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Using Visual Studio .Net 2003 to see code other than binary


I have the source code for a program that I am curious to look at.  It is written in .Net and all the files are of the type .dll or .exe   I also have a trial version of Visual Studio .Net.  Could someone post the basics for looking at the source code of the program?  Thanks

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Well, your lucky it is in .net otherwise you would have no hope of getting to the source (and you still may have problems)

Basically, it is compiled code and converted to binary which makes it so you can't delve into the code and re-write it yourself.. Otherwise it would be all to simple to reverse engineer a program and sell it as your own.

However, that said, .net uses a standardised intermediate language (MSIL) to allow it to be written in any (participating) object oriented language. As it is standardised you can look at the code in Ildasm.exe (it should have installed with VS) - this will display the MSIL code.

(see: http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/library/en-us/cptutorials/html/il_dasm_tutorial.asp)

There are programs that allow you to reverse MSIL into say VB.net but I think they have issues - I'll try and find one and get back to you.
Also, another comment, you say
        >I have the source code for a program that I am curious to look at.

- no you don't. You only have the compiled output, no source. The source would be in the format myfile.vb or myfile.cs and have projects, solutions, classes and many other files.
jpsmith25Author Commented:
Ok thanks.  I can get the source code since I hired someone to make the program for me and source code was a requirement of the project.  If you could tell me how to use Visual Studio .Net to look at the source code once I get it I will award you the full amount of points.
Sure... that's is much easier if you have the source.

Assuming it was written in vb.net, You should get a folder with files such as class1.vb, class2.vb, sol1.sln - anyway, what you want to do is double click a file with the extention .sln , which is the .net application solution, which means it contains references to all the projects within the application (and the projects have references to all the files in the project)

By opening the solution you should be shown a list of files in your solution explorer (usually on the right of the window) which are all the source files. The will be seperated into projects (which are bold)

Write back when you have the source code, or at least maybe download some samples from Microsoft's site to get a feel to browsing source code in .net


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