Summary: Discusses the distribution of Microsoft Visual C++ 2005 runtimes for C++ plug-ins
Updated: June 17, 2011
If you do not have Visual C++ 2005 installed on your computer, the Microsoft Visual C++ 2005 Redistributable Packages install runtime components of Visual C++ Libraries required to run C++ plug-ins developed with Visual C++.
These packages install runtime components of C Runtime (CRT), Standard C++, ATL, MFC, OpenMP, and MSDIA libraries. For libraries that support side-by-side deployment models (CRT, SCL, ATL, MFC, OpenMP) they are installed into the native assembly cache, also called WinSxS folder, on versions of Windows operating system that support side-by-side assemblies.
Any Rhino plug-in that you build has dependencies on assemblies (DLLs). A Rhino C++ plug-in, which is an MFC DLL, (in a release build) depends at least on the CRT (msvcr80.dll, msvcp80.dll) and MFC (mfc80.dll or mfc80u.dll) assemblies. You, the plug-in developer, have these assemblies on your machine because you have Visual C++ 2005 installed. But a machine without Visual C++ 2005 may not have them. To be able to run your plug-in on such machines, you have to redistribute these assemblies.
To redistribute the required assemblies, you need to know which version of the assemblies your plug-in requires. For example, a plug-in built with Visual C++ 2005 SP1 requires a different version of the Microsoft Visual C++ 2005 Redistributable Package than a plug-in built with a non-service packed version of Visual C++ 2005.
To know which Redistributable Package to include with your plug-in installation, you need to know what is installed on the system that built your plug-in. With the dozens of Microsoft Windows updates that have been available over the years, it can be a real challenge to determine what version, service pack, and security updates of Visual Studio 2005 you have installed.
One sure way to know what Redistributable Package your plug-in requires is to examine your plug-in's Manifest. A manifest is an XML document that can be an external XML file or a resource embedded inside an application or an assembly (plug-in). The manifest of an isolated application is used to manage the names and versions of shared side-by-side assemblies to which the application should bind at run time. The manifest of a side-by-side assembly specifies its dependencies on names, versions, resources, and other assemblies.
One way to determine the required assemblies of your plug-in is to use the Manifest Tool (MT.EXE) included with Visual C++ 2005. For example, from a Visual Studio command prompt, you can do the following:
C:\Plug-ins\cpp\PlugIn1\Release>mt -inputresource:plugin1.rhp;#2 -out:manifest.txt
Typically, EXEs have an embedded manifest in resource #1, while DLLs have the manifest in resource #2. If you do not find a manifest resource in #1, check #2. Here is the contents of “manifest.txt” created by MT.EXE.
<assembly xmlns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:asm.v1" manifestVersion="1.0"> <dependency> <dependentAssembly> <assemblyIdentity type="win32" name="Microsoft.VC80.CRT" version="8.0.50727.5592" processorArchitecture="x86" publicKeyToken="1fc8b3b9a1e18e3b" /> </dependentAssembly> </dependency> <dependency> <dependentAssembly> <assemblyIdentity type="win32" name="Microsoft.VC80.MFC" version="8.0.50727.5592" processorArchitecture="x86" publicKeyToken="1fc8b3b9a1e18e3b" /> </dependentAssembly> </dependency> </assembly>
In this example, we can see that the required verison of CRT and MFC is 8.0.50727.5592. In this case, include the Microsoft Visual C++ 2005 Service Pack 1 Redistributable Package MFC Security Update when distributing this plug-in.
Besides the Manifest Tool (MT.EXE) included with Visual C++ 2005, there are other useful tools for helping determine required assemblies.
Dependency Walker, by Steve P. Miller, is a free utility that scans any 32-bit or 64-bit Windows module (EXE, DLL, RHP, etc.) and builds a hierarchical tree diagram of all dependent modules. Dependency Walker is useful for troubleshooting system errors related to loading and executing modules.
Manifest View, by Kenny Kerr, is also a free utility for viewing an application's manifest. This tool is similar to the Manifest Tool but much easier to use.