Linking resources from a static library

I came across a situation where we have a static library that need to be loaded to an exe. Both have their own resources. Here, the problem is when the exe loads the library, it will not load it’s resources. It will only have it’s own resources and when the application tries to access the resource even from within the library, it will cause an exception.

A common solution for this problem is using a dll instead of the static library and loading it’s resources dynamically. But what if we have restrictions on number of binaries to be shipped? In my case the client wanted to ship it as a single exe, so he declined the option of using a dll. Another solution was to add the resource file( RC file ) of the library to the project of the executable. But that too is not a good practice since adding resource to the exe is like exposing the source of the library file. Also it may cause resource conflict. So one may need to rearrange the resource.h files.

A solution that possibly worked for me was an unchosen answer came on stack overflow. It suggested, linking the compiled resource file( RES file ) of the static library along with the same. You can do that by mentioning the relative path of the res file in the linker input of the executable. You can adjust the path in which the res file is to be built to make things clean. If you check, you can see that the res file is a binary file. So, no worry on exposing the source. When I tried the same, I it really worked! If there is a resource conflict where two dialogs IDs have same value, the linker ( VS 2008 ) will generate an error like this:

1>CVTRES : fatal error CVT1100: duplicate resource.  type:DIALOG, name:101, language:0x0409
1>LINK : fatal error LNK1123: failure during conversion to COFF: file invalid or corrupt

So there will no longer be an exception at run-time. I don’t know whether this is a good way or not, but it saved my day!


One comment

  1. We had a similar issue but we had to ship our own static library with 2 files: .lib and .h. So the company / person who is using our static library won’t be able to link the main application to the resource as well. Do you think there is a way to do that? Maybe a way to load the resource dynamically during runtime (form a static array created by ‘bin2c’) but then making it look and behave like a real resource, so functions like LoadIcon will be able to access it?

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