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Posted 26 Feb 2011

Multi Targeted Add Reference Support in Productivity Power Tools

, 26 Feb 2011
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Multi Targeted Add Reference Support in Productivity Power Tools

The Add Reference dialog is not a new one in Visual Studio 2010 Productivity Power Tools, but in this release they updated this dialog with Multi Targeting feature. What is this multi targeting feature? If you are using the new Add Reference dialog of Productivity Power Tools since it was released, you might find that, some DLLs are not available there if your project is targeting Client Profile.

This post will discuss about this. Now, using the updated add reference dialog, you can see all DLLs which are not available in Client Profile framework. This will also give you the option to add those assemblies in your project. So, let's discuss about it.


If you are new to Productivity Power Tools, you can find some resources here. If you are new to Add Reference dialog, then the following post will help you to understand it:

If you are using the "Add Reference" dialog which was shipped in the previous release, you might have noticed that if your application is targeting Client Profile environment, you are not able to find all the assemblies which you want to add. This was due to the fact that the dialog was not supporting multiple framework.

This time, Productivity Power Tools includes the multiple framework support and you will see all assembly references in the Add Reference dialog even if you are using the client profile. Let us have a short discussion.

In-Depth Discussion

Let's create a project which targets ".NET Framework 3.5 Client Profile" framework. You can verify it in the project properties. If you find a different one than this, I will suggest you to change it to the same as shown below:


As your project now targeting 3.5 Client Profile runtime, let's right click on the project and click "Add Reference". I assume that you already installed the extension in your VS2010 IDE and the new dialog is configured.

In the Add Reference dialog, you will now see all the DLL assembly references as shown below:


Here you will notice that some assemblies are in normal color, i.e., Black and rest of them are Grayed. The normal text color represents supported DLLs for the targeted framework whereas the grayed text represents unsupported framework.


For example, if you want to add any supported DLL library, it will add them without any issue, as shown in the below screenshot:


Now, if you want to add an unsupported assembly, which is marked as gray, you will face a little difference now.


Here you will notice that instead of a green arrow, it will show a warning icon just beside the library and it will also show a warning message to you as stated in the below snapshot:


This notifies you that the IDE will change the targeted framework to .NET 3.5. Once you click on the close button, it will produce the below alert message:


Clicking "Yes" will close the solution and mark the project for the .NET Framework 3.5 which it needs to add the reference of the DLL assembly. It will then reload the project with the new assembly reference.

To verify, go to the project property panel once again. You will see that the targeted framework is now ".NET Framework 3.5".


Hope this information will help you while working with it. The extension is available freely in the Visual Studio Gallery site. Alternatively, you can download it via Visual Studio Extension Manager.


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)


About the Author

Kunal Chowdhury «IN»
Software Developer (Senior)
India India
Kunal Chowdhury is a Microsoft "Windows Platform Development" MVP (Most Valuable Professional), a Codeproject Mentor, Telerik Developer Expert, Nokia Developer Champion, Windows 10 Champion, Microsoft Rockstar, Speaker in various Microsoft events, Author, passionate Blogger and a Software Engineer by profession.

He is currently working in an MNC located in India. He has a very good skill over XAML, C#, Silverlight, Windows Phone, WPF and Windows Store (WinRT) app development. He posts his findings, articles, tutorials in his technical blog and CodeProject.

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Comments and Discussions

GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
mbcrump2-Mar-11 7:50
membermbcrump2-Mar-11 7:50 
GeneralRe: My vote of 5 Pin
Kunal_Chowdhury2-Mar-11 16:04
mvpKunal_Chowdhury2-Mar-11 16:04 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
Anil_Saran28-Feb-11 19:21
memberAnil_Saran28-Feb-11 19:21 
GeneralRe: My vote of 5 Pin
Kunal_Chowdhury2-Mar-11 7:30
mvpKunal_Chowdhury2-Mar-11 7:30 
GeneralMy Vote of 5 Pin
RaviRanjankr28-Feb-11 3:12
memberRaviRanjankr28-Feb-11 3:12 
GeneralRe: My Vote of 5 Pin
Kunal_Chowdhury28-Feb-11 19:20
mvpKunal_Chowdhury28-Feb-11 19:20 

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