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ASP.NET 2.0 Quickstart Tutorials

Managing Your ASP.NET Application

What's New in 2.0

  • Configuration API - The configuration API allows you to write programs and tools to examine and modify application configuration, using a full strongly typed configuration API that even works on remote computers.


  • New Configuration Tools - ASP.NET 2.0 includes rich management tools you can use to easily edit application configuration settings in the IIS Administration Manager and in Visual Studio 2005.


  • Configuration Encryption - ASP.NET 2.0 allows you to protect your sensitive settings using built-in support for encrypting configuration sections.
This section decribes these and other management features in ASP.NET 2.0.


A central requirement of any Web application server is a rich and flexible configuration and management system -- one that enables you to easily associate settings with an installable application (without having to "bake" values into code) and enables administrators to easily manage and customize these values after deployment. ASP.NET includes a configuration system designed to meet the needs of both of these audiences; it provides a hierarchical configuration infrastructure that enables extensible configuration data to be defined and used throughout an application, site, and/or machine. And, ASP.NET includes a full suite of tools to configure web applications. ASP.NET has the following features for configuration and management of web applications:

  • ASP.NET allows configuration settings to be stored together with static content, dynamic pages, and business objects within a single application directory hierarchy. A user or administrator simply needs to copy a single directory tree to set up an ASP.NET Framework application on a machine. Changes to ASP.NET configuration files are automatically detected by the system and are applied without requiring any user intervention (in other words, an administrator does not need to restart the Web server or reboot the machine for them to take effect).

  • Configuration data is stored in plain text files that are both human-readable and human-writable. Administrators and developers can use any standard text editor, XML parser, or scripting language to interpret and update configuration settings. However, ASP.NET 2.0 now also includes a set of configuration tools that can be used to visually configure a web application.

  • ASP.NET 2.0 now includes a full configuration management API that enables you to examine, read and modify configuration settings through a clean, strongly typed programming model. The management API automatically handles merging and unmerging settings inherited through the configuration hierarchy, allowing you to work with settings as simple objects. The configuration management API can even be used to edit configuration files on a remote computer.

  • ASP.NET provides an extensible configuration infrastructure that enables you to create your own configuration sectionss, define the persistence format of your configuration settings, intelligently participate in their processing, and control the resulting object model through which those settings are ultimately exposed.

  • Also new to ASP.NET 2.0 is the ability to encrypt individual configuration sections, which allows you to protect sensitive configuration settings like passwords and database connection strings.

To learn more about the ASP.NET configuration system, see Configuration File Format and Retrieving Configuration. To see how to use the new Configuration Management API to edit configuration, see Using the Management API. To look at tools available in ASP.NET for managing web applications, see Using Management Tools.