MissingManifestResourceException may not mean what you think it means

1 12 2010

After a very minor change I made in a .NET form’s code I started getting a System.Resources.MissingManifestResourceException every time the form was opened. I haven’t changed anything to do with the resources or the project file so I couldn’t understand what was going on.

A cow-orker was called in to assist and he promptly tried to open the designer (this is something I never do, I’m a “view code” kind of guy) and the designer failed to open because:

Visual Studio requires that designers use the first class in the file.

Indeed my change was to add a static helper class to the namespace

namespace Foo.Bar
{
+    public static class SomeFeature
+    {
+        static bool enabled;
+        static SomeFeature() 
+        {
+            /* initialize enabled */
+        }
+        public static bool Enabled
+        {
+            get  {  return enabled;  }
+        }
+    }

  public partial class LameForm : Form
  {

Moving the SomeFeature class to another file solved the issue.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Microsoft for making this a runtime error rather than a compile time error (or warning) and for not giving a clear and relevant exception, otherwise I may have had to find something else to do all day (like some real work God forbid).

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