Netmodules: Sort of like a lib

I first ran into netmodules before VS 2002 was shipped. The netmodule gave me precisely what I asked for, without actually solving my problem.  I wanted to use multiple languages (C#, and C++ /clr) in a single assembly.  It turns out a single assembly can be multi-module.  Multi-module means a single .Net assembly is spread across multiple win32 dlls.  What I really wanted was a single module assembly written in multiple languages. Netmodules couldn’t solve my problem back then, but with the VS 2005 C++ linker they can now.


Check out JuFeng’s articles for some more in depth coverage, and an explanation why you might want a multi-module assembly:


MultiModule Assemblies

Netmodule vs. Assembly


Since JuFeng’s examples didn’t show how to create debug info I thought I’d make an updated example here.

Here’s a quick example with a multi-module assembly:



From the Visual Studio  2005 Command Prompt:


C:\blog\linkexample>vbc /target:module /debug+ b.vb

C:\blog\linkexample>csc /debug+ /addmodule:b.netmodule a.cs

C:\blog\linkexample>devenv /debugexe a.exe

Check out the modules window:


And the callstack window:


To get a single file assembly I’ll need to recompile the cs file into a netmodule then use the c++ linker.


C:\blog\linkexample>csc /addmodule:b.netmodule /target:module /debug+ a.cs

C:\blog\linkexample>link /entry:fooCS.Main /out:theone.exe /subsystem:console /debug a.netmodule b.netmodule

C:\blog\linkexample>devenv /debugexe theone.exe


Now check out the modules window:


And the callstack window:



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