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Native dependency manager for .NET Standard libraries

This library helps you manage dependencies that you want to bundle with your .NET standard assembly. Originally it was developed to be used with native shared libraries, but you can bundle any file you want.

The main feature of this library is cross-platform support. You tell it which dependencies are for which platform, and LibraryManager will extract and load relevant files under each patform.

How to use the library

Pack your dependencies as embedded resources

Put your dependencies somewhere relative to your project. Let's assume you have one library compiled for each platform: TestLib.dll for Windows, libTestLib.so for Linux and libTestLib.dylib for macOs. Add these files as embedded resources to your .csproj as follows:

<Project Sdk="Microsoft.NET.Sdk">

    <!-- Some other stuff here -->

    <ItemGroup>
      <EmbeddedResource Include="libTestLib.dylib" />
      <EmbeddedResource Include="libTestLib.so" />
      <EmbeddedResource Include="TestLib.dll" />
    </ItemGroup>
</Project>

Now your dependencies will be compiled into your assembly as resources.

Use LibraryManager to specify and extract dependencies

private static void Main(string[] args)
{
    var accessor = new ResourceAccessor(Assembly.GetExecutingAssembly());
    var libManager = new LibraryManager(
        new LibraryItem(Platform.MacOs, Bitness.x64,
            new LibraryFile("libTestLib.dylib", accessor.Binary("libTestLib.dylib"))),
        new LibraryItem(Platform.Windows, Bitness.x64, 
            new LibraryFile("TestLib.dll", accessor.Binary("TestLib.dll"))),
        new LibraryItem(Platform.Linux, Bitness.x64,
            new LibraryFile("libTestLib.so", accessor.Binary("libTestLib.so"))));
    
    libManager.LoadNativeLibrary();

    // Library is loaded, other code here
}

Each LibraryItem specifies a bundle of files that should be extracted for a specific platform. It this case we create 3 instances to support Windows, Linux and MacOs — all 64-bit. LibraryItem takes any number of LibraryFile objects. With these objects you specify the extracted file name and an actual binary file in the form of byte array. This is where ResourceAccessor comes in handy.

We should note that resource name you pass to ResourceAccessor is just a path to original file relative to project root with slashes \\ replaced with dots . So, for example, if we place some file in Foo\Bar\lib.dll project folder, we would adderss it as:

accessor.Binary("Foo.Bar.lib.dll")

Target dependency directory

LibraryManager extracts your dependencies to current process' current directory. This is the only reliable way to use [DllImport] on all three platforms.

If your current directory isn't writable, you are generally out of luck. You can use an overload of LibraryManager's constructor which accepts a custom target directory, but then you need to do one of the following:

  1. Ensure that target directory that you specify is discoverable by system library loader. The safest bet is to ensure it's on your PATH before the whole process starts.
  2. Enable explicit library loading with LibraryManager.LoadLibraryExplicit (read the next section for details). This will not work on MacOs. If your target path is not discoverable by system library loader, dlopen will succeed on MacOs, but your P/Invoke calls will fail. This problem can be mitigated by manually resolving function pointers, but this approach is not yet implemented in this library.

Explicit library loading

Warning! Explicit library loading on MacOs IS USELESS, and your P/Invoke call will fail unless library path is discoverable by system library loader (by adding target path to LD_LIBRARY_PATH or PATH before running your app, for example).

In previous versions of NativeLibraryManager the default behavior was to explicitly load every file using LoadLibraryEx on Windows and dlopen on Linux (explit loading wasn't implemented for MacOs). This approach was quite rigid and caused at least two problems:

  1. There might have been some supporting files which didn't require explicit loading. You couldn't load some files and not load the others.
  2. You should have observed a specific order in which you defined LibraryFiles if some of them were dependent on others.

Starting from v. 1.0.21 explicit loading is disabled by default.

Nevertheless, sometimes you might want to load libraries explicitly. To do so, set LibraryManager.LoadLibraryExplicit to True before calling LibraryManager.LoadNativeLibrary().

You can also set LibraryFile.CanLoadExplicitly to False for supporting files, which you want to exclude from explicit loading.

When LibraryManager.LoadLibraryExplicit is True, LoadLibraryEx will be called to explicitly load libraries on Windows, and dlopen will be called on Linux and MacOs.

Dependency load order with explicit loading

As mentioned earlier, there is a restriction when explicitly loading dependencies. If your native library depends on other native libraries, which you would also like to bundle with you assembly, you should observe a special order in which you specify LibraryFile items. You should put libraries with no dependencies ("leaves") first, and dependent libraries last. Use ldd on Linux or Dependency Walker on Windows to discover the dependecies in your libraries.

Logging with Microsoft.Extensions.Logging

LibraryManager writes a certain amount of logs in case you would like to debug something. This library uses .NET Core Microsoft.Extensions.Logging abstraction, so in order to enable logging, just obtain an instance of Microsoft.Extensions.Logging.ILoggerFactory and pass it as a parameter to LibraryManager constructor.

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A .NET Standard 2.0 library to manage native dependencies stored as binary resources.

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