Plunging into .NET Development

Weblog Pieter Gheysens
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Friday, January 6

External Tools

Did you know you can add items to the Tools menu in the Visual Studio IDE (2003 and 2005) to launch external tools from within Visual Studio? There are numerous possibilities :
  • Opening an assembly in .NET Reflector
  • Opening an assembly in ILDasm
  • Generating a new key pair (strong name)
  • Adding an asembly to the Global Assembly Cache
  • Removing an assembly to the Global Assembly Cache
  • ...
Two Examples :
  • Adding an assembly to the Global Assembly Cache
    • Go to Tools > External Tools ...
    • Add Item - choose title, command, arguments and check use output window. Gacutil.exe can be found at C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio .NET 2003\SDK\v1.1\Bin\gacutil.exe. The argument for adding an assembly to GAC is /i, followed by the assembly path. For the assembly path, you can use the macro $(TargetPath).

    • You're now ready to use the command in the Tools menu. Be sure that your assembly has already a strong name before adding it to the GAC. Output of the action will be sent to the output window.

  • Removing an assembly from the Global Assembly Cache
    • Go to Tools > External Tools ...
    • Add Item - choose title, command, arguments and check use output window. Gacutil.exe can be found at C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio .NET 2003\SDK\v1.1\Bin\gacutil.exe. The argument for remving an assembly from the GAC is /u, followed by the assembly name. For the assembly name, you can use the macro $(TargetName).

    • You're now ready to use the command in the Tools menu. Output of the action will be sent to the output window.

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