3 ways SmartAssembly will improve your software:
.NET applications can be easy to disassemble if they haven't been obfuscated, which can be a problem if you've invested time, effort, and money in your code. Obfuscating your code is easy to do and adds a barrier of protection against reverse-engineering and modification.
To learn about how to obfuscate your code, watch our webinar recording.
You’ll find below a comparison between what someone would see before your code is obfuscated and after code obfuscation.
Multiple forms of Obfuscation and Optimization
Code Obfuscation makes your application hard to reverse-engineer, removes non-useful code, and compresses dependencies, protecting and compacting your application with a minimum of fuss.
- Name mangling
Changes the names of methods and fields to make it hard to understand their purpose.
- Control flow obfuscation
Converts the code inside methods to 'spaghetti code' to make it difficult to see how the application works.
References dynamic proxy
Creates a proxy for calls to methods outside of your assembly to make it hard to find external calls.
Encodes the strings used in your software to hide such information as passwords and SQL queries.
Resources compression and encryption
Compresses and encrypts managed resources to make them hard to understand, and to reduce the size of the assembly.
Removes non-useful metadata to make the code harder to reverse-engineer, reduce the size of the assembly, and improve loading time.
Takes all the DLLs and merges dependencies into the main assembly, so you don't have to load lots of DLL files, and so that they can also be obfuscated.
Dependencies compression and embedding
Compresses and embeds your dependencies into your main assembly, simplifying the deployment of your software and reducing the size of your program.
Method parent obfuscation
Moves methods in your code by changing the class they are in, making it harder to understand how methods and classes relate to each other.
Strong name signing with tamper protection
Signs your assembly and helps to protect it against modification (the additional tamper protection is not available in the Standard edition).
Excludes a member from obfuscation using custom attributes directly in your code.
SmartAssembly decodes obfuscated stack traces and generates .pdb files containing debugging information. This enables you to debug your assembly into your IDE, and get the full stack trace when an exception occurs. To top it off, SmartAssembly even helps to ensure that you're automatically releasing unneeded memory.
Integration and Support
Obfuscation can be integrated into build processes using MS Build or command-line, and supports .NET 2.0 to 4.5, Compact Framework 2.0 to 3.5, Silverlight 2.0 to 5.0, XNA, and Windows Phone 7, with some exceptions – see PDF for details.
Only one thing's worse than finding out your software has bugs: never finding out.
Most users won't bother to report bugs: it's tricky and technically challenging to remember and relate the details. It would be easier for everyone if you let your users just give you the whole story in one quick click, wouldn't it?
Automated Error Reporting is an exception handling mechanism that automatically and silently collects detailed information when errors occur. Although highly customizable, a typical error report consists of a full stack trace and details about the exception context (e.g. values of all the local variables).
The user just has to click "Send error reports" – no painful back and forth to get all the details. It's all there.
There are two main circumstances where Automated Error Reporting is particularly useful:
- In the pre-release phase (e.g. beta testing), when you want lots of early user feedback to help you ship a stable application.
- In post-release maintenance, when you want to streamline and speed up the process of debugging and fixing your software.
What are the benefits of Automated Error Reporting?
- Configuring and adding exception handling to your application takes seconds, involves very few changes to your code, yet gives you access to stacks of valuable feedback.
- No more time-consuming email exchanges to get all the necessary details. Your end-users can report unhandled exceptions at the click of a button, meaning you can fix bugs faster.
- You get continuous data on which unhandled exceptions are most recurrent, helping you prioritize the bugs which affect the most end-users.
- You can lower support costs by identifying and fixing the issues your end-users are actually experiencing.
Using the SDK, you can also package any data you want with the exception report, e.g. a log file or a screenshot taken at the time of the crash. You can even customize your exception handling dialog and ask the user for more information, or contact details so you can contact them when a fix is released.
If you track bugs with JIRA, SmartAssembly Sync for JIRA can save you even more time during the error-fixing process. It moves error reports across to your bug-tracking system automatically and even groups duplicate reports together. Find out more on the JIRA blog.
And if you're using SmartAssembly's Obfuscation functionality in your development, we've got you covered – SmartAssembly can decode obfuscated stack traces.
See how Automated Error Reporting works
Browse the web-based demo to view real error reports that have helped us improve our SQL Search tool. Alternatively, you can take a look at the free webinar recording below, or take a browse through our case studies, walkthroughs, and screenshots.
Free webinar recording:
SmartAssembly lead developer Alex Davies demonstrates how to use Automated Error Reporting to automatically gather comprehensive error reports from end-users whenever they hit a bug, and how to use these reports to deliver faster bug fixes. The demo lasts 30 minutes, and is followed by a Q&A session.
Range of standard templates
Send error reports with or without prompting the end-user.
Custom templates (available from the SDK)†
Gives you full control over the dialog box displayed to end-users when an exception occurs.
Categorize reports to quickly see the most common errors your users experience.
Shared exception reports
View the exception reports for applications built by any developer or build system in your organization.
System information always sent
The version of Windows, the .NET version, and a list of loaded assemblies are sent with the stack trace.
Attach files to error reports†
Log files, screenshots, and any other type of file can be attached to error reports.
Collect the end-user's email address
Impress your customers by telling them when the problem has been fixed.
Your error reports are encrypted while stored in the web service and are deleted from the server when you download them.
Web service hosted by Red Gate*
No complicated installation because Red Gate hosts the web service that error reports are sent to.
Custom web service†
Run the web service yourself for maximum flexibility.
* Important Note: Access to the error reporting web service (for downloading error reports) is enabled by adding a Support & Upgrades package to your purchase. We offer customers the opportunity to renew their Support contract one month before it expires.
† Important Note: Custom templates, attaching files, and the custom web service are only available with SmartAssembly Pro (part of the SDK package).
Integration and Support
Addition of Automated Error Reporting functionality can be integrated into build processes using MS Build or command-line, and supports .NET 1.1 to 4.0, Silverlight 2.0 to 4.0, XNA, and Windows Phone 7, with some exceptions – see PDF for details.
Compiling .NET code often results in multiple assembly files being created, including satellite DLLs, all of which are required for the program to run. While this is a non-issue during development, when it comes to deployment it often means an unwanted stage of users having to unzip files, or additional steps in the installer as DLLs are moved to specific places.
You can dramatically simplify your deployment process by using SmartAssembly to merge and embed the code from referenced DLLs into your main assembly.
- Deploy your .NET application in one file
- Improve the performance and protection of your software
Dependency merging takes all the DLLs and merges dependencies into the main assembly so you don't have to load lots of DLL files. When a dependency is merged, it becomes a part of the main assembly and the code from a merged dependency can therefore be obfuscated and pruned as well as code from the main assembly.
Dependencies Compression & Embedding
- Facilitate your software deployment and maintenance
- Reduce the size of your program
Dependencies compression and embedding allows referenced DLLs to be embedded into the main assembly as resources, instead of being merged into the main assembly's contents. This feature also compresses these resources and dynamically uncompresses them at runtime.
The difference between merging and embedding dependencies
You can control SmartAssembly's dependency merging and dependencies compression and embedding through the command line, so it is easily integrated into the build process, providing simple, reliable merging of dependencies on every build.
SmartAssembly can protect your Winforms, Silverlight, Windows Phone 7, ASP.NET applications and more. It can also be integrated into build processes using MS Build or the command-line.