a M3U8 player.

Part 2: Top 5 M3U8 players

Top 1: AnyMP4 Blu-ray Player

Key features:

  • • Read M3U8 files and let you to listen to music simply.
  • • Keep the original quality of audio tracks and music.
  • • Support almost all audio formats and media file extensions.
  • • Integrate an audio equalizer to get the desired audio effects.
  • • Compatible with Windows 10/8.1/8/7/Vista/XP and Mac OS X.

Pros

  • • The interface is user friendly and easy to use.
  • • This M3U8 player is flexible and available to both average people and tech savvy.

Cons

  • • Since AnyMP4 Blu-ray Player is a professional media player you need to purchase it after the free-trial.
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Top 2: VLC Media Player

Key features:

  • • Pack a wide range of video and audio codecs, such as MP3, M4V, WMA, M4A, etc.
  • • Get the information in M3U8 files and play audio tracks.
  • • Available to both local music files and online streaming.
  • • Convert M3U8 files to audio tracks for playing on any devices.
  • • Include several bonus tools, such as rip audio from CD, download online music, and more.

Pros

  • • This M3U8 player is open source and free of charge.
  • • It is an all-in-one media player with extensive features.

Cons

  • • It is not suitable to beginners since functionalities are hidden in the menu bar.
  • • There are too many custom options.

Top 3: iTunes

Key features:

  • • Import M3U8 files as well as the audio tracks in the playlists.
  • • Add music in the M3U8 playlist to iTunes library automatically.
  • • Create a playlist based on the M3U8 file in iTunes with the specified order.
  • • Sync the playlists to iOS devices through a USB cable or Wi-Fi network.

Pros

  • • This M3U8 player is completely free to download and use.
  • • It is available to both Windows and Mac.

Cons

  • • You have to update iTunes frequently.
  • • Some songs in the M3U8 file may be not available in iTunes due to copyright.

Top 4: Windows Media Player

Key features:

  • • Open M3U8 files and add the audio tracks automatically.
  • • Keep the order of the M3U8 playlist.
  • • Support WMA, MP3 and popular audio formats.
  • • Offer multiple modes, such as listen to music by order or random.
  • • Expandable with extra plugins and codecs.

Pros

  • • This M3U8 player is pre-installed on Windows.
  • • It is able to play online streaming.

Cons

  • • You cannot find advanced settings in this media player.
  • • It only offers 4 levels of audio quality.

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Top 5: Songbird

Key features:

  • • Compatible with Windows XP/Vista, Mac OS X 10.5 and Linux.
  • • Play popular audio formats, such as MP3, AAC, Ogg, Vorbis, FLAC and WMA.
  • • Able to open M3U8 files and import audio files automatically.
  • • Pack a customizable interface with various skins.
  • • Display basic information of audio tracks.

Pros

  • • This M3U8 player is expandable with various addons and extensions.
  • • It allows you to control the audio playback with hotkeys.

Cons

  • • This audio player is large and takes up space.
  • • Some functionalities are difficult to use.

Part 3: Top 3 m3u8 players online

Top 1: Castr Player

https://castr.io/hlsplayer

Key features:

  • • Test your M3U8 streams online for free.
  • • Offer a video tutorial on the home page.
  • • Support HLS and MPEG-Dash.
  • • One-click to start the audio playback.
  • • No require to install or download anything on your computer

Pros

  • • This online M3U8 player responds fast.
  • • It gives you total control to access streaming services on your own.

Cons

  • • The free-trial is limited.
  • • It cannot get online audio tracks offline.

Top 2: HLSTester

https://www.hlstester.com/

Key features:

  • • Play and test your streams online without downloading anything.
  • • Support every stream type, such as M3U8, RTMP, MP4, etc.
  • • Test your music streams with a single click.
  • • Offer the plugin for web browsers for free.
  • • Load audio tracks quickly.

Pros

  • • The interface of this online M3U8 player is intuitive.
  • • There is no extra requirement, such as registration.

Cons

  • • It needs VPN to access in some regions.
  • • It may crash if your internet connection is not very good.

Top 3: HLSPlayer

https://www.hlsplayer.net/

Key features:

  • • Play M3U8 and HLS playlists through the internet connection.
  • • Completely free to use without restrictions.
  • • Search for audio streams based on the M3U8 playlist automatically.
  • • Offer a RTMP player and a MP4 player as well.

Pros

  • • The interface is straightforward and easy to navigate.
  • • This M3U8 player is available in most popular web browsers.

Cons

  • • It does not offer extensions for Firefox or Chrome.

Part 4: FAQs of M3U8 player

How can I play M3U8 file in HTML?

HTML5 does not support M3U8 files playback. For opening the M3U8 videos on HTML5, you need to insert the following command:
<link href=“https://vjs.zencdn.net/6.6.3/video-js.css” rel=“stylesheet”>
<script src=“https://vjs.zencdn.net/6.6.3/video.js”></script>
<script src=“https://unpkg.com/videojs-flash/dist/videojs-flash.js”></script>
<script src=“https://unpkg.com/videojs-contrib-hls/dist/video js-contrib-hls.js”></script>
<video class=“video-js vjs-default-skin vjs-big-play-centered” data-setup=’{“controls”: true, “autoplay”: true }’>
<source src=“http://sample.vodobox.net/skate_phantom_flex_4k/skate_phantom_flex_4k.m3u8” type=“application/x-mpegURL”>
Your browser does not support HTML5 video.
</video>

How do I convert M3U8 to MP4?

For converting M3U8 to MP4, you will need the professional M3U8 converter software. VLC, M3U8 Loader App, etc. Learn the detailed steps of converting M3U8 to MP4 here.

Which browser supports M3U8 files playback?

For

Microsoft Edge plays M3U8 files but you must make sure your computer run on windows 8 or 10.

Conclusion

We have shared the best M3UP player software and online M3U8 players. Now, you should understand what is M3U8 file and how to listen to music with your M3U8 playlist on Windows and Mac.