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Marc Boizeau's blog
Tuesday, December 28, 2004
  Code generation with .net
Hello, today I would like to introduce code generation with c# and .NET. (It may be usefull when dealing with repetitive Database access code).

To start with this feature, here is a complete sample on how to build a ".exe" file, using natives code generation and compilation tools.

The following code will produce, after compilation with csc.exe, a winform application.
This application has one purpose: produce another application, a console one.
Two framework's objects are important here: System.CodeDom.Compiler.ICodeGenerator and System.CodeDom.Compiler.ICodeCompiler.
The first is a common interface to generate .net code. The second one is used to compile the code. Here I use the cSharp implementation of these interfaces to produce a basic console application.
using System;

using System.Collections;
using System.ComponentModel;
using System.Windows.Forms;
using System.Data;
using System.CodeDom;
using System.CodeDom.Compiler;
using Microsoft.CSharp;
using System.Collections.Specialized;
namespace WindowsApplication2
/// Main form

public class Form1 : System.Windows.Forms.Form
private System.Windows.Forms.Button button1;
private System.Windows.Forms.RichTextBox rt1;
private System.Windows.Forms.ListBox listBox1;
private System.ComponentModel.Container components = null;

public Form1()
// Requis pour la prise en charge du Concepteur Windows Forms

/// Nettoyage des ressources utilisées.
protected override void Dispose( bool disposing )
if( disposing )
if (components != null)
base.Dispose( disposing );

#region Code généré par le Concepteur Windows Form
/// <summary>
/// Méthode requise pour la prise en charge du concepteur - ne modifiez pas
/// le contenu de cette méthode avec l'éditeur de code.
/// </summary>
private void InitializeComponent()
this.button1 = new System.Windows.Forms.Button();
this.rt1 = new System.Windows.Forms.RichTextBox();
this.listBox1 = new System.Windows.Forms.ListBox();
// button1
this.button1.Location = new System.Drawing.Point(432, 8);
this.button1.Name = "button1";
this.button1.Size = new System.Drawing.Size(232, 104);
this.button1.TabIndex = 0;
this.button1.Text = "button1";
this.button1.Click += new System.EventHandler(this.button1_Click);
// rt1
this.rt1.Location = new System.Drawing.Point(24, 16);
this.rt1.Name = "rt1";
this.rt1.Size = new System.Drawing.Size(384, 192);
this.rt1.TabIndex = 1;
this.rt1.Text = "richTextBox1";
// listBox1
this.listBox1.Location = new System.Drawing.Point(24, 224);
this.listBox1.Name = "listBox1";
this.listBox1.Size = new System.Drawing.Size(896, 251);
this.listBox1.TabIndex = 3;
// Form1
this.AutoScaleBaseSize = new System.Drawing.Size(5, 13);
this.ClientSize = new System.Drawing.Size(936, 526);
this.Name = "Form1";
this.Text = "Form1";
this.Load += new System.EventHandler(this.Form1_Load);


/// Point d'entrée principal de l'application.
static void Main()
Application.Run(new Form1());

private void Form1_Load(object sender, System.EventArgs e)
//nothing special here

private void button1_Click(object sender, System.EventArgs e)
{// here is starting the main part of the code:
//the CodeCompileUnit is the abstract code structure:

// Create a new CodeCompileUnit to contain the program graph
CodeCompileUnit CompileUnit = new CodeCompileUnit();
// Declare a new namespace called Samples.
CodeNamespace Samples = new CodeNamespace("Samples");
// Add the new namespace to the compile unit.
CompileUnit.Namespaces.Add( Samples );

// Add the new namespace import for the System namespace.
Samples.Imports.Add( new CodeNamespaceImport("System") );

// Declare a new type called Class1.
CodeTypeDeclaration Class1 = new CodeTypeDeclaration("echo");
// Add the new type to the namespace's type collection.

//a variable declaration
CodeVariableDeclarationStatement Var = new
// Declare a new code entry point method
CodeEntryPointMethod Start = new CodeEntryPointMethod();
// Create a new method invocation expression.
CodeMethodInvokeExpression cs1 =
new CodeMethodInvokeExpression(
// Call the System.Console.WriteLine method.

), "ReadLine");
CodeAssignStatement as1 = new CodeAssignStatement(
new CodeVariableReferenceExpression("str1"),cs1);

// Create a new method invocation expression.
CodeMethodInvokeExpression cs2 =
new CodeMethodInvokeExpression(
// Call the System.Console.WriteLine method.
new CodeTypeReferenceExpression("System.Console"), "WriteLine");
cs2.Parameters.Add(new CodeVariableReferenceExpression(Var.Name));

// Add the new method code statement.
Start.Statements.Add( as1);
// Add the new method code statement.
Start.Statements.Add(new CodeExpressionStatement(cs2));

// Add the code entry point method to the type's members collection
Class1.Members.Add( Start );

System.IO.StringWriter Sw = new System.IO.StringWriter();

Microsoft.CSharp.CSharpCodeProvider provider =
new CSharpCodeProvider();
System.CodeDom.Compiler.ICodeGenerator generator = provider.CreateGenerator(Sw);
CodeGeneratorOptions genOptions = new CodeGeneratorOptions();

// The code generator should insert blank lines
genOptions.BlankLinesBetweenMembers = true;

catch (Exception Exc)
System.Windows.Forms.MessageBox.Show (Exc.Message);
rt1.Text = Sw.ToString();

// Compilation
//instanciate csharp compiler
System.CodeDom.Compiler.ICodeCompiler MyCompiler = provider.CreateCompiler();
System.CodeDom.Compiler.CompilerParameters cp = new CompilerParameters();
cp.GenerateExecutable = true;
cp.CompilerOptions= " /target:exe";

//where your exe will be saved
cp.OutputAssembly = "c:\\echo.exe";
// Invoke compilation.
CompilerResults cr = MyCompiler.CompileAssemblyFromSource ( cp,rt1.Text);
// Return the results of compilation.

//eventually load compilation output to the listbox (usefull to debug)

//where is it?
MessageBox.Show ( cr.PathToAssembly );


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