Side-by-side Assembly Sharing

The following figure illustrates how two applications might share an assembly using the traditional method of assembly sharing. A problem with traditional assembly sharing occurs when an application installs a version of an assembly—commonly a DLL—that is not backward compatible. The application just installed works, but applications that depended on the previous DLL version may no longer work.

Representation of two applications sharing an assembly

The isolated application and side-by-side assembly solution enables different versions of the same Win32 assembly to run at the same time on the same system without conflict. By specifying which side-by-side assembly version the application should use, developers can guarantee that the configuration they test will always be duplicated on the user's computer. Side-by-side sharing is illustrated in the following figure.

Implementation of side-by-side assembly sharing

For more information, see About Isolated Applications and Side-by-side Assemblies.