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Dynamic Code Generation and Code Compilation

Posted by mercy_gp Articles | C# Language December 16, 2002
This is a simple application for generating the code dynamically and compiling it dynamically.
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This is a simple application for generating the code dynamically and compiling it dynamically. I have given two classes, GenerateClass, which generates a class on the fly, and RunClass, which compiles the generated class.

For dynamic code generation and code compilation, we have the CodeDom technology. Before going into the sample, let me give you a short introduction to CodeDom. Some applications need the generation and or compilation of source code at run time. The .NET Framework SDK provides a standard mechanism called the Code Document Object Model(CodeDOM) that enables the output of the source code in multiple programming languagesat run time, based on the single model that represents the code to render. The CodeDom namespace of .NET provides:

1. A single model for rendering the source code. Therefore, we can extend the set of supported languages.
2. A way to represent source code in a language independent object model.
3. Programs can be dynamically created, compiled and executed at run time.

CodeDom architecture can conceptually represent most programming constructs. However there are several limitations to the current CodeDom implementation. A few to mention are variable declaration list, unsafe modifier, aliasing the namespaces, nested namespaces, and others. To represent the constructs that are not provided by CodeDom, we can make use of the Snippet classes. 

To talk about the dynamic code generation and compilation, I have chosen the traditional example, Hello World. I tried to generate a code that will look like the following.

namespace Samples
{
using System;
public class HelloWorld
{
public HelloWorld()
{
writeHelloWorld();
}
private void writeHelloWorld()
{
System.Console.WriteLine("Hello World!!");
}
public static void Main()
{
HelloWorld hw =
new HelloWorld();
}
}
}

Now let us see how to generate the code. To generate the code, we need to create IcodeGenerator and CsharpCodeProvider. Have a TextWriter to write the generated class. 

//output file name
string fileName = "HelloWorld.cs";
//text writer to write the code
TextWriter tw = new StreamWriter(new FileStream(fileName, FileMode.Create));
//code generator and code provider
ICodeGenerator codeGenerator = new CSharpCodeProvider().CreateGenerator();
CSharpCodeProvider cdp =
new CSharpCodeProvider();
codeGenerator = cdp.CreateGenerator();

Declare the namespace for the class and adds the includes to the class.

CodeNamespace Samples = new CodeNamespace("Samples");
Samples.Imports.Add(
new CodeNamespaceImport("System"));

Create the class.

CodeTypeDeclaration Class1 = new CodeTypeDeclaration("HelloWorld");
Samples.Types.Add(Class1);
Class1.IsClass =
true;

The constructor for the created class is 

CodeConstructor cc = new CodeConstructor();
cc.Attributes = MemberAttributes.Public;
cc.Statements.Add(mi1);
Class1.Members.Add(cc);

The method writeHelloWorld can be given as

CodeMemberMethod Method1 = new CodeMemberMethod();
Method1.Name = "writeHelloWorld";
Method1.ReturnType =
new CodeTypeReference(typeof(void));
//Method1.Parameters.Add(new CodeParameterDeclarationExpression(typeof(string), "text"));
CodeMethodInvokeExpression cs1 = new CodeMethodInvokeExpression(new CodeTypeReferenceExpression("System.Console"), "WriteLine", new CodePrimitiveExpression("Hello World!!"));
Method1.Statements.Add(cs1);
Class1.Members.Add(Method1);

To create an executable, we should mention the entry point of the application. The method, Main is given as

CodeEntryPointMethod Start = new CodeEntryPointMethod();
Start.Statements.Add(
new CodeSnippetStatement("HelloWorld hw = new HelloWorld();"));
Class1.Members.Add(Start);

Finally generate the source code file.

codeGenerator.GenerateCodeFromNamespace(Samples, tw, null);

Now, let us see how to compile and run the code at run time. For this we need the ICodeCompiler.

ICodeCompiler cc = new CSharpCodeProvider().CreateCompiler();

Set all the compiler parameters that you want. Note if you want to compile an assembly, set the GenerateExecutable to false.

CompilerParameters cp = new CompilerParameters();
cp.ReferencedAssemblies.Add("system.dll");
//includes
cp.GenerateExecutable = true; //generate executable

After setting the parameters, compile the code and get the results. Check out for errors, if any.

CompilerResults cr = cc.CompileAssemblyFromFile(cp, fileName);
if(cr.Errors.HasErrors)
{
StringBuilder error =
new StringBuilder();
error.Append("Error Compiling Expression: ");
foreach (CompilerError err in cr.Errors)
{
error.AppendFormat("{0}\n", err.ErrorText);
}
throw new Exception("Error Compiling Expression: " + error.ToString());
}

The last step, get the assembly generated and create an instance to run.

Assembly a = cr.CompiledAssembly;
_Compiled = a.CreateInstance("Samples.HelloWorld");

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Contents added by amir yazdanparast on Aug 31, 2012
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