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Programming Visual Basic 2008 by Tim Patrick

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Chapter 5. .NET Assemblies

The mere mention of the word assembly takes me back to my days as a high school freshman. The assembly was actually held in the school gym, with 2,000 screaming adolescents filling the bleachers around the basketball court. Since this was a school function, I naturally thought of an experience packed with fresh educational opportunities. School, education—the words just seem to go together. But then came the marching band, and the football players, and the cheerleaders, and the school mascot (a horse). For the next 30 minutes, the principal whipped the students into a controlled frenzy, attempting to prove the institution's place as the number-one school in the city. I still don't know what area we were supposed to be number one in, but it was all very exciting.

.NET assemblies are not that exciting. In fact, they're just files, EXE and DLL files, and without you to activate them, they just sit there taking up disk space. And as they are not doing anything else, let's take a moment to examine what they are and what they contain.

What Is an Assembly?

As I already mentioned in Chapter 1, an assembly is a "unit of deployment," which in most cases is just a file. An assembly is a repository for compiled .NET application code; any code you write will eventually be stored in some EXE file (if it is an application) or DLL file (for code libraries or extensions to an application). Everything that .NET needs to know to load and run your application is stored in the ...

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