Deploying Native Binaries

If your extension depends on a native binary, you have to do some tricks to get the binary to be copied into the experimental hive directory for testing and including in your VSIX for deployment.

I was doing some manual copies in my post build event that was brittle, and had to explicitly include the native binaries as content.

Another way

nulltoken had given out a helpful hint on using msbuild directives to stream-line this process:

You might be willing to glance at https://github.com/libgit2/libgit2sharp/blob/vNext/LibGit2Sharp/CopyNativeDependencies.targets and the way it's being used in LibGit2Sharp.Tests.csproj

How to do it

I adapted this approach for my project. First, I define a reference to native binaries that live in the nuget directory. $(MSBuildProjectDirectory) refers to directory containing the .csproj file.


The nice thing about using MSBuild directives is that you can use pattern matching to include files. $(NativeBinariesDirectory)\**\*.*" specifies all the native files I want to include in the project. The Link directive describes how the file is displayed in the solution explorer. CopyToOutputDirectory is used to copy the binaries in the output bin directory (but not vsix). IncludeInVSIX is what makes sure these files will be included in the experimental hive extension folder as well as the packaged .VSIX file.

    <Content Include="$(NativeBinariesDirectory)\**\*.*">

In conclusion

Finally, I initially tried nulltoken's solution directly, but couldn't find out how to get it to work in the context of a visual studio extension.

This was useful for helping me understand some of the concepts: Relevant Stack Overflow quesition