How Powershell helped me to solve the assembly conflict

In one of my test projects the tests suddenly started to fail. Which is a bad thing. What was was worse and strange was the reason why they were failing

System.TypeInitializationException : The type initializer for 'RMReportingPortalDataLayer.Strategies.ReportDeliveryStrategy' threw an exception.
----> System.IO.FileNotFoundException : Could not load file or assembly 'log4net, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=669e0ddf0bb1aa2a' or one of its dependencies. The system cannot find the file specified.}}

First I checked the bin directory and the assembly was not there. Then I checked the build log and found this line

No way to resolve conflict between "log4net, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=669e0ddf0bb1aa2a" and "log4net, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=692fbea5521e1304". Choosing "log4net, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=669e0ddf0bb1aa2a" arbitrarily.

Ok, there is a conflict between incompatible versions of log4net assembly. But which of the assemblies referenced in my project are suspects? How to check all the referenced assemblies of references assemblies? It’s task nobody would like to perform manually. I like Powershell so I googled around and found this post and made few changes – build the hash and write the formatted output to console:

$hash = $references | Group-Object Name, Version -AsString -AsHashTable

$hash.GetEnumerator() | Sort-Object Name | % { 
  $key = $_.Key.ToString().Trim()
  $value = $_.Value
  Write-Host $key
  $s = [string]::join([Environment]::NewLine + '   * ', ($value | Select-Object -ExpandProperty Who | Get-Unique | Sort-Object Who))
  Write-Host '   *', $s

Which produces nice output and all is clearer now :)

* Lib.Shared.Admin, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=3941ae83427745cf
* Lib.Shared, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=3941ae83427745cf
* Lib.Common, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=null

I was referencing older version of Lib.Common library, so I updated it to latest version and problem was solved!

Note that the Powershell loads all the assemblies in the folder and keeps them loaded until the Powershell window is closed. Or you can spawn new Powershell process:

$command = [System.IO.File]::ReadAllText("path to dependencies.ps1")
$bytes = [System.Text.Encoding]::Unicode.GetBytes($command)
$encodedCommand = [Convert]::ToBase64String($bytes)
powershell -NoProfile -EncodedCommand $encodedCommand # |%{$_}

The script is not perfect and you have to change the path to bin directory …

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