Microsoft offers tool to combine .Net assemblies

Microsoft is offering an upgraded version of its ILMerge utility, which merges multiple .Net assemblies into a single assembly.

Functioning with both executables and DLLs, ILMerge provides a capability for .Net assemblies that is analogous to combining multiple Word documents into a single document, according to a Microsoft representative.

Someone, for example, may want to deploy a single file to others but half the development team uses Visual Basic and the other uses C#. Neither Visual Studio 2003 nor the upcoming 2005 release of Visual Studio have the inherent capability to combine two assemblies written in different languages.

Packaged as a console application, ILMerge takes a set of input assemblies and merges them into a single target assembly, according to Microsoft. Its functionality is also available programmatically.

ILMerge was a power toy for developers, Directions on Microsoft analyst, Greg DiMichillie, said.

"If you're building a complex .Net application, you will probably have built it as several assemblies, maybe one [for] the user interface and one for the core logic. This tool lets you combine those into one file which can then be copied, installed, [and] deployed," DiMichillie said.

ILMerge functions with Windows 2000, Windows 2003, and Windows XP. It currently will not work with Mono, which is a Unix-based, open source version of the .Net development platform.

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