Originally written on April, 2006
ASP.Net 2.0 has introduced a few new different concepts in regards of dll generation and deployment.
In ASP.Net 1.x, all your class files would get compiled into 1 dll and that was it. In the new world there are actually 3 options:
- You release everything including class files and they get compiled on the fly. This means nothing of the web application gets copied to the bin folder.
- You release only binaries. Everything, including ASPX pages are pre-compiled (If you open the ASPX file after the compilation you can’t see your client side code). This means everything is in the bin folder, pretty much one precompiled file per file in your application.
- A mix of the 2 above (and the most similar to ASP.Net 1.x). Every class gets compiled, but ASPX pages remain normal. Even in this scenario, multiple dlls get generated per project.
One of the main challenges here is the version management; you can not implicitly assign versions (no AssemblyInfo.cs in web apps), plus there are multiple assemblies generated.
However, there is a command that will merge all your dlls (per application) into one, applying versions, signatures, etc. The utility command is called aspnet_merge.exe. It is important to know what it does, but notice that we won’t have to use it directly as Microsoft has now released it as an Add-On for Visual studio.
The Add-On is really easy to use, and I would recommend we all get familiar with it. You can get it here: http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/asp.net/Aa336619.aspx