WPF: How to Combine Multiple Assemblies into a Single exe

At work, I am currently working on a small WPF app that we want to keep as a simple standalone exe. However, it has dependencies on several third-party assemblies: SharpZipLib, Unity, ServiceLocator, etc.

Microsoft has handy tool called ILMerge that merges multiple .NET assemblies into a single dll or exe. Unfortunately, it doesn’t support WPF applications, because of the way XAML is compiled.

Instead, you can use another approach — include all your referenced third-party assemblies as embedded resources of the exe:


public partial class App : Application
    private void OnStartup(object sender, StartupEventArgs e)
        AppDomain.CurrentDomain.AssemblyResolve +=
            new ResolveEventHandler(ResolveAssembly);
        // proceed starting app...
    static Assembly ResolveAssembly(object sender, ResolveEventArgs args)
        Assembly parentAssembly = Assembly.GetExecutingAssembly();
        var name = args.Name.Substring(0, args.Name.IndexOf(',')) + ".dll";
        var resourceName = parentAssembly.GetManifestResourceNames()
            .First(s => s.EndsWith(name));
        using (Stream stream = parentAssembly.GetManifestResourceStream(resourceName))
            byte[] block = new byte[stream.Length];
            stream.Read(block, 0, block.Length);
            return Assembly.Load(block);

Whenever .NET can’t find a referenced assembly, it will call our code and we can provide an Assembly instance ourselves. Note this code expects a sane DLL-naming convention 🙂

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