Dead Ends and Wasted Time

It’s easy to write about success, but not so easy to write about failure. Not just failure either, but unresolved failure.

Some quick specifics:

1. At work I tried to introduce a new library to a .NET project. Specifically the Thinktecture.IdenityModel.dll library.
2. In its assembly manifest it wants version of the Newtonsoft.Json.dll.
3. My project references lots of other projects with really, really, really old versions of Newtonsoft.Json.dll.
4. When old meets new, I get errors that .NET can’t find the version of Newtonsoft. The older version has won and is used across the board.

Unfortunately I lost an entire day trying to resolve this issue. I’m pretty sure some engineer out there would have a clean and clear solution for it, but I couldn’t find that guy online. =)

Things I tried:

1. Merging all DLLs Thinktecture needs into one mega DLL with ilmerge.exe. Didn’t work, but man ilmerge.exe was fun to work with. Good to know it exists.
2. Upgrading the references to the old Newtonsoft.Json.dll. Didn’t work because there are breaking changes between old and new (~2.0 and 4.5).
3. Explicitly referencing the new version in the web.config for my project. I found all sorts of ways to do this online and none of them worked.
4. Turning on assembly loading tracing. This was also really fun and interesting. Super cool to see how .NET is loading assemblies. Ultimately no help though.

When I’m stuck in a maze I tend to only go back 2-3 steps and then try a new approach. After burning through an entire day though, it’s time to take 10 steps back and try a different path.

Dead Ends and Wasted Time

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