Guide to Reviewing the Microsoft. Net framework

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.NET Framework Tools

The Microsoft .NET Framework SDK tools are designed to make it easier for you to create, deploy, and manage applications and components that target the .NET Framework. This section contains detailed information about the tools that ship with the .NET Framework SDK.

    Configuration and Deployment Tools



Assembly Cache Viewer (Shfusion.dll)

Allows you to view and manipulate the contents of the global assembly cache using Windows Explorer.

Assembly Linker (Al.exe)

Generates a file with an assembly manifest from one or more files that are either resource files or Microsoft Intermediate Language (MSIL) files.

Assembly Registration Tool (Regasm.exe)

Reads the metadata within an assembly and adds the necessary entries to the registry, which allows COM clients to create .NET Framework classes transparently.

Assembly Binding Log Viewer (Fuslogvw.exe)

Displays details for failed assembly binds. This information helps you diagnose why the .NET Framework cannot locate an assembly at run time.

Global Assembly Cache Tool (Gacutil.exe)

Allows you to view and manipulate the contents of the global assembly cache. While Shfusion.dll provides similar functionality, you can use Gacutil.exe from build scripts, makefile files, and batch files.

Installer Tool (Installutil.exe)

Allows you to install and uninstall server resources by executing the installer components of a specified assembly.

Isolated Storage Tool (Storeadm.exe)

Lists or removes all existing stores for the currently logged-on user.

Native Image Generator (Ngen.exe)

Creates a native image from a managed assembly and installs it into the native image cache on the local computer.

.NET Framework Configuration Tool (Mscorcfg.msc)

Provides a graphical interface for managing .NET Framework security policy and applications that use remoting services. This tool also allows you to manage and configure assemblies in the global assembly cache.

.NET Services Installation Tool (Regsvcs.exe)

Adds managed classes to Windows 2000 Component Services by loading and registering the assembly and generating, registering, and installing the type library into an existing COM+ 1.0 application.

Soapsuds Tool (Soapsuds.exe)

Helps you compile client applications that communicate with XML Web services by using a technique called remoting.

Type Library Exporter (Tlbexp.exe)

Generates a type library from a common language runtime assembly.

Type Library Importer (Tlbimp.exe)

Converts the type definitions found within a COM type library into equivalent definitions in managed metadata format.

Web Services Description Language Tool (Wsdl.exe)

Generates code for ASP.NET XML Web services and XML Web services clients from Web Services Description Language (WSDL) contract files, XML Schema Definition (XSD) schema files, and .discomap discovery documents.

Web Services Discovery Tool (Disco.exe)

Discovers the URLs of XML Web services located on a Web server, and saves documents related to each XML Web service on a local disk.

XML Schema Definition Tool (Xsd.exe)

Generates XML schemas that follow the XSD language proposed by the W3C. This tool generates common language runtime classes and DataSet classes from an XSD schema file.

    Debugging Tools



Microsoft CLR Debugger (DbgCLR.exe)

Provides debugging services with a graphical interface to help application developers find and fix bugs in programs that target the runtime.

Runtime Debugger (Cordbg.exe)

Provides command-line debugging services using the common language runtime Debug API. Used to find and fix bugs in programs that target the runtime.

    Security Tools



Certificate Creation Tool (Makecert.exe)

Generates X.509 certificates for testing purposes only.

Certificate Manager Tool (Certmgr.exe)

Manages certificates, certificate trust lists (CTLs), and certificate revocation lists (CRLs).

Certificate Verification Tool (Chktrust.exe)

Verifies the validity of a file signed with an X.509 certificate.

Code Access Security Policy Tool (Caspol.exe)

Allows you to examine and modify machine, user, and enterprise-level code access security policies.

File Signing Tool (Signcode.exe)

Signs a portable executable (PE) file with an Authenticode digital signature.

Permissions View Tool (Permview.exe)

Displays the minimal, optional, and refused permission sets requested by an assembly. You can also use this tool to view all declarative security used by an assembly.

Secutil Tool (Secutil.exe)

Extracts strong name public key information or Authenticode publisher certificates from an assembly in a format that can be incorporated into code.

