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

Posted on 2004-11-22
Last Modified: 2013-12-14

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

Question by:jpsmith25
    LVL 3

    Expert Comment

    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.


    There are programs that allow you to reverse MSIL into say but I think they have issues - I'll try and find one and get back to you.
    LVL 3

    Expert Comment

    LVL 3

    Expert Comment

    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.

    Author Comment

    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.
    LVL 3

    Accepted Solution

    Sure... that's is much easier if you have the source.

    Assuming it was written in, 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

    Write Comment

    Please enter a first name

    Please enter a last name

    We will never share this with anyone.

    Featured Post

    How your wiki can always stay up-to-date

    Quip doubles as a “living” wiki and a project management tool that evolves with your organization. As you finish projects in Quip, the work remains, easily accessible to all team members, new and old.
    - Increase transparency
    - Onboard new hires faster
    - Access from mobile/offline

    Suggested Solutions

    Title # Comments Views Activity
    has12 challenge 13 52
    ImportError: No module named 'pypyodbc' - python 3.5.2 3 241
    noX challenge 17 51
    groovy example issue 10 31
    Jaspersoft Studio is a plugin for Eclipse that lets you create reports from a datasource.  In this article, we'll go over creating a report from a default template and setting up a datasource that connects to your database.
    A short article about problems I had with the new location API and permissions in Marshmallow
    Viewers will learn how to properly install Eclipse with the necessary JDK, and will take a look at an introductory Java program. Download Eclipse installation zip file: Extract files from zip file: Download and install JDK 8: Open Eclipse and …
    In this fifth video of the Xpdf series, we discuss and demonstrate the PDFdetach utility, which is able to list and, more importantly, extract attachments that are embedded in PDF files. It does this via a command line interface, making it suitable …

    779 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

    Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

    Join & Ask a Question

    Need Help in Real-Time?

    Connect with top rated Experts

    16 Experts available now in Live!

    Get 1:1 Help Now