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Differentiate private and shared assembly?

Posted By :Narayanan     Posted Date :February 28, 2013    Points :40   Category :VB.Net 
Private assembly must be used only inside an application and it is not identified using strong name. Multiple applications make use of shared assembly and must have a strong name.

You can also find related Interview Question to Differentiate private and shared assembly?  below: 

What is side-by-side execution? Can two application one using private assembly and other using Shared assembly be stated as a side-by-side executables?

Side-by-side execution is the ability to run multiple versions of an application or component on the same computer. You can have multiple versions of the common language runtime, and multiple versions of applications and components that use a version of the runtime, on the same computer at the same time. Since versioning is only applied to shared assemblies, and not to private assemblies, two application one using private assembly and one using shared assembly cannot be stated as side-by-side

What is private and shared assembly?


The assembly which is used only by a single application is called as private assembly. Thus the assembly is private to your application.Suppose that you are creating a general purpose DLL which provides functionality which will be used by variety of applications. Now, instead of each client application having its own copy of DLL you can place the DLL in 'global assembly cache'. Such assemblies are called as shared assemblies.

What is the difference between a private assembly and a
shared assembly?

Location and visibility:

A private assembly is normally used by a single application, and is stored in the application's directory, or a subdirectory beneath. A shared assembly is normally stored in the global assembly cache, which is a repository of assemblies maintained by the .NET runtime. Shared assemblies are usually libraries of code which many applications will find useful, e.g. the .NET framework classes.

· Versioning:

The runtime enforces versioning constraints only on shared assemblies, not on private assemblies. (More...)

What’s the difference between private and shared assembly?

Private assembly is used inside an application only and does not have to be identified by a strong name. Shared assembly can be used by multiple applications and has to have a strong name. (More...)

What are private assemblies and shared assemblies?

A private assembly is used only by a single application, and is stored in that application's install directory (or a subdirectory therein). A shared assembly is one that can be referenced by more than one application. In order to share an assembly, the assembly must be explicitly built for this purpose by giving it a cryptographically strong name (referred to as a shared name). By contrast, a private assembly name need only be unique within the application that uses it.
By making a distinction between private and shared assemblies, we introduce the notion of sharing as an explicit decision. Simply by deploying private assemblies to an application directory, you can guarantee that that application will run only with the bits it was built and deployed with. References to private assemblies will only be resolved locally to the private application directory.
There are several reasons you may elect to build and use shared assemblies, such as the ability to express version policy. The fact that shared assemblies have a cryptographically strong name means that only the author of the assembly has the key to produce a new version of that assembly. Thus, if you make a policy statement that says you want to accept a new version of an assembly, you can have some confidence that version updates will be controlled and verified by the author. Otherwise, you don't have to accept them.
For locally installed applications, a shared assembly is typically explicitly installed into the global assembly cache (a local cache of assemblies maintained by the .NET Framework). Key to the version management features of the .NET Framework is that downloaded code does not affect the execution of locally installed applications. Downloaded code is put in a special download cache and is not globally available on the machine even if some of the downloaded components are built as shared assemblies.
The classes that ship with the .NET Framework are all built as shared assemblies. (More...)

If I want to build a shared assembly, does that require the overhead of signing and managing key pairs?

Building a shared assembly does involve working with cryptographic keys. Only the public key is strictly needed when the assembly is being built. Compilers targeting the .NET Framework provide command line options (or use custom attributes) for supplying the public key when building the assembly. It is common to keep a copy of a common public key in a source database and point build scripts to this key. Before the assembly is shipped, the assembly must be fully signed with the corresponding private key. This is done using an SDK tool called SN.exe (Strong Name).
Strong name signing does not involve certificates like Authenticode does. There are no third party organizations involved, no fees to pay, and no certificate chains. In addition, the overhead for verifying a strong name is much less than it is for Authenticode. However, strong names do not make any statements about trusting a particular publisher. Strong names allow you to ensure that the contents of a given assembly haven't been tampered with, and that the assembly loaded on your behalf at run time comes from the same publisher as the one you developed against. But it makes no statement about whether you can trust the identity of that publisher. (More...)

Does CLR impose a strict versioning policy for the private assembly?

Answer is No. Private assembly are used by the application in which they are deployed. To use private assembly in any application, one needs to deploy them in the application's directory. Versioning needs to done for shared assembly which are stored in GAC and used by multiple applications. (More...)

What are private and shared assemblies?

A private assembly resides within the directory of the application, it can be used only by the application.
A shared assebly is stored in the global assebly cache (GAC), which is the repository of asseblies maintained at runtime, a shared assembly can be referenced by more than one application. (More...)

