Those of you who remember the "Classic" ASP days know that ASP's configuration information was stored in a binary repository called the Internet Information Services (IIS) metabase. To configure a classic ASP application, you had to modify the metabase, either through script or, more commonly, through the IIS Microsoft Management Console (MMC) snap-in.
Unlike classic ASP, all the available versions of ASP.NET do not require extensive use of the IIS metabase. Instead, ASP.NET uses an XML file-based configuration system that is much more flexible, accessible, and easier to use. When building ASP.NET, the ASP.NET team wanted to improve the manageability of the product. Although the release of ASP.NET 1.0 was a huge leap forward in Web application development, it really targeted the developer. What was missing was the focus on the administrator — the person who takes care of Web applications after they are built and deployed. ASP.NET today makes it quite easy for you to configure an ASP.NET application by working either directly with the various configuration files or by using GUI tools that, in turn, interact with configuration files. Before examining the various GUI-based tools in detail in Chapter 37, you first take an in-depth look at how to work directly with the XML configuration files to change the behavior of your ASP.NET applications.
This chapter covers the following:
Introduction to the ASP.NET configuration file
An overview of the ASP.NET configuration ...