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How do I compile to a single executable file?

Posted on 2008-02-10
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I want to create a simple input application which only include 1 form (just like calculator). Is it possible for VB.NET to compile to a single executable file? So I don't have to create the setup application (or publish it), therefore I can distribute the file only by copying it (as long as it has DotNet framework 2.0 installed). If possible, how?
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Question by:bujang6
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Thejaka earned 400 total points
ID: 20863788
This is done by default. However, if you reference DLLs or components that are not included with Windows or DOTNET 2.0 Runtime, then you have to opt for  Setup, or distribute those components with your application as well.

For instance, if you use custom controls in your app, then most likely it will be contained in a separate DLL which you'll have to distribute with your exe. Some of these components will have to be registered (For instance, using regsvr32.exe) on the client machine to function properly.

If you don't use any such custom/additional components in your app, you can simply distribute your exe.
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by:Thejaka
ID: 20863801
Even when you need additional DLLs for your app, it is sometimes possible to embed these DLLs within your application exe, and design your application to unpack and use these components when executed. However, this is an advanced scenario, and usually too much trouble to implement, where simpler alternatives exist.
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by:bujang6
ID: 20863925
I didn't use custom/additional components.

When I look inside the Debug directory, along with my compiled .exe file there are also other files (*.pdb, *.application,  *.xml, etc.). According to your comment, then these other files are unnecessary and I can just distribute the single .exe file?
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by:Thejaka
ID: 20864194
You can ignore most files, but if your app uses predefined application settings, you may need the settings file.
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by:Thejaka
ID: 20864219
As an aside, just for future reference, note that to use specific versions of side-by-side assemblies etc. (Not needed unless you know what you're doing, and specifically need this) you may need a manifest file for the application.

Alternately, a manifest can be embedded in the resource section of the exe itself.
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