Reading assembly attributes at runtime using Reflection in .NET

A lot of metadata of an assembly is stored by way of attributes in the AssemblyInfo.cs file. E.g. if you create a simple Console application then this file will be readily available in the Properties folder. Assembly-related attributes are denoted by an “assembly:” prefix and can carry a lot of customisable information. Examples:

[assembly: AssemblyTitle("ReflectionCodeBits")]
[assembly: AssemblyDescription("This is a container for Reflection related code examples")]
[assembly: AssemblyConfiguration("")]
[assembly: AssemblyCompany("Great Company Ltd.")]
[assembly: AssemblyProduct("ReflectionCodeBits")]
[assembly: AssemblyCopyright("Copyright ©  2014")]
[assembly: AssemblyTrademark("GC")]
[assembly: AssemblyCulture("sv-SE")]
[assembly: ComVisible(false)]
[assembly: Guid("8376337d-c211-4507-bc0d-bcd39bc9fb4f")]
[assembly: AssemblyVersion("1.0.0.0")]
[assembly: AssemblyFileVersion("1.0.0.0")]

Most of these are self-explanatory but others deserve more attention:

  • AssemblyConfiguration: to specify which configuration is used for the assembly. You can specify this value like “DEBUG”, “RELEASE” or some custom configuration name, like “ALPHA”
  • AssemblyCulture: normally only used for satellite assemblies, otherwise an empty string denoting neutral culture – in fact you specify an assembly culture like I have done above you’ll get a compile error saying that executables cannot be satellite assemblies; culture should always be empty.

You can read the full documentation about assembly attributes here.

In order to extract the assembly attributes you’ll first need to get a reference to that assembly. You can then list all attributes of the assembly as follows:

Assembly executingAssembly = Assembly.GetExecutingAssembly();
IEnumerable<CustomAttributeData> assemblyAttributes = executingAssembly.CustomAttributes;
foreach (CustomAttributeData assemblyAttribute in assemblyAttributes)
{
	Type attributeType = assemblyAttribute.AttributeType;
	Console.WriteLine("Attribute type: {0}", attributeType);
	IList<CustomAttributeTypedArgument> arguments = assemblyAttribute.ConstructorArguments;
	Console.WriteLine("Attribute arguments: ");
	foreach (CustomAttributeTypedArgument arg in arguments)
	{
		Console.WriteLine(arg.Value);
	}
}

In my case I got the following output:

Assembly attributes output

You can also extract a specific attribute type as follows:

AssemblyDescriptionAttribute assemblyDescriptionAttribute =     executingAssembly.GetCustomAttribute<AssemblyDescriptionAttribute>();
string assemblyDescription = assemblyDescriptionAttribute.Description;

…which returns “This is a container for Reflection related code examples” as expected.

View all posts on Reflection here.

Advertisements

About Andras Nemes
I'm a .NET/Java developer living and working in Stockholm, Sweden.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

ultimatemindsettoday

A great WordPress.com site

Elliot Balynn's Blog

A directory of wonderful thoughts

Softwarearchitektur in der Praxis

Wissenswertes zu Webentwicklung, Domain-Driven Design und Microservices

Technology Talks

on Microsoft technologies, Web, Android and others

Software Engineering

Web development

Disparate Opinions

Various tidbits

chsakell's Blog

WEB APPLICATION DEVELOPMENT BEST PRACTICES WITH MICROSOFT STACK & ANGULAR

Cyber Matters

Bite-size insight on Cyber Security for the not too technical.

Guru N Guns's

OneSolution To dOTnET.

Johnny Zraiby

Measuring programming progress by lines of code is like measuring aircraft building progress by weight.

%d bloggers like this: