Lazy load assemblies in a Blazor WebAssembly application

  • Gérald Barré

When a Blazor WebAssembly application starts, it first gets all DLLs of the application. So, even if a DLL is used only in a specific page, it is loaded when the app loads. If you want to improve the startup performance, you can defer the loading of some application assemblies until they are required.

#Lazy loading assemblies

First, you need to edit the project file (csproj) and add the list of lazy-loaded assemblies using <BlazorWebAssemblyLazyLoad>:

<Project Sdk="Microsoft.NET.Sdk.Web">

  <PropertyGroup>
    <TargetFramework>net5.0</TargetFramework>
    <RuntimeIdentifier>browser-wasm</RuntimeIdentifier>
    <UseBlazorWebAssembly>true</UseBlazorWebAssembly>
  </PropertyGroup>

  <ItemGroup>
    <PackageReference Include="Microsoft.AspNetCore.Components.WebAssembly" Version="5.0.0-preview.8.20414.8" />
    <PackageReference Include="Microsoft.AspNetCore.Components.WebAssembly.DevServer" Version="5.0.0-preview.8.20414.8" PrivateAssets="all" />
    <PackageReference Include="YamlDotNet" Version="8.1.2" />
  </ItemGroup>

  <ItemGroup>
    <BlazorWebAssemblyLazyLoad Include="YamlDotNet" />
  </ItemGroup>

</Project>

This will change the way the blazor.boot.json file is generated. You should see a new section named lazyAssembly:

Now if you navigate to a page that needs the DLL, you'll get an error because the DLL is not loaded:

blazor.webassembly.js:1 crit: Microsoft.AspNetCore.Components.WebAssembly.Rendering.WebAssemblyRenderer[100]
Unhandled exception rendering component: Could not load file or assembly 'YamlDotNet, Version=8.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=ec19458f3c15af5e' or one of its dependencies.
System.IO.FileNotFoundException: Could not load file or assembly 'YamlDotNet, Version=8.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=ec19458f3c15af5e' or one of its dependencies.
File name: 'YamlDotNet, Version=8.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=ec19458f3c15af5e'
   at OnlineTools.Pages.YamlToJson.BuildRenderTree(RenderTreeBuilder __builder) in C:\Users\meziantou\source\repos\meziantou\online-tools\OnlineTools\Pages\YamlToJson.razor:line 0
   at Microsoft.AspNetCore.Components.ComponentBase.<.ctor>b__6_0(RenderTreeBuilder builder)
   at Microsoft.AspNetCore.Components.Rendering.ComponentState.RenderIntoBatch(RenderBatchBuilder batchBuilder, RenderFragment renderFragment)
   at Microsoft.AspNetCore.Components.RenderTree.Renderer.RenderInExistingBatch(RenderQueueEntry renderQueueEntry)
   at Microsoft.AspNetCore.Components.RenderTree.Renderer.ProcessRenderQueue()

To fix this error you need to load the DLL before navigating to the page. You can use the OnNavigateAsync router event to intercept the navigation and load the DLL when the user navigates to the page. To do so, you need to edit the App.razor component:

@inject Microsoft.AspNetCore.Components.WebAssembly.Services.LazyAssemblyLoader AssemblyLoader

<Router AppAssembly="@typeof(Program).Assembly"
        OnNavigateAsync="OnNavigateAsync"
        AdditionalAssemblies="lazyLoadedAssemblies">
    <Found Context="routeData">
        <RouteView RouteData="@routeData" DefaultLayout="@typeof(MainLayout)" />
    </Found>
    <NotFound>
        <LayoutView Layout="@typeof(MainLayout)">
            <p>Sorry, there's nothing at this address.</p>
        </LayoutView>
    </NotFound>
</Router>

@code{
    private List<System.Reflection.Assembly> lazyLoadedAssemblies = new List<System.Reflection.Assembly>();

    private async Task OnNavigateAsync(NavigationContext context)
    {
        if (context.Path == "yaml-to-json") // Url of the page that needs the lazy loaded assembly
        {
            var assemblies = await AssemblyLoader.LoadAssembliesAsync(new[] { "YamlDotNet.dll" });
            lazyLoadedAssemblies.AddRange(assemblies);
        }
    }
}
  • AssemblyLoader.LoadAssembliesAsync will fetch the assemblies requested via a network call and load them into the runtime.
  • AdditionalAssemblies is optional. It configures the router to search components that can match URIs in the lazy loaded assemblies. If the lazy-loaded DLLs don't contain any component, you can remove it.

#Showing loading indicator when loading DLLs

Loading the lazy-loaded assemblies could take time. During this time, you can show a loading indicator, so the user knows something is happening.

<Router AppAssembly="@typeof(Program).Assembly" OnNavigateAsync="OnNavigateAsync" AdditionalAssemblies="lazyLoadedAssemblies">
    <Found Context="routeData">
        <RouteView RouteData="@routeData" DefaultLayout="@typeof(MainLayout)" />
    </Found>
    <NotFound>
        <LayoutView Layout="@typeof(MainLayout)">
            <p>Sorry, there's nothing at this address.</p>
        </LayoutView>
    </NotFound>
    <Navigating>
        <p>Loading the page...</p>
    </Navigating>
</Router>

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