Tutorial :How to Load an Assembly to AppDomain with all references recursively?


I want to load to a new AppDomain some assembly which has a complex references tree (MyDll.dll -> Microsoft.Office.Interop.Excel.dll -> Microsoft.Vbe.Interop.dll -> Office.dll -> stdole.dll)

As far as I understood, when an assembly is being loaded to AppDomain, its references would not be loaded automatically, and I have to load them manually. So when I do:

string dir = @"SomePath"; // different from AppDomain.CurrentDomain.BaseDirectory  string path = System.IO.Path.Combine(dir, "MyDll.dll");    AppDomainSetup setup = AppDomain.CurrentDomain.SetupInformation;  setup.ApplicationBase = dir;  AppDomain domain = AppDomain.CreateDomain("SomeAppDomain", null, setup);    domain.Load(AssemblyName.GetAssemblyName(path));  

and got FileNotFoundException:

Could not load file or assembly 'MyDll, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=null' or one of its dependencies. The system cannot find the file specified.

I think the key part is one of its dependencies.

Ok, I do next before domain.Load(AssemblyName.GetAssemblyName(path));

foreach (AssemblyName refAsmName in Assembly.ReflectionOnlyLoadFrom(path).GetReferencedAssemblies())  {      domain.Load(refAsmName);  }  

But got FileNotFoundException again, on another (referenced) assembly.

How to load all references recursively?

Do I have to create references tree before loading root assembly? How to get an assembly's references without loading it?


You need to invoke CreateInstanceAndUnwrap before your proxy object will execute in the foreign application domain.

 class Program  {      static void Main(string[] args)      {          AppDomainSetup domaininfo = new AppDomainSetup();          domaininfo.ApplicationBase = System.Environment.CurrentDirectory;          Evidence adevidence = AppDomain.CurrentDomain.Evidence;          AppDomain domain = AppDomain.CreateDomain("MyDomain", adevidence, domaininfo);            Type type = typeof(Proxy);          var value = (Proxy)domain.CreateInstanceAndUnwrap(              type.Assembly.FullName,              type.FullName);            var assembly = value.GetAssembly(args[0]);          // AppDomain.Unload(domain);      }  }    public class Proxy : MarshalByRefObject  {      public Assembly GetAssembly(string assemblyPath)      {          try          {              return Assembly.LoadFile(assemblyPath);          }          catch (Exception)          {              return null;              // throw new InvalidOperationException(ex);          }      }  }  

Also, note that if you use LoadFrom you'll likely get a FileNotFound exception because the Assembly resolver will attempt to find the assembly you're loading in the GAC or the current application's bin folder. Use LoadFile to load an arbitrary assembly file instead--but note that if you do this you'll need to load any dependencies yourself.



C# version:

Create a moderator class and inherit it from MarshalByRefObject:

class ProxyDomain : MarshalByRefObject  {      public Assembly GetAssembly(string assemblyPath)      {          try          {              return Assembly.LoadFrom(assemblyPath);          }          catch (Exception ex)          {              throw new InvalidOperationException(ex.Message);          }      }  }  

call from client site

ProxyDomain pd = new ProxyDomain();  Assembly assembly = pd.GetAssembly(assemblyFilePath);  


On your new AppDomain, try setting an AssemblyResolve event handler. That event gets called when a dependency is missing.


Once you pass the assembly instance back to the caller domain, the caller domain will try to load it! This is why you get the exception. This happens in your last line of code:


Thus, whatever you want to do with the assembly, should be done in a proxy class - a class which inherit MarshalByRefObject.

Take in count that the caller domain and the new created domain should both have access to the proxy class assembly. If your issue is not too complicated, consider leaving the ApplicationBase folder unchanged, so it will be same as the caller domain folder (the new domain will only load Assemblies it needs).

In simple code:

public void DoStuffInOtherDomain()  {      const string assemblyPath = @"[AsmPath]";      var newDomain = AppDomain.CreateDomain("newDomain");      var asmLoaderProxy = (ProxyDomain)newDomain.CreateInstanceAndUnwrap(Assembly.GetExecutingAssembly().FullName, typeof(ProxyDomain).FullName);        asmLoaderProxy.GetAssembly(assemblyPath);  }    class ProxyDomain : MarshalByRefObject  {      public void GetAssembly(string AssemblyPath)      {          try          {              Assembly.LoadFrom(AssemblyPath);              //If you want to do anything further to that assembly, you need to do it here.          }          catch (Exception ex)          {              throw new InvalidOperationException(ex.Message, ex);          }      }  }  

If you do need to load the assemblies from a folder which is different than you current app domain folder, create the new app domain with specific dlls search path folder.

For example, the app domain creation line from the above code should be replaced with:

var dllsSearchPath = @"[dlls search path for new app domain]";  AppDomain newDomain = AppDomain.CreateDomain("newDomain", new Evidence(), dllsSearchPath, "", true);  

This way, all the dlls will automaically be resolved from dllsSearchPath.


You need to handle the AppDomain.AssemblyResolve or AppDomain.ReflectionOnlyAssemblyResolve events (depending on which load you're doing) in case the referenced assembly is not in the GAC or on the CLR's probing path.




