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How to get declarations from a c# dll?
Edited by longtran2904 on

When you use "go to definition" in a C# project in Visual Studio, it will generate a temporary cs file "from metadata" containing classes/functions declarations. Afaik, Visual Studio only needs a DLL or Exe file to do this. Are there any tools or visual studio options to generate these cs files for a chosen dll? I want to replace VS with other editors but really need this functionality (only need this for syntax highlighting, I plan to generate all the declarations into a bunch of cs files and include them).

Mārtiņš Možeiko
2561 posts / 2 projects
How to get declarations from a c# dll?

What do you mean by "include them"? You don't need to include any C# files to compile. You just reference existing .dll modules in compiler arguments.

If you want to access contents of dll/exe programmatically then you can use Assembly.Load method from System.Reflection. It will load assembly and will let you access all the contents and do whatever you want - see GetModules() and then for each module do GetTypes() and so on... With built-in reflection API you can get 100% contents of any .NET Assembly.

Or you can use something like ILSpy to decompile dll/exe and see all the contents of modules, including decompiled code, be it C#. It has nice Visual Studio plugins that allow stepping into decompile C# code so you can easily debug .dll files that you don't have source access to. It is very useful in VS.

217 posts
How to get declarations from a c# dll?
Edited by longtran2904 on
Replying to mmozeiko (#29220)

What do you mean by "include them"? You don't need to include any C# files to compile. You just reference existing .dll modules in compiler arguments.

I meant I only need it for syntax highlighting. By having the declarations, my code editor (not an ide or compiler) can know which identifier is a type and whatnot. "include them" just meant having those files recognized by the editor.

I also don't need to see decompiled code or debugging/stepping into code, just the declaration of classes and functions, like what happens when you use "go to definition" in VS and it creates a temporary "header" file.

I was hoping for something like: if you use this command in VS or this program, it will automatically generate all the types and functions for you into a C# file. Because as I said, VS is already doing that, but the problems are it's temporary and I need to manually "go to definition" for each type.

Edit: Just checked out ILSpy, and it seems like the program is doing what I want. Is there a way to export all the definitions to a C# source file?