Where are shared assemblies stored in .NET?

Shared Assemblies are stored in Global Assembly Cache also known as GAC. (More...)

What is Assembly?

Assemblies are the building blocks of .NET Framework applications; they form the fundamental unit of deployment, version control, reuse, activation scoping, and security permissions. An assembly is a collection of types and resources that are built to work together and form a logical unit of functionality. An assembly provides the common language runtime with the information it needs to be aware of type implementations. To the runtime, a type does not exist outside the context of an assembly.
Assemblies are a fundamental part of programming with the .NET Framework. An assembly performs the following functions:
It contains code that the common language runtime executes. Microsoft intermediate language (MSIL) code in a portable executable (PE) file will not be executed if it does not have an associated assembly manifest. Note that each assembly can have only one entry point (that is, DllMain, WinMain, or Main).
It forms a security boundary. An assembly is the unit at which permissions are requested and granted.
It forms a type boundary. Every type's identity includes the name of the assembly in which it resides. A type called MyType loaded in the scope of one assembly is not the same as a type called MyType loaded in the scope of another assembly.
It forms a reference scope boundary. The assembly's manifest contains assembly metadata that is used for resolving types and satisfying resource requests. It specifies the types and resources that are exposed outside the assembly. The manifest also enumerates other assemblies on which it depends.
It forms a version boundary. The assembly is the smallest versionable unit in the common language runtime; all types and resources in the same assembly are versioned as a unit. The assembly's manifest describes the version dependencies you specify for any dependent assemblies.
It forms a deployment unit. When an application starts, only the assemblies that the application initially calls must be present. Other assemblies, such as localization resources or assemblies containing utility classes, can be retrieved on demand. This allows applications to be kept simple and thin when first downloaded.
It is the unit at which side-by-side execution is supported.
Assemblies can be static or dynamic. Static assemblies can include .NET Framework types (interfaces and classes), as well as resources for the assembly (bitmaps, JPEG files, resource files, and so on). Static assemblies are stored on disk in PE files. You can also use the .NET Framework to create dynamic assemblies, which are run directly from memory and are not saved to disk before execution. You can save dynamic assemblies to disk after they have executed.
There are several ways to create assemblies. You can use development tools, such as Visual Studio .NET, that you have used in the past to create .dll or .exe files. You can use tools provided in the .NET Framework SDK to create assemblies with modules created in other development environments. You can also use common language runtime APIs, such as Reflection.Emit, to create dynamic assemblies. (More...)

What are the contents of assembly?

In general, a static assembly can consist of four elements:

The assembly manifest, which contains assembly metadata.
Type metadata.

Microsoft intermediate language (MSIL) code that implements the types.
A set of resources. (More...)

What is Assembly manifest? what all details the assembly manifest will contain?

Every assembly, whether static or dynamic, contains a collection of data that describes how the elements in the assembly relate to each other. The assembly manifest contains this assembly metadata. An assembly manifest contains all the metadata needed to specify the assembly's version requirements and security identity, and all metadata needed to define the scope of the assembly and resolve references to resources and classes. The assembly manifest can be stored in either a PE file (an .exe or .dll) with Microsoft intermediate language (MSIL) code or in a standalone PE file that contains only assembly manifest information.

It contains Assembly name, Version number, Culture, Strong name information, List of all files in the assembly, Type reference information, Information on referenced assemblies. (More...)

Difference between assembly manifest & metadata?

assembly manifest - An integral part of every assembly that renders the assembly self-describing. The assembly manifest contains the assembly's metadata. The manifest establishes the assembly identity, specifies the files that make up the assembly implementation, specifies the types and resources that make up the assembly, itemizes the compile-time dependencies on other assemblies, and specifies the set of permissions required for the assembly to run properly. This information is used at run time to resolve references, enforce version binding policy, and validate the integrity of loaded assemblies. The self-describing nature of assemblies also helps makes zero-impact install and XCOPY deployment feasible.

metadata - Information that describes every element managed by the common language runtime: an assembly, loadable file, type, method, and so on. This can include information required for debugging and garbage collection, as well as security attributes, marshaling data, extended class and member definitions, version binding, and other information required by the runtime. (More...)

What is Private Constructor? and it's use? Can you create instance of a class which has Private Constructor?

When a class declares only private instance constructors, it is not possible for classes outside the program to derive from the class or to directly create instances of it. (Except Nested classes)
Make a constructor private if:

1) You want it to be available only to the class itself. For example, you might have a special constructor used only in the implementation of your class' Clone method.

2) You do not want instances of your component to be created. For example, you may have a class containing nothing but Shared utility functions, and no instance data. Creating instances of the class would waste memory. (More...)

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