Bundling all your assemblies into one or alternative to ILMerge

Before today I’ve heard of IlMerge tool. This allows you to bundle all your small .dll files into one. So if you deploy stand-alone applications, you only have to give a single file to your users. Today I decided to give it a go. And I was disappointed -( error messages were endless. IlMerge did not like this or that or some other assembly.

I quickly looked around and found Costura.Fody package that did exactly what I needed, only I did not have to do any work. All you need to do is install nuget package:

Install-Package Costura.Fody

And you are done. No, really. Build your project and check out the output. You’ll see a bunch of dll files as before. This is because input files are not deleted automatically. But if you check your executable – it is much larger now. And you can move it away from the rest of libraries files and it will work.

There are some settings available. Check the details on https://github.com/Fody/Costura.

Package installation will create FodyWeavers.xml file in the root of your solution – put your settings there. I needed to exclude debug symbols from the resulting file. Here is how my FodyWeavers.xml look like:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?>
  <Costura IncludeDebugSymbols='false' />

Also I did not care about “minifying” the libraries into one file when I built the debug, but I needed it for Release build. So in my .csproj file, at the very end I have this:

  <Import Project="Fody.targets" Condition=" '$(Configuration)' == 'Release' " />
  <!-- Below is the clean-up - removing the input dll files-->
  <Target AfterTargets="AfterBuild;NonWinFodyTarget" Name="CleanReferenceCopyLocalPaths" Condition=" '$(Configuration)' == 'Release' ">
    <Delete Files="@(ReferenceCopyLocalPaths->'$(OutDir)%(DestinationSubDirectory)%(Filename)%(Extension)')" />

By default the package only adds one line:

  <Import Project="Fody.targets" />

And usually this is good enough. But I’ve added checking for build type and also my OCD required to produce a clean output folder. All this is explained on the GitHub page, on the very bottom.

Overall, very nice package! It just works.