How to: Create a Publisher Policy

Vendors of assemblies can state that applications should use a newer version of an assembly by including a publisher policy file with the upgraded assembly. The publisher policy file specifies assembly redirection and code base settings, and uses the same format as an application configuration file. The publisher policy file is compiled into an assembly and placed in the global assembly cache.

There are three steps involved in creating a publisher policy:

  1. Create a publisher policy file.

  2. Create a publisher policy assembly.

  3. Add the publisher policy assembly to the global assembly cache.

The schema for publisher policy is described in Redirecting Assembly Versions. The following example shows a publisher policy file that redirects one version of myAssembly to another.

      <assemblyBinding xmlns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:asm.v1">  
         <assemblyIdentity name="myAssembly"  
                           culture="en-us" />  
         <!-- Redirecting to version of the assembly. -->  
         <bindingRedirect oldVersion=""  

To learn how to specify a code base, see Specifying an Assembly's Location.

Creating the Publisher Policy Assembly

Use the Assembly Linker (Al.exe) to create the publisher policy assembly.

To create a publisher policy assembly

  1. Type the following command at the command prompt:

    al /link: publisherPolicyFile /out: publisherPolicyAssemblyFile /keyfile: keyPairFile /platform: processorArchitecture

    In this command:

    • The publisherPolicyFile argument is the name of the publisher policy file.

    • The publisherPolicyAssemblyFile argument is the name of the publisher policy assembly that results from this command. The assembly file name must follow the format:

      policy. majorNumber . minorNumber . mainAssemblyName .dll

    • The keyPairFile argument is the name of the file containing the key pair. You must sign the assembly and publisher policy assembly with the same key pair.

    • The processorArchitecture argument identifies the platform targeted by a processor-specific assembly.


      The ability to target a specific processor architecture is new in the .NET Framework version 2.0.

    The following command creates a publisher policy assembly called policy.1.0.myAssembly from a publisher policy file called pub.config, assigns a strong name to the assembly using the key pair in the sgKey.snk file, and specifies that the assembly targets the x86 processor architecture.

    al /link:pub.config /out:policy.1.0.myAssembly.dll /keyfile:sgKey.snk /platform:x86  

    The publisher policy assembly must match the processor architecture of the assembly that it applies to. Thus, if your assembly has a ProcessorArchitecture value of MSIL, the publisher policy assembly for that assembly must be created with /platform:anycpu. You must provide a separate publisher policy assembly for each processor-specific assembly.

    A consequence of this rule is that in order to change the processor architecture for an assembly, you must change the major or minor component of the version number, so that you can supply a new publisher policy assembly with the correct processor architecture. The old publisher policy assembly cannot service your assembly once your assembly has a different processor architecture.

    Another consequence is that the version 2.0 linker cannot be used to create a publisher policy assembly for an assembly compiled using earlier versions of the .NET Framework, because it always specifies processor architecture.

Adding the Publisher Policy Assembly to the Global Assembly Cache

Use the Global Assembly Cache tool (Gacutil.exe) to add the publisher policy assembly to the global assembly cache.

To add the publisher policy assembly to the global assembly cache

  1. Type the following command at the command prompt:

    gacutil /i publisherPolicyAssemblyFile

    The following command adds policy.1.0.myAssembly.dll to the global assembly cache.

    gacutil /i policy.1.0.myAssembly.dll  


    The publisher policy assembly cannot be added to the global assembly cache unless the original publisher policy file is located in the same directory as the assembly.

See Also

Programming with Assemblies
How the Runtime Locates Assemblies
Configuring Apps
Configuring .NET Framework Apps
Runtime Settings Schema
Configuration File Schema
Redirecting Assembly Versions