Set Registry Tool (Setreg.exe)

Allows you to change the registry settings for the Software Publishing State keys, which control the behavior of the certificate verification process.

Software Publisher Certificate Test Tool (Cert2spc.exe)

Creates, for test purposes only, a Software Publisher's Certificate (SPC) from one or more X.509 certificates.

Strong Name Tool (Sn.exe)

Helps create assemblies with strong names. Sn.exe provides options for key management, signature generation, and signature verification.

    General Tools



Common Language Runtime Minidump Tool (Mscordmp.exe)

Creates a file containing information that is useful for analyzing system issues in the runtime. The Microsoft Dr. Watson tool (Drwatson.exe) invokes this program automatically.

License Compiler (Lc.exe)

Reads text files that contain licensing information and produces a .licenses file that can be embedded in a common language runtime executable.

Management Strongly Typed Class Generator (Mgmtclassgen.exe)

Allows you to quickly generate an early-bound class in C#, Visual Basic, or JScript for a specified Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) class.

MSIL Assembler (Ilasm.exe)

Generates a PE file from Microsoft Intermediate Language (MSIL). You can run the resulting executable, which contains MSIL code and the required metadata, to determine whether the MSIL code performs as expected.

MSIL Disassembler (Ildasm.exe)

Takes a PE file that contains MSIL code and creates a text file suitable as input to the MSIL Assembler (Ilasm.exe).

PEVerify Tool (PEverify.exe)

Performs MSIL type safety verification checks and metadata validation checks on a specified assembly.

Resource File Generator Tool (Resgen.exe)

Converts text files and .resx (XML-based resource format) files to .NET common language runtime binary .resources files that can be embedded in a runtime binary executable or compiled into satellite assemblies.

Windows Forms ActiveX Control Importer (Aximp.exe)

Converts type definitions in a COM type library for an ActiveX control into a Windows Forms control.

Windows Forms Class Viewer (Wincv.exe)

Finds managed classes matching a specified search pattern and displays information about those classes using the Reflection API.

Windows Forms Resource Editor (Winres.exe)

Allows you to quickly and easily localize Windows Forms forms.

Appendix c Glossary



.NET Framework

The .NET Framework is a platform for building the next generation of distributed XML Web services and applications. It exposes a language-independent yet consistent programming model across all tiers of an application, while providing seamless interoperability with and easy migration from existing technologies. The .NET Framework consists of three things: the common language runtime, unified classes, and ASP.NET.


Data access technology for the .NET Framework based on ActiveX Data Objects (ADO).


Active Server Pages technology for the .NET Framework.


The unit of deployment and versioning in the .NET Framework. It establishes the namespace for resolving requests and determines which resources are exposed externally and which are accessible from within the assembly. An assembly includes an assembly manifest, which describes the contents of the assembly


The first component-oriented language in the C/C++ family. Submitted to ECMA for standardization.


Common Gateway Interface. An early Internet protocol used to generate interactive content over the Web.

Common Language Runtime (CLR)

The type, metadata, and execution systems provided by the .NET Framework. The CLR supplies managed code and data with services such as cross-language integration, code access security, object lifetime management, and debugging and profiling support. By targeting the CLR, compilers and other tools can offer these services to developers.

Common Language Specification (CLS)

A subset of .NET Framework features that are supported by a broad set of compliant languages and tools. CLS-compliant languages and tools are guaranteed to interoperate with other CLS-compliant languages and tools. For example, the type Int32 is CLS compliant, and languages and tools may expect that other CLS languages and tools know how to correctly use this type.


SOAP Discovery (Disco). Based on the SOAP Discovery specification. Disco provides a set of rules for discovery of Web services descriptions and capabilities.


A European standards body created in 1961. Internationally accredited ECMA has fast-track approval for ISO and is the forum for successful standards such as ECMAScript.

Evidence-based Security

The .NET Framework introduces the concept of evidence-based security, referring to inputs to the security policy about code—such as from what site, security zone, or URL was an assembly obtained, what is its strong name, and whether it has a digital signature and from whom. Based on these and other answers, the appropriate security policy can be applied, and the appropriate permissions may be granted to the assembly. Answers can come from multiple sources, including the CLR, the browser, ASP.NET, and the shell, depending on the source of the code.