It took me a while to understand @user1996230's answer so I decided to provide a more explicit example. In the below example I make a proxy for an object loaded in another AppDomain and call a method on that object from another domain.

class ProxyObject : MarshalByRefObject  {      private Type _type;      private Object _object;        public void InstantiateObject(string AssemblyPath, string typeName, object[] args)      {          assembly = Assembly.LoadFrom(AppDomain.CurrentDomain.BaseDirectory + AssemblyPath); //LoadFrom loads dependent DLLs (assuming they are in the app domain's base directory          _type = assembly.GetType(typeName);          _object = Activator.CreateInstance(_type, args); ;      }        public void InvokeMethod(string methodName, object[] args)      {          var methodinfo = _type.GetMethod(methodName);          methodinfo.Invoke(_object, args);      }  }    static void Main(string[] args)  {      AppDomainSetup setup = new AppDomainSetup();      setup.ApplicationBase = @"SomePathWithDLLs";      AppDomain domain = AppDomain.CreateDomain("MyDomain", null, setup);      ProxyObject proxyObject = (ProxyObject)domain.CreateInstanceFromAndUnwrap(typeof(ProxyObject).Assembly.Location,"ProxyObject");      proxyObject.InstantiateObject("SomeDLL","SomeType", new object[] { "someArgs});      proxyObject.InvokeMethod("foo",new object[] { "bar"});  }  


The Key is the AssemblyResolve event raised by the AppDomain.

[STAThread]  static void Main(string[] args)  {      fileDialog.ShowDialog();      string fileName = fileDialog.FileName;      if (string.IsNullOrEmpty(fileName) == false)      {          AppDomain.CurrentDomain.AssemblyResolve += CurrentDomain_AssemblyResolve;          if (Directory.Exists(@"c:\Provisioning\") == false)              Directory.CreateDirectory(@"c:\Provisioning\");            assemblyDirectory = Path.GetDirectoryName(fileName);          Assembly loadedAssembly = Assembly.LoadFile(fileName);            List<Type> assemblyTypes = loadedAssembly.GetTypes().ToList<Type>();            foreach (var type in assemblyTypes)          {              if (type.IsInterface == false)              {                  StreamWriter jsonFile = File.CreateText(string.Format(@"c:\Provisioning\{0}.json", type.Name));                  JavaScriptSerializer serializer = new JavaScriptSerializer();                  jsonFile.WriteLine(serializer.Serialize(Activator.CreateInstance(type)));                  jsonFile.Close();              }          }      }  }    static Assembly CurrentDomain_AssemblyResolve(object sender, ResolveEventArgs args)  {      string[] tokens = args.Name.Split(",".ToCharArray());      System.Diagnostics.Debug.WriteLine("Resolving : " + args.Name);      return Assembly.LoadFile(Path.Combine(new string[]{assemblyDirectory,tokens[0]+ ".dll"}));  }  


I have had to do this several times and have researched many different solutions.

The solution I find in most elegant and easy to accomplish can be implemented as such.

1. Create a project that you can create a simple interface

the interface will contain signatures of any members you wish to call.

public interface IExampleProxy  {      string HelloWorld( string name );  }  

Its important to keep this project clean and lite. It is a project that both AppDomain's can reference and will allow us to not reference the Assembly we wish to load in seprate domain from our client assembly.

2. Now create project that has the code you want to load in seperate AppDomain.

This project as with the client proj will reference the proxy proj and you will implement the interface.

public interface Example : MarshalByRefObject, IExampleProxy  {      public string HelloWorld( string name )      {          return $"Hello '{ name }'";      }  }  

3. Next, in the client project, load code in another AppDomain.

So, now we create a new AppDomain. Can specify the base location for assembly references. Probing will check for dependent assemblies in GAC and in current directory and the AppDomain base loc.

// set up domain and create  AppDomainSetup domaininfo = new AppDomainSetup  {      ApplicationBase = System.Environment.CurrentDirectory  };    Evidence adevidence = AppDomain.CurrentDomain.Evidence;    AppDomain exampleDomain = AppDomain.CreateDomain("Example", adevidence, domaininfo);    // assembly ant data names  var assemblyName = "<AssemblyName>, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=null|<keyIfSigned>";  var exampleTypeName = "Example";    // Optional - get a reflection only assembly type reference  var @type = Assembly.ReflectionOnlyLoad( assemblyName ).GetType( exampleTypeName );     // create a instance of the `Example` and assign to proxy type variable  IExampleProxy proxy= ( IExampleProxy )exampleDomain.CreateInstanceAndUnwrap( assemblyName, exampleTypeName );    // Optional - if you got a type ref  IExampleProxy proxy= ( IExampleProxy )exampleDomain.CreateInstanceAndUnwrap( @type.Assembly.Name, @type.Name );        // call any members you wish  var stringFromOtherAd = proxy.HelloWorld( "Tommy" );    // unload the `AppDomain`  AppDomain.Unload( exampleDomain );  

if you need to, there are a ton of different ways to load an assembly. You can use a different way with this solution. If you have the assembly qualified name then I like to use the CreateInstanceAndUnwrap since it loads the assembly bytes and then instantiates your type for you and returns an object that you can simple cast to your proxy type or if you not that into strongly-typed code you could use the dynamic language runtime and assign the returned object to a dynamic typed variable then just call members on that directly.

There you have it.

This allows to load an assembly that your client proj doesnt have reference to in a seperate AppDomain and call members on it from client.

To test, I like to use the Modules window in Visual Studio. It will show you your client assembly domain and what all modules are loaded in that domain as well your new app domain and what assemblies or modules are loaded in that domain.

The key is to either make sure you code either derives MarshalByRefObject or is serializable.

`MarshalByRefObject will allow you to configure the lifetime of the domain its in. Example, say you want the domain to destroy if the proxy hasnt been called in 20 minutes.

I hope this helps.

Note:If u also have question or solution just comment us below or mail us on toontricks1994@gmail.com
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