Using all these external libraries has landed me with a lot of DLLs that I need to include in the folder where my WPF application runs. This isn’t really a viable solution in my case, as I want the tool to be portable. It’s also not an alternative to create some sort of installer; it’s not certain me or any other user have proper privileges to install software were the tool might be used.
After searching around the web for a little while I found the perfect solution, written up by Daniel Chambers. Using his technique worked wonders. This is a technique credited to Jeffrey Richter. It basically adds the referenced assemblies (DLLs) to the exe created by Visual Studio, and adds a handler to help the application find them.
This stopped working, however. For some bizarre reason, it stopped including one of the assemblies and I couldn’t find a way to fix it. After a lot of debugging ang googling I suddenly stumbled upon a simpler solution: Fody Costura.
Costura is a plugin for Fody and both can easily be downloaded from NuGet. Costura fixes this automatically for you. No setup needed!
Nothing lasts forever, and I did of course come across more troubles only a little farther down the road: Suddenly I was getting launch crashes when testing the exe after copying it to a different machine. I was lucky enough to find the solution after only some minor google-fu:
It turns out that Fody Costura only manages to include assemblies in the top folder of the build output. This is usually the
bin/release folders of your project folder. SQLitePCL.raw apparently puts the architecture specific assemblies (x86/x64) in seperate sub folders of the output folder. This makes them invisible to Costura.
The solution, however, is simple:
Add the two assemblies to your project inside folders named
…set their build action to
…then tell Costura to add the assemblies in the
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?> <Weavers> <Costura> <Unmanaged32Assemblies> e_sqlite3 </Unmanaged32Assemblies> <Unmanaged64Assemblies> e_sqlite3 </Unmanaged64Assemblies> </Costura> </Weavers>
Then there were much rejoice.
In summary: I’d recommend Fody Costura for bundling assemblies in your exe file. It’s the simplest solution and it’s been thoroughly tested.