Frank Kaaijk Frank Kaaijk - 11 days ago 4
C# Question

Any CPU not available in C++/C# solution

I have a solution that contains C# and managed C++ projects.
It compiles in the solution platform x64 and x86. Since it is managed C++ I wanted to create a 'Any CPU' solution and get rid of the old ones.

I changed the C++ project linker settings to Force Safe IL Image for both x64 and x86.

Next, using the Configuration Manager, I created a new solution platform called 'Any CPU'. Next I added a project platform also called 'Any CPU'.

I proceeded to set all the C# projects to 'Any CPU', but for the C++ I can't do that. The project platform 'Any CPU' is not in the drop down, and there is also no option 'New...'.

VS is adement about it, so I kept it like it was and started a build. To my surprise the result DLL (from the C++ project) was MSIL even though the platform for C++ was x64. Same happens when compiling x32, the resulting DLL is in MSIL.

What gives?
Why can't I set the C++ project to 'Any CPU'?

Answer

As far as I know, you cannot create an "AnyCPU" project type in Visual Studio for a C++/CLI project. However, you can configure your C++/CLI project (under the "Win32" project type) so that it compiles as pure, safe MSIL, without a target platform. Doing so will allow your C++/CLI DLL assembly to be used with an "AnyCPU" C# project. I.e. it's effectively "AnyCPU", even though that's not its actual name in the Configuration Manager.

In the "C/C++" project settings:

  • Common Language RunTime Support: Safe MSIL Common Language RunTime Support (/clr:safe)

In the "Linker" project settings:

  • CLR Image Type: just make sure this isn't set explicitly to IJW or PURE

Notes:

  • By using the "safe" project type, a few of the compiler and linker options which appear to affect platform type will be ignored. I.e. you don't have to go through and set everything to a non-specific platform type. Just the above. But you may set the other options to something appropriate, if it makes you feel better. :)
  • "Safe" will prevent the use of pointers. If this is an important issue, it is apparently possible to do albeit with a more complicated process. See Creating a pure MSIL assembly from a C++/CLI project? for details.
  • Don't forget that by default, Visual Studio will create C# projects that even though they are "AnyCPU" and even though they are executed on a 64-bit OS, will start up as a 32-bit process. This can hide platform-mismatch issues, if a dependency is x86 instead of pure/safe MSIL as intended. Just something be aware of (you can control this by unchecking the "Prefer 32-bit" option in the C# project's "Build" project properties page).
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