Building Ice Applications for .NET

This page provides important information for .NET developers.

On this page:

Building Ice Applications for .NET with Visual Studio

Install the following software and then refer to the Ice Builder for Visual Studio instructions:

  1. A supported version of Visual Studio
    With Visual Studio 2017, you can optionally install the .NET Core cross-development toolset to create applications for .NET Core 2.0.

  2. The Ice Builder for Visual Studio extension
  3. The NuGet package, described later on this page

Building Ice Applications for .NET with the .NET Core SDK

Install the following software and then refer to the Ice Builder for MSBuild instructions:

  1. The .NET Core SDK for your operating system

  2. The NuGet package, described later on this page
  3. The slice2cs compiler

slice2cs is a command-line tool written in C++ and available on most platforms

Platform Distribution Package with slice2cs
Ubuntu apt packages




Windows NuGet

On Windows, you can use Ice Builder for Visual Studio to configure Ice Builder for MSBuild.

Programming Language

You can use any .NET programming language with Ice, however, the preferred programming language for Ice .NET applications is C# since:

  • the only Slice language mapping for .NET is Slice to C#
  • the only Slice compiler for .NET, slice2cs, generates C# code
  • Ice for .NET is itself written in C# NuGet Package

The Ice for .NET ( NuGet package is organized as follows:

lib\net45 Assemblies for .NET Framework 4.5.1
lib\netstandard2.0 Assemblies for .NET Standard 2.0
tools slice2cs.exe, slice2html.exe (Windows-only native tools)

iceboxnet.exe app for .NET Framework 4.5.1, bzip2.dll Windows x64 native library


iceboxnet.dll app for .NET Core 2.0,  bzip2.dll Windows x64 native library

build MSBuild support files
slice Slice files

Adding to a Visual Studio or MSBuild project imports props files from the build folder into that project.

The props file defines the following properties:

IceVersion 3.7 Ice string version
IceIntVersion 30701 Ice version as a numeric value
IceVersionMM 3.7 Major Minor version
IceSoVersion 37 Version used in dynamic libraries
IceNugetPackageVersion 3.7.1 Nuget package numeric version
IceHome $(MSBuildThisFileDirectory)..\.. Full path to the package root folder
IceToolsPath $(IceHome)\tools Full path to the tools folder

These properties are used by Ice Builder, and you can also use them in custom build steps.

.NET Framework and .NET Standard Assemblies includes two sets of Ice assemblies: one set of assemblies for the .NET Framework 4.5 and another set for .NET Standard 2.0.

These assemblies are the same except for the differences described below:

  .NET Framework 4.5 Assemblies .NET Standard 2.0 Assemblies
Run-time platform Windows Windows, Linux, macOS
Target Framework .NET Framework 4.5.1 or greater on Windows Any implementation of .NET Standard 2.0, including .NET Core 2.0 and .NET Framework 4.6.1.
Ice properties can be read from the Windows Registry (tick) (error)
Signals caught by Ice.Application Signal catching implemented using the Windows native function SetConsoleCtrlHandler. Signal catching implemented using the portable .NET event Console.KeyPress.

The .NET Standard 2.0 assemblies are expected to work with any .NET implementation of .NET Standard 2.0, however, they are currently tested and supported only with .NET Core 2.0 on Windows and Linux.


Compression with bzip2

Ice for .NET supports the optional compression of Ice requests and responses using the bzip2 native library. The bzip2 native DLL for Windows x64 is included in the package. You can use the bzip2 system library on Linux and macOS.

Using the Sample Programs

Sample programs are available at the ice-demos GitHub repository. You can browse this repository to see build and usage instructions for all supported programming languages. You can clone this repository with:

git clone -b 3.7
cd ice-demos