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Posted 9 Oct 2007

Manage Web.config from an XML file by using the configSource attribute in ASP.NET 2.0

, 9 Oct 2007
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How to manage Web.config from an XML file by using the configSource attribute in ASP.NET 2.0.

Screenshot - coolcode.gif


The configSource attribute was firstly introduced in .NET Framework 2.0 to support external configuration files.

After uploading my website to an online server, I needed to manage the website setting from Web.Config, therefore I saved appSettings, connectionStrings, and all settings that I needed to manage in separate XML files, to ease managing and organizing.

This can be done by using the configSource attribute. The configSource attribute was firstly introduced in .NET Framework 2.0 to support external configuration files. This attribute can be added to any configuration section to specify an external file for that section. Using an external configuration source can be useful in many scenarios. For instance, you could place a section into an external configSource if you need an easy method to swap settings for the section depending on the environment.

Using the code

First create an XML file for each web.Config section like appSettings.xml, ConnectionString.xml …, and set the file in the App_Data folder to protect.

Copy each section from web.config and set in XML file as in the following example (appSettings.xml):

<?xml version="1.0" standalone="yes"?>
  <add key="EnableErrorPage" value="false" />
  <add key="RequiredLogin" value="false" />
  <add key="PublicationsEmail" value="" />
  <add key="AdminFromEmail" value=" " />
  <add key="AdminToEmail" value=" " />
  <add key="SupportEmail" value="" />

In Web.config, change the appSettings tag to:

<appSettings configSource="App_Data\WebConfigXML\appSettings.xml"/>

The configSource attribute must be a relative physical path.

Repeat this for each web.config section (connectionStrings, smtp, …).

Now you can manage the XML file from a secure page by using a Gridview control to edit and update the values.


The web.config file is smaller and hence easier to read, and you don't need a complete web.config file for each environment.


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


About the Author

Mohammad Sbeeh
Team Leader Consulting Company with specialist skills in Porta
Jordan Jordan
Mohammad Sbeeh born in November 24th, 1983 in Amman - Jordan, He is Senior Web Developer(Information technology Department) in Information Technology International company.

The higher education in Philadelphia University, IT - Software Engineering Department, I have been programming and web developer for 4 years, and have been working with the .NET framework 1.0 and 2.0 since the beginning of 2003, in both VB.NET and C#.

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Comments and Discussions

GeneralMy vote of 4 Pin
jay@begginer3-Sep-13 22:45
memberjay@begginer3-Sep-13 22:45 
GeneralCustom configuration sections Pin
sico10-Feb-09 3:03
membersico10-Feb-09 3:03 
GeneralRe: Custom configuration sections Pin
Om Rudi13-Feb-09 19:52
memberOm Rudi13-Feb-09 19:52 
AnswerRe: Custom configuration sections Pin
Mohammad Sbeeh13-Feb-09 21:18
memberMohammad Sbeeh13-Feb-09 21:18 
GeneralRe: Custom configuration sections Pin
Om Rudi14-Feb-09 9:57
memberOm Rudi14-Feb-09 9:57 
QuestionApplication restart ? Pin
epaquet16-Oct-07 17:26
memberepaquet16-Oct-07 17:26 
AnswerRe: Application restart ? Pin
Mohammad Sbeeh17-Oct-07 6:12
memberMohammad Sbeeh17-Oct-07 6:12 
AnswerRe: Application restart ? Pin
Roger Martin18-Oct-07 9:22
memberRoger Martin18-Oct-07 9:22 
GeneralOne suggestion Pin
tmorrison11-Oct-07 17:41
membertmorrison11-Oct-07 17:41 
GeneralRe: One suggestion Pin
Mohammad Sbeeh11-Oct-07 20:47
memberMohammad Sbeeh11-Oct-07 20:47 
GeneralRe: One suggestion Pin
dollychopra18-Jul-10 21:09
memberdollychopra18-Jul-10 21:09 
Generalthanks.. Pin
Michael Sync10-Oct-07 0:03
memberMichael Sync10-Oct-07 0:03 

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