At work, I am currently working on a small WPF app that we want to keep as a simple standalone exe. However, it has dependencies on several third-party assemblies: SharpZipLib, Unity, ServiceLocator, etc.
Microsoft has handy tool called
ILMerge that merges multiple .NET assemblies into a single dll or exe. Unfortunately, it doesn't support WPF applications, because of the way XAML is compiled.
Instead, you can use another approach -- include all your referenced third-party assemblies as embedded resources of the exe:
public partial class App : Application
private void OnStartup ( object sender , StartupEventArgs e )
AppDomain . CurrentDomain . AssemblyResolve +=
new ResolveEventHandler ( ResolveAssembly );
// proceed starting app...
static Assembly ResolveAssembly ( object sender , ResolveEventArgs args )
Assembly parentAssembly = Assembly . GetExecutingAssembly ();
var name = args . Name . Substring ( 0 , args . Name . IndexOf ( ',' )) + ".dll" ;
var resourceName = parentAssembly . GetManifestResourceNames ()
. First ( s => s . EndsWith ( name ));
using ( Stream stream = parentAssembly . GetManifestResourceStream ( resourceName ))
byte  block = new byte [ stream . Length ];
stream . Read ( block , 0 , block . Length );
return Assembly . Load ( block );
Whenever .NET can't find a referenced assembly, it will call our code and we can provide an Assembly instance ourselves. Note this code expects a sane DLL-naming convention :)
Update: Dan Chambers just tweeted about an improved and expanded version of this approach that automatically embeds referenced assemblies, and adds the assembly resolve hook at an earlier point in the app startup process.