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Posted 30 Jan 2016
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Using External Config Files in .NET Applications

, 30 Jan 2016
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Using external config files in .NET applications

The config file is a place where common variables, database connection strings, web page settings and other common stuff are placed. The config file is also dynamic, so you can change the value of the variable in the config file  without compiling and deploying the .NET app. In multi tenancy environment config file can be complicated for deployment, because  for each tenant, different value must be set for most of the defined variables. In such a situation, you have to be careful to set the right value for the right tenant.

One way of handling this is to hold separate config file for each tenant. But the problem can be variables which are the same for all tenants, and also the case where some variables can be omitted for certain tenants.

One of the solutions for this can be defining external config files for only connection strings or appSettings variables, or any other custom config section. In this blog post, I will be presenting how to define connection strings as well as appSettings section in separate config file.

Let's say you have appSettings and connectionStrings config sections, similar like the code below:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?>
<configuration>
    <startup> 
        <supportedRuntime version="v4.0" sku=".NETFramework,Version=v4.5" />
    </startup>

	<connectionStrings>
		<add name="SQLConnectionString01" 

		connectionString="Data Source=sourcename01;Initial Catalog=cat01;
		Persist Security Info=True;Integrated Security=true;"/>
		<add name="SQLConnectionString02" 

		connectionString="Data Source=sourcename02;Initial Catalog=cat02;
		Persist Security Info=True;Integrated Security=true;"/>
	</connectionStrings>

	<appSettings>
		<clear />
		<!-- Here are list of appsettings -->
		<add key="Var1" value="Var1 value from config01" />
		<add key="Var2" value="Varn value from config01"/>
		<add key="Var3" value="Var3 value from main config file"/>
	</appSettings>

</configuration>

There are three appSetting keys Var1 , Var2 and Var3 and two connectionstrings in the app.config.

The config file above can be split in such a way that variables Var1 and Var2 be defined in separated file, but the Var3 can remain in the main config file. Separate config file may be unique for each tenant.

Now the main config file looks like the following:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?>
<configuration>
    <startup> 
        <supportedRuntime version="v4.0" sku=".NETFramework,Version=v4.5" />
    </startup>

	<connectionStrings configSource="config\connString01.config"/>

	<appSettings file="config\config01.config">
		
		<add key="Var3" value="Var3 value from main config file"/>
	</appSettings>

</configuration>

In the Visual Studio Solution, there is config folder in which we created two config files for appSettings section and two config files for Connectionstrings section, in case we have two separate environments for deployments.

exconfigfile01

The following code snippet shows the appSettings section implemented in the external file:

<appSettings file="appSettings.config">

	<!-- Here are list of appsettings -->
	<add key="Var1" value="Var1 value from config02" />
	<!-- ... -->
	<add key="Varn" value="Varn value from config02"/>
</appSettings>

The external config file for connection strings looks similar to the following:

exconfigfile02

The simple console application shows how to use these config variables in the code:

static void Main(string[] args)
{
    var var1Value= ConfigurationManager.AppSettings["Var1"];
    var var2Value = ConfigurationManager.AppSettings["Var2"];
    var var3Value = ConfigurationManager.AppSettings["Var3"];
    var conn1 = ConfigurationManager.ConnectionStrings["SQLConnectionString01"];
    var conn2 = ConfigurationManager.ConnectionStrings["SQLConnectionString02"];

    Console.WriteLine("Values from config01.config and connString01.config files");

    Console.WriteLine("Var1={0}",var1Value);
    Console.WriteLine("Var2={0}", var2Value);
    Console.WriteLine("Var3={0}", var3Value);
    Console.WriteLine("ConnStr01={0}", conn1);
    Console.WriteLine("ConnStr01={0}", conn2);

    Console.Read();
}

The complete source code can be downloaded from this link.

Filed under: .NET, C#, CodeProject, Visual Studio
Tagged: .NET, C#, C#5.0, CodeProject, Visual Studio

License

This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)

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About the Author

Bahrudin Hrnjica
Software Developer (Senior)
Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bahrudin Hrnjica holds a PhD degree in Technical Science/Engineering from University in Bihać.
Besides teaching at University, he is in software industry for more than two decades, focusing on development technologies e.g. .NET, Visual Studio, Desktop/Web/Cloud solutions.

He works on development and application of a different ML algorithms.In the development of the ML-oriented solutions and modeling, he has more than 10 years of experience. His field of the interest is also the development of predictive models with the CNTK and Keras, but also actively develop two ML based .NET open source projects: GPdotNET-genetic programming tool and ANNdotNET - deep learning tool on .NET platform. He works in multidisciplinary teams with the mission of optimizing and selecting the ML algorithms to build ML models.

He is the author of several books, and many online articles, writes a blog at http://bhrnjica.net, regularly holds lectures at local and regional conferences, User groups and Code Camp gatherings, and is also the founder of the Bihac Developer Meetup Group. Microsoft recognizes his work, and awarded him with the prestigious Microsoft MVP title for the first time in 2011, which he still holds today.

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Generalhttp Pin
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