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Author Topic: Virtualization to Create Single EXEs from Mixed Assemblies  (Read 6953 times)
Renegade
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« on: April 14, 2011, 10:25:20 PM »

This might be a useful heads-up for some people.

http://boxedapp.com/



It lets you create a single EXE file from multiple and mixed DLLs, so you can have a .NET program that pulls in native DLLs, but package it all as a single EXE.

Quote
BoxedApp Packer is a developer utility for converting your regular full-fledged applications to single self-sustaining executable files that don't require the installation in order to be run. That literally means that you can squeeze all ActiveX controls, dynamic libraries, and just all kinds of files that your original application depends on into a single executable file and run it just as if that was a regular application installed the regular way...

I've given it a quick few tests, and it pans out. Works very nicely.

Now, you can't use it for something like this call:

System.Diagnostics.Process.Start("blah.exe");

But boohoo. Everything else seems pretty slick.

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40hz
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« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2011, 04:03:40 AM »

Hey! Renegade's got a new avatar. Like it! Thmbsup

Thx for the heads up too!
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Renegade
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« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2011, 07:15:21 AM »

Hey! Renegade's got a new avatar. Like it! Thmbsup

Thx for the heads up too!

Thanks! It was one of those pieces of artwork that I bought while doing Super Simple. It was just so cute. smiley

But do check out that BoxedApp. It's slick.

It's 300 Euro, but really, for that kind of software? That's cheap!

Of course, if you only need to merge .NET assemblies, then ILMerge.exe is the way to go.

Incidentally, Infralution's .NET Encryptor packs assemblies together, but I don't know if it will do mixed... I should check...
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Renegade
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« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2011, 07:25:33 AM »

Checked:

http://www.infralution.co...pBB2/viewtopic.php?t=1928

No. Infralution's .NET Encryptor only does .NET assemblies.

So, that leaves BoxedApp at the top of my list so far.
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f0dder
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« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2011, 06:47:16 PM »

Hrm, if it supports both .NET assemblies and native DLLs, it has to either

1) unbundle the files to %TEMP% or whereever.
2) use manually coded and potentially fragile routines to load the native assemblies.

If the product does #1, please don't use it for your end-users' sake. Temp files == slow, and can trigger antivirus programs in the depressing way. If it's #2, test the result carefully across a wide range of Windows versions.

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- carpe noctem
Renegade
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« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2011, 09:37:11 PM »

Hrm, if it supports both .NET assemblies and native DLLs, it has to either

1) unbundle the files to %TEMP% or whereever.
2) use manually coded and potentially fragile routines to load the native assemblies.

If the product does #1, please don't use it for your end-users' sake. Temp files == slow, and can trigger antivirus programs in the depressing way. If it's #2, test the result carefully across a wide range of Windows versions.


It's virtualization. It loads DLLs into memory, then accesses them from there.
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Renegade
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« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2011, 09:46:18 PM »

Check here:

http://boxedapp.com/technology.html



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« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2011, 01:30:51 AM »

I've only given this a cursory try, but Enigma Virtual Box is similar and free.  There's an enhanced paid version.

Since I read this thread it prompted me to visit the site again. Seems v. 2.0 of EVB was just released on the 14th:

http://www.enigmaprotector.com/en/home.html

The "Protector" version claims .NET support and sells for $149 USD for single user license. I played around a bit with the free version. It was easy to use.  Rather like a simple installer wrapper app.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2011, 01:35:47 AM by MilesAhead » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2011, 06:38:26 AM »

I've only given this a cursory try, but Enigma Virtual Box is similar and free.  There's an enhanced paid version.

Since I read this thread it prompted me to visit the site again. Seems v. 2.0 of EVB was just released on the 14th:

http://www.enigmaprotector.com/en/home.html

The "Protector" version claims .NET support and sells for $149 USD for single user license. I played around a bit with the free version. It was easy to use.  Rather like a simple installer wrapper app.


Nice find! I've not tried it yet, but I'll give it a spin and post back what I find.

Thanks!
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« Reply #9 on: April 16, 2011, 07:10:49 AM »

Well, it looks like the free one doesn't work for mixed assemblies. I've posted here: http://forum.enigmaprotec...wtopic.php?f=20&t=807 --We'll see what happens.

