Dot Net Assembly

What is a dot net assembly ?

The .NET assembly is the standard for components developed with the Microsoft.NET. Dot NET assemblies may or may not be executable, i.e., they might exist as the executable (.exe) file or dynamic link library (DLL) file. All the .NET assemblies contain the definition of types, versioning information for the type, meta-data, and manifest. The designers of .NET have worked a lot on the component (assembly) resolution.

An assembly can be a single file or it may consist of the multiple files. In case of multi-file, there is one master module containing the manifest while other assemblies exist as non-manifest modules. A module in .NET is a sub part of a multi-file .NET assembly. Assembly is one of the most interesting and extremely useful areas of .NET architecture along with reflections and attributes. 

.NET supports three kind of assemblies:

  1. private
  2. shared
  3. sattelite

Private Assembly

 Private assembly requires us to copy separately in all application folders where we want to use that assembly’s functionalities; without copying we cannot access the private assembly features and power. Private assembly means every time we have one, we exclusively copy into the BIN folder of each application folder.

 Public Assembly

 Public assembly is not required to copy separately into all application folders. Public assembly is also called Shared Assembly. Only one copy is required in system level, there is no need to copy assembly into application folder.

Public assembly should install in GAC.

GAC (Global Assembly Cache)) When the assembly is required for more than one project or application, we need to make the assembly with a strong name and keep it in GAC or in Assembly folder by installing the assembly with the GACUtil command.

Shared assemblies (also called strong named assemblies) are copied to a single location (usually the Global assembly cache). For all calling assemblies within the same application, the same copy of the shared assembly is used from its original location. Hence, shared assemblies are not copied in the private folders of each calling assembly. Each shared assembly has a four part name including its face name, version, public key token and culture information. The public key token and version information makes it almost impossible for two different assemblies with the same name or for two similar assemblies with different version to mix with each other.

Satellite Assembly

 Satellite assemblies are used for deploying language and culture-specific resources for an application.

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