Programming with Assemblies

Assemblies are the building blocks of the .NET Framework; they form the fundamental unit of deployment, version control, reuse, activation scoping, and security permissions. An assembly provides the common language runtime with the information it needs to be aware of type implementations. It is a collection of types and resources that are built to work together and form a logical unit of functionality. To the runtime, a type does not exist outside the context of an assembly.

This section describes how to create modules, create assemblies from modules, create a key pair and sign an assembly with a strong name, and install an assembly into the global assembly cache. In addition, this section describes how to use the MSIL Disassembler (Ildasm.exe) to view assembly manifest information.


Starting with the .NET Framework version 2.0, the runtime will not load an assembly that was compiled with a version of the .NET Framework that has a higher version number than the currently loaded runtime. This applies to the combination of the major and minor components of the version number.

In This Section


  • Assembly
    The .NET Framework class that represents an assembly.