Garbage Collection

The process of transitively tracing through all pointers to actively used objects to locate all objects that can be referenced and then arranging to reuse any heap memory that was not found during this trace. The CLR’s garbage collector also arranges to compact the memory that is in use to reduce the working space needed for the heap.


Hyper Text Transfer Protocol is a standard Internet protocol for transfer of information between servers and between clients and servers.


Interface Definition Language. A language used by applications to specify the various interfaces they intend to offer to other applications.

Intermediate Language (IL)

Intermediate Language (IL). A language used as the output of a number of compilers and as the input to a JIT compiler. IL defines an abstract, stack-based execution architecture. The CLR may include several JIT compilers for converting IL to native code.


Just-in-Time. A phrase that describes an action that is taken only when it becomes necessary, such as just-in-time compilation or just-in-time object activation. By convention, the term JIT alone is used to refer to a JIT compiler.

Loosely Coupled Architecture

A distributed application in which you can change the implementation of one tier without affecting any of the other tiers. Contrast tightly coupled architecture.

Managed Code

Managed code supplies the metadata necessary for the CLR to provide services, such as memory management, cross-language integration, code access security, and automatic lifetime control of objects. All code based on IL executes as managed code.


Metadata describing which modules and resource files are part of a particular assembly, which types are exported, and which other assemblies are referenced. It also specifies which security permissions are required to run, what additional permissions are optionally requested, and what permissions the assembly refuses.


Data (or information) about data. In the CLR, metadata is used to describe assemblies and types. It is stored with them in the executable files, and is used by compilers, tools, and the runtime to provide a wide range of services. Metadata is essential for runtime type information and dynamic method invocation. Many systems use metadata—for example, Type Libraries in COM provide metadata

Native Code

Code that has been compiled to processor-specific machine code.


System architecture that separates presentation, business logic, data access, and database (or other persistence mechanism) tiers.


.NET Framework technology that allows you to examine metadata that describes types and their members.


Simple Object Access Protocol, WC3 standard. A lightweight protocol for exchange of information in a decentralized, distributed environment. It is an XML-based protocol that consists of three parts: an envelope that defines a framework for describing what is in a message and how to process it, a set of encoding rules for expressing instances of application-defined datatypes, and a convention for representing remote procedure calls and responses.

Tightly Coupled Architecture

A distributed application where a change to any tier affects some or all the other remaining tiers. Contrast loosely coupled architecture.


The Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration [UDDI] specification. An initiative that creates a global, platform-independent, open framework to enable businesses to discover each other, define how they interact over the Internet, and share information in a global registry

Unified Classes

The .NET Framework’s unified, object-oriented, hierarchical, and extensible set of class libraries (APIs) that developers can use from the languages they are already familiar with.

Unmanaged Code

Code that was created without knowledge for the conventions and requirements of the .NET Framework. Unmanaged code executes in the .NET Framework environment with minimal services (for example, no garbage collection, limited debugging , no declarative security). Unmanaged code does not have self-describing metadata.


Application programming interfaces (APIs) that enable integration of an XML Web service under the .NET Framework.

Web Forms

Web Forms are an ASP.NET technology that you use to create programmable Web pages. They can present information, using any markup language, to the user in any browser and use code on the server to implement application logic.


Programming keyword in .NET Framework that enables objects to be Internet accessible.

Windows Forms

The Windows Forms framework encapsulates native Win32 APIs and exposes secure, managed classes for creating Win32 client-side applications. The Windows Forms class library provides many controls, such as buttons, check boxes, drop-down lists, combo boxes, data grid, and others, that encapsulate user-interface and other client-side functionality.


Web Services Description Language. An XML grammar that developers and development tools use to represent the capabilities of an XML Web service.


Extensible Markup Language. WC3 standard for the format of structured documents and data on the Web.

XML Web Service

An XML Web service is an application that exposes its functionality programmatically over the Internet or intranets using standard Internet protocols and standards, such as HTTP and XML.

For More Information

For the latest information on the .NET Framework, please see

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