DLL merge and MSD CRM/365 (on-prem/On-Line)

Tips & Trics

While working as developer, many times we will have some readymade tools or class libraries / DLLs, which where developed by some other developers and they publish for developer kind. Salute to their generosity.

We use those libraries in our development and our life becomes little easier. But while deploying it on other environments we have to install those things and or keep those DLLs on another environment, if we miss it then because of those open libraries, development breaks.

So in such conditions we can merge multiple DLLs in one to make our life bit easier.

If it’s exe, user following function to make one DDL.

Advantage: it will keep the original identity of the DDL.

Disadvantage: it won’t works for library building. For e.g. CRM plugins

Here is the that great function …

private static void AsseblyResolveEvent()
 AppDomain.CurrentDomain.AssemblyResolve += (sender, args) =>
 String resourceName = "AssemblyLoadingAndReflection." +
 new AssemblyName(args.Name).Name + ".dll";
 using (var stream = Assembly.GetExecutingAssembly().GetManifestResourceStream(resourceName))
 Byte[] assemblyData = new Byte[stream.Length];
 stream.Read(assemblyData, 0, assemblyData.Length);
 return Assembly.Load(assemblyData);

Curtsy: This function has written by Jeffrey Richter, here is his article for it.

If it’s DDL and or class libraries, ILMerge will useful.

Advantages: it’s free and lite installation. Easy to use.

Disadvantage: After merging DDLs with ILMerge, DDL will lose its identity, that’s why we can not use for CRM plugin libraries. While writing commands we needs to bit careful else spelling mistake might frustrate you. 😉

You need to install it after download from here. Then by following commands you can merge multiple DDLs together.

Steps: Once its installed, open command window with admin rights and execute it, follow the commands

Step 1: Download ILMerge utility and install it in your machine

Step 2: Compile and Publish your Project to a folder (eg: C:\Publish\)

Step 3: Use the ilmerge command to merge the exe and dll files and output single exe file

ILMerge Command

Syntax (Simple*): ilmerge <input assembly 1> <input assembly 2> /out:<output file> /target:<dll|exe|winexe>

*For complete set of options and syntax refer ILMerge Documentation


C:\Program Files\Microsoft\ILMerge>ilmerge C:\Publish\MyProgram.exe C:\Publish\MyLibrary.dll /out:C:\Publish\MyWinApp.exe /target:winexe /ndebug

ilmerge – Command

MyProgram.exe – Output from the published folder

MyLibrary.dll – Any library used in the program

/target:winexe – We need to output a single exe file for Windows Platform

/output – Output folder and filename

/ndebug – To disable debug (.pdb file)

Curtsy: Arun Ramchandran’s blog , for more info explore this link and this link.

Above both options won’t be useful for MSD CRM or MSD 365. 😔

So, to make those libraries useful for these environments we have to create a folder in your plugin project, so it will be part of plugin project. And we don’t need to merge it any more. 😉

Thus, we two options available for it,

If those libraries are open source then we will get everything available online(thanks to generous great developers), just get only those classes which useful for you and ignore rest of classes from that DDL.

But if it’s not open source then we need bit more efforts. As we need to use ILSpy or some similar add-on to decompile that code and then use in our plugin or workflow library.

That’s it for now.



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