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How to make your Web Reference proxy URL dynamic

, 30 Nov 2005
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This is a quick helper to allow you to make the web reference URLs for your WSDL proxies easier to configure when switching environments.


I have been asked before, how to make the URL property for a web reference to a web service in a project, configurable in a config file instead of compiled in the web reference proxy. This is most useful when you want to deploy a project with a web reference between different business environments (like between Test/QA and Production) without recompiling the project. There is a simple way to do this that requires no coding at all on the developer's part (provided you are using Visual Studio for .NET).

Getting Started

To follow this article, first you need to have a compiled web service to reference, and a project in which you wish to add a web reference. After you have added your web reference (which creates the proxy class with references to the web service for you automatically using VS .NET), you need to set your solution view to 'Show All':

Solution Explorer Show All Files

This shows the Reference.cs file for the This is the proxy class file that VS.NET generates automatically for you when you add a web reference.

Open up this file and notice under the constructor for the proxy class that the URL is hard coded for you inside the constructor:

Sample screenshot

Changing the URL from Static to Dynamic

We are going to change the hard coded URL in the proxy class Reference.cs to a key in the web.config of the web service client project. An appSettings section will be added automatically with the current URL, and code will be placed in the Reference.cs proxy class constructor to look for the URL there. All this will be done by changing one property setting on the proxy reference.

If you look at the web reference properties (below):

Sample screenshot

you can see that there is a configuration setting called 'URL Behavior'. This setting is by default set to Static.

Sample screenshot

To make the URL in the Reference.cs map class code behind look for the web service URL in your web.config file, we need to change this setting to Dynamic:

Sample screenshot

Doing this in VS.NET does two things for you. It changes the Reference.cs file to have the code to look for the WSDL URL in the project's web.config file:

Sample screenshot

And it adds the URL as a key value to the projects web.config file under appSettings:

Sample screenshot

Now you can set the URL to different servers for deployment in different environments, without having to change the code. You just change the URL in your config file for your project.


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About the Author

Christopher G. Lasater
Web Developer
United States United States
Christopher G. Lasater
I am also a published author, please check out my book:
ISBN: 1-59822-031-4
Title: Design Patterns
Author:Christopher G. Lasater
More from my web site

Comments and Discussions

GeneralMy vote of 5 PinprofessionalAmol_B26-Jun-13 21:05 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pinmemberpen56015-Jan-13 20:44 
GeneralMy vote of 1 Pinmemberrakeshhegishte4-Jun-12 3:14 
QuestionVS 2010 Pinmemberhidekiwing20-Mar-12 6:53 
QuestionI am not getting the code PinmemberKumar_Gaurav8-Feb-12 22:04 
GeneralThanks PinmemberMember 769377324-May-11 2:39 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pinmembercoreprojectthang14-Nov-10 22:44 
GeneralDoesn't work with VS 2008 Pinmemberfreephone13-Oct-10 15:59 
GeneralThank you Thank you Thank you Pinmemberadg123419-Sep-10 21:43 
GeneralSeems slightly different for a Forms App ... (there is no web.config file) PinmemberMartin Koster12-Jan-09 0:23 
GeneralIt only works if you don't use the WSE types Pinmemberstephg12317-May-08 7:54 
GeneralThanks Pinmemberlcsistemas1-May-08 7:24 
GeneralThat is pretty staightforward. PinmemberMember 45177303-Dec-07 11:00 
GeneralIn VS05 WinForm and ClassLibrary projects applicationSettings section is used PinmemberMichael Freidgeim7-May-06 18:09 
GeneralA better way PinmemberBen Powell6-Dec-05 5:54 
GeneralRe: A better way Pinmemberbass4g0d23-Jan-06 1:23 
GeneralRe: A better way Pinmembermikker_1233-Apr-06 0:51 
AnswerRe: A better way PinmemberPeter_Bridger20-Aug-10 0:24 
GeneralRe: A better way [modified] Pinmemberdavid markal30-Apr-12 3:40 
GeneralRe: A better way [modified] PinmemberStuart Dobson7-Oct-12 18:48 
GeneralIt works, sort of.... PinmemberZod The Mighty1-Dec-05 5:20 
GeneralRe: It works, sort of.... Pinmemberchris lasater1-Dec-05 6:27 
GeneralRe: It works, sort of.... PinmemberZod The Mighty1-Dec-05 7:54 
GeneralIt works but ... PinmemberDoubin30-Nov-05 23:13 
GeneralRe: It works but ... Pinmemberlunky1-Dec-05 2:33 
GeneralRe: It works but ... Pinmemberceddie8-Dec-05 16:56 
GeneralRe: It works but ... Pinmemberlunky9-Dec-05 4:29 
I don't think making proxies for proxies is time well spent. The solution presented makes the assembly "truly dynamic" as you say w/o the extra plumbing.
GeneralRe: It works but ... Pinmemberceddie9-Dec-05 5:53 
GeneralRe: It works but ... Pinmemberfloverso1-Dec-06 12:18 
GeneralRe: It works but ... Pinmemberfloverso1-Dec-06 12:19 
GeneralRe: It works but ... Pinmembercyberpunk_np7-May-07 19:42 

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