Mike Barnett at Microsoft Research has developed a great tool for merging multiple dll’s and/or exe’s in to one single file: ILMerge (download from here). ILMerge has been around for several years but this was the first time I tried it out.
You can either use it from a command line or automate so that it is executed every time you rebuild, as a post-build-event. You can also use it programatically but this I have not tried yet.
To use from the command line simply go to your .NET projects bin release folder and type:
“%PROGRAMFILES%\microsoft\ilmerge\ilmerge.exe” /t:exe /out:newfile.exe file1.exe file2.dll file3.dll
Newfile.exe is the filename of the single merged exe file you want created, and file1-3 are the filenames of the files you want to merge. Make sure file1 is your primary assembly. The t parameter is used to set output type: exe for Console app, winexe for Windows forms, librarys for DLL.
To automate in Visual Studio 2005, go into Project Properties (Right click your project in the Solution Explorer, Select Properties)
Select the Build Events tab and in the Post-build event command line enter:
“%PROGRAMFILES%\microsoft\ilmerge\ilmerge.exe” /t:exe /out:”$(TargetDir)newfile.exe” “$(TargetDir)file1.exe” “$(TargetDir)file2.dll” “$(TargetDir)file3.dll”
I have tried this using Windows Vista, Visual Studio 2005 and C# but I assume it will work equally well on other versions of Windows, VS and VB.NET or other .NET languages.