Dynamic Compilation and Loading of .NET Objects - CodeProject

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Introduction

When I read about dynamic compilation in .NET (which is a great feature) for the first time, I soon got stuck with the samples I found. Mostly, they covered the idea of writing small functions dynamically as we can find on various web pages with tutorials. These samples discuss problems like speed of execution or different ways to access the compiled function. But I wanted more. My idea was: I want to compile and use an whole object (or even some more) with members and methods without taking too much care about reflection (yes, some reflection is necessary, I know).

Using the Code

Basically, our best friends here are Microsoft.CSharp and System.CodeDom.Compiler. But to make this simple magic of having an instance of the dynamically compiled object, we also use a simple interface like this:

using System; 
namespace Iface {
     public interface ImyInterface
     {
         string text {get; set;}
         int number {get; set;}
         int Func (int a, int b);
     } 
}

To make this interface available to the dynamically compiled code, I put this interface into a calls library, called "Iface.dll".

For the basic program, I add a reference to the Iface.dll and add the namespace together with all others necessary for this example:

using System;
using Microsoft.CSharp;
using System.CodeDom.Compiler;
using System.Reflection;
using System.Text;
using Iface;

The code for the dynamically compiled object is as follows:

const string code=@"
    using System;
    namespace TestClass
    {
        public class MyClass : Iface.ImyInterface
        {
            public int i;
            public string text {get; set;}
            public int number {get; set;}
            public int Func (int a, int b){
                i=a+b;
                return a+b;
            }
        }
    }
";

As you can see, it's just an implementation of the interface doing nothing special.

For the compilation at runtime, we need a CSharpCodeProvider and CompilerParameters:

CSharpCodeProvider provider = new CSharpCodeProvider();
CompilerParameters parameters = new CompilerParameters();    
parameters.ReferencedAssemblies.Add("Iface.dll");        
parameters.GenerateInMemory = true;           

Please note: When the program is compiled, a copy of the "Iface.dll" is placed in the same directory as the executable. So, the path for the referenced assembly is limited to "Iface.dll".

Next step: Compilation and some error handling.

CompilerResults results = provider.CompileAssemblyFromSource(parameters, code);

if (results.Errors.HasErrors)
{
    StringBuilder sb = new StringBuilder();        
    foreach (CompilerError error in results.Errors)
    {
        sb.AppendLine(String.Format("Error ({0}): {1}", error.ErrorNumber, error.ErrorText));
    }            
    throw new InvalidOperationException(sb.ToString());
}

And finally we get our object:

Assembly assembly = results.CompiledAssembly;
Type asmType = assembly.GetType("TestClass.MyClass");
Type[] argTypes=new Type[] { };
ConstructorInfo cInfo=asmType.GetConstructor(argTypes);
ImyInterface myclass=(ImyInterface)cInfo.Invoke(null);

int result=myclass.Func(1,2);        
Console.WriteLine("and the result is: {0}",result);
Console.ReadKey(true);

Points of Interest

This is my very first post on CodeProject. So I'll appreciate any comments about this work. Maybe, there are much easier ways to achieve what I tried to do and if you know one, please tell me.

History

  • 9th April, 2015: Initial version