|Important||This document may not represent best practices for current development, links to downloads and other resources may no longer be valid. Current recommended version can be found here.|
How to: Reference a Strong-Named Assembly
The process for referencing types or resources in a strong-named assembly is usually transparent. You can make the reference either at compile time (early binding) or at run time.
A compile-time reference occurs when you indicate to the compiler that your assembly explicitly references another assembly. When you use compile-time referencing, the compiler automatically gets the public key of the targeted strong-named assembly and places it in the assembly reference of the assembly being compiled.
A strong-named assembly can only use types from other strong-named assemblies. Otherwise the security of the strong-named assembly would be compromised.
To make a compile-time reference to a strong-named assembly
At the command prompt, type the following command:
<compiler command> /reference:<assembly name>
In this command, compiler command is the compiler command for the language you are using, and assembly name is the name of the strong-named assembly being referenced. You can also use other compiler options, such as the /t:library option for creating a library assembly.
The following example creates an assembly called myAssembly.dll that references a strong-named assembly called myLibAssembly.dll from a code module called myAssembly.cs.
csc /t:library myAssembly.cs /reference:myLibAssembly.dll
To make a run-time reference to a strong-named assembly
When you make a run-time reference to a strong-named assembly, for example by using the Assembly.Load or Assembly.GetType methods, you must use the display name of the referenced strong-named assembly. The syntax of a display name is as follows:
<assembly name>, <version number>, <culture>, <public key token>
myDll, Version=220.127.116.11, Culture=en, PublicKeyToken=03689116d3a4ae33
In this example, the PublicKeyToken is the hexadecimal form of the public key token. If there is no culture value, use Culture=neutral.
The following code example shows how to use this information with the Assembly.Load method.
You can print the hexadecimal format of the public key and public key token for a specific assembly using the following Strong Name tool (Sn.exe) command:
sn -Tp <assembly>
If you have a public key file, you can use the following command instead (note the difference in case on the command-line option):
sn -tp <assembly>