Unattended Make My Manifest
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Unattended Make My Manifest

VB6 Manifest Creation Tool

Registration-Free COM

Registration-Free Activation of COM Components: A Walkthrough

UMMM is a tool that can be using in automated builds to create manifests for registration-free COM activation. The tool uses an ini file that describes referenced COM/.NET components. All the classes and interfaces from a referenced component are extracted and included in the application (exe file) manifest at build time.

Sample usage

Here is a sample multi-project solution with references between VB6 projects and references to external components.

[Main App (exe)] ---> [Component A (dll)] ---> [TreeView Component (ocx)]
       |                     |
       |                     v
       +------------> [Component B (dll)] ---> [Component C (dll)]
       |
       +------------> [CLR Component (.Net dll)]

UMMM can be used to produce manifest for Main App (exe) that references Component A, Component B, Component C, CLR Component and TreeView Component all at once. No manifest for any other project/component is needed to get registration-free COM working.

Here is a sample ini file for the sample solution above:

Identity C:\Builds\MainApp.exe MyCompany.MyApp "My Application 1.0"
File ComponentA.dll
File ComponentB.dll
File ComponentC.dll
File TreeView.ocx
Dependency ClrComponent.dll /u
Dependency ComCtl

Identity command is needed to produce assemblyIdentity tag in the output manifest. The parameters of the command are <exe_file> and optional [name] and [description]. The path of the <exe_file> paramter sets the base path of the application, so that relative paths in next commands are based on this application path.

Referencing COM components

File command produces file tags in the otuput manifest. This is how all referenced COM components are listed in the ini file. The parameters of the command are <file_name> and optional [interfaces] and [classes_filter]. If <file_name> uses relative path then base application path from Identity command is used. The [interfaces] parameter is needed only if a multi-threading application is passing object references between apartments. The [classes_filter] uses Like operator to filter referenced component coclass names to be included in the output manifest.

Referencing .Net components

Dependency produces dependency tag in output manifest. This is how .Net components are listed in the ini file. The parameters of the command are <assembly_file> and optional [version] and [/update]. If <assembly_file> uses relative path, base path from Identity is used. Optional [/update] can be used to embed assembly manifest in the assembly file.

UMMM uses mt.exe to generate (temporary) manifest from the assembly file and to extract assemblyIdentity tag from this manifest. Passing [/update] parameter instructs UMMM to embed this temporary manifest in the assembly file using mt.exe again. Manifest Tool (mt.exe) is installed with Visual Studio in C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SDKs\Windows\v7.0A\Bin. Make sure mt.exe is accessible by ummm.exe -- copy it in the same folder or set PATH to include mt.exe's folder.

Referencing Common Controls v6.0

Dependency has a second form that accepts <lib_name> as first parameter. Built-in comctl, vc90crt, vc90mfc are recognized and correct publicKeyTokens are outputed under dependentAssembly tag.

List of commands

Command names are case-insensitive.

Identity

Appends assemblyIdentity and description tags.

Parameters       <exe_file> [name] [description]
   exe_file      file name can be quoted if containing spaces. The containing folder 
                 of the executable sets base path for relative file names
   name          (optional) assembly name. Defaults to MyAssembly
   description   (optional) description of assembly

Dependency

Appends dependency tag for referencing dependent assemblies like Common Controls 6.0, C run-time or MFC.

Parameters       {<lib_name>|<assembly_file>} [version] [/update]
  lib_name       one of { comctl, vc90crt, vc90mfc }
  assembly_file  file name of .NET DLL exporting COM classes
  version        (optional) required assembly version. Multiple version of vc90crt can
                 be required by a single manifest
  /update        (optional) updates assembly_file assembly manifest. Spawns mt.exe

File

Appends file tag and collects information about coclasses and interfaces exposed by the referenced COM component typelib.

Parameters       <file_name> [interfaces] [classes_filter]
  file_name      file containing typelib. Can be relative to base path
  interfaces     (optional) pipe (|) separated interfaces with or w/o leading 
                 underscore
  classes_filter (optional) pipe (|) separated filter for coclasses in file

Interface

Appends comInterfaceExternalProxyStub tag for inter-thread marshaling of interfaces.

Parameters       <file_name> <interfaces>
  file_name      file containing typelib. Can be relative to base path
  interfaces     pipe (|) separated interfaces with or w/o leading underscore

TrustInfo

Appends trustInfo tag for UAC user-rights elevation on Vista and above.

Parameters       [level] [uiaccess]
  level          (optional) one of { 1, 2, 3 } corresponding to { asInvoker, 
                 highestAvailable, requireAdministrator }. Default is 1
  uiaccess       (optional) true/false or 0/1. Allows application to gain access to 
                 the protected system UI. Default is 0

DpiAware

Appends dpiAware tag for custom DPI aware applications.

Parameters       [on_off] [per_monitor]
  on_off         (optional) true/false or 0/1. Default is 0
  per_monitor    (optional) win81 per-monitor DPI awareness. Default is 0

SupportedOS

Appends supportedOS tag.

Parameters       <os_type> [os_type #2] [os_type #3] ...
  os_type        one of { vista, win7, win8, win81, win10 } or raw GUID as specified
                 by Microsoft. Multiple OSes can be included in a manifest