Still have the other one to try out.
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« Reply #10 on: April 16, 2011, 07:27:24 AM »

Nope. Doesn't seem to work for mixed assemblies.

I didn't try with pure native or pure .NET.

Oh well. Otherwise, it looks like a good product. Just not what I was looking for.

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f0dder
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« Reply #11 on: April 16, 2011, 08:58:03 AM »

Virtualization is such a fluff word these days, and their "technology" page is very brief - but it seems like they're doing #2 from my post above. Be sure to test extensively on various Windows platforms... the base code to skip Windows PE-executable/DLL loader and do your own is relatively easy, but there's craploads of special case stuff to handle, and you need to hook a lot of API functions in the manually loaded image - and getting all that code right is not trivial.
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- carpe noctem
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« Reply #12 on: April 16, 2011, 09:41:20 AM »

Virtualization is such a fluff word these days, and their "technology" page is very brief - but it seems like they're doing #2 from my post above. Be sure to test extensively on various Windows platforms... the base code to skip Windows PE-executable/DLL loader and do your own is relatively easy, but there's craploads of special case stuff to handle, and you need to hook a lot of API functions in the manually loaded image - and getting all that code right is not trivial.

All the more reason to buy rather than build! smiley
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Renegade
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« Reply #13 on: April 18, 2011, 08:10:19 AM »

Well, it looks like the free one doesn't work for mixed assemblies. I've posted here: http://forum.enigmaprotec...wtopic.php?f=20&t=807 --We'll see what happens.

Still have the other one to try out.

Well, to follow up, the guys a f***ing star! Seriously. The developer is amazing. He's followed up with information and checked the files I sent. Now, the problem isn't solved, but jeez... The developer is trying! That's a lot more than you get from most companies.

Check the forum link in the quote above -- you'll see what I mean.
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« Reply #14 on: April 22, 2011, 11:56:40 PM »

Glad to hear it!  I found it just yesterday on AlternativeTo when I was looking for Cameyo.  This is another free one like enigma that may, or may not do what you were looking at.  AlternativeTo has a few others in the category as well.  I personally was just seeing what was out there as an alternative to VMware ThinApp which I know is a great product, but rather expensive for individual use - like most VMware products.
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Renegade
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« Reply #15 on: April 23, 2011, 12:02:35 AM »

Glad to hear it!  I found it just yesterday on AlternativeTo when I was looking for Cameyo.  This is another free one like enigma that may, or may not do what you were looking at.  AlternativeTo has a few others in the category as well.  I personally was just seeing what was out there as an alternative to VMware ThinApp which I know is a great product, but rather expensive for individual use - like most VMware products.


I've used Cameyo as well, but it's an end-user focused program, and not a developer-oriented one. There are significant drawbacks with it. If you're looking to deploy an application as a software author, Cameyo runs lower down the list of good options.

I've not tried the VMware one though. I should have a look.
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« Reply #16 on: April 23, 2011, 12:05:27 AM »

Glad to hear it!  I found it just yesterday on AlternativeTo when I was looking for Cameyo.  This is another free one like enigma that may, or may not do what you were looking at.  AlternativeTo has a few others in the category as well.  I personally was just seeing what was out there as an alternative to VMware ThinApp which I know is a great product, but rather expensive for individual use - like most VMware products.



Ummm...

You seem to have a little, tiny, miniscule, microscopic, tendency towards understatement... Wink

http://store.vmware.com/s...D&rests=1303534979056

Starting at $6,050.00?

Ummm... I think I'll stop even looking at it...

tongue cheesy

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« Reply #17 on: April 23, 2011, 03:57:04 AM »

Quote
Starting at $6,050.00?

I hope it's as least "buy one get one free" or get the second one for a penny.




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« Reply #18 on: December 13, 2011, 01:09:46 PM »

Have heard much about boxedapp. I too want such a program, for me it would have been helpful. How can I get the key?
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« Reply #19 on: December 13, 2011, 01:13:40 PM »

I too want such a program, for me it would have been helpful. How can I get the key?
Euhm, buy it from the publishers?
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