This walkthrough will show how to set up a simple component on IIS and access it through an ASP.NET webapp. Please refer to other articles to get background information on remoting. The goal of this project is to:
- Make a remote service hosted on IIS that authenticates users
- Make wrapper classes to abstract the remoting "fabric" to the client
- Set up an ASP.NET web application to consume the remote service through the wrapper assembly
No demo project is provided here because you'll have to do some setup with IIS an so forth yourselves. I didn't get this subject myself before I actually struggled with it on my own. So the intent here is to guide you through the process.
There are a lot of literature on .NET remoting out there. Ingo Rammer's book "Advanced .NET Remoting" is told to be great and his website (www.dotnetremoting.cc) for sure are. Other sources for this subject can be somewhat complex from time-to-time because they often are written by experienced COM/DCOM programmers. For me it seemed as they made it more difficult than it is. This is why I made this simple straight-forward walkthrough to get remoting up and running in a known environment for ASP.NET programmers. Here is my blog from yesterday with some more background.
First off: Define your service
Before you start coding, decide what your service is supposed to do, because you're going to make an interface. The interface will be built in a separate assembly (DLL) and deployed with both client and server application, so they have a common ground. My service, in this case, is supposed to authenticate users so I'll define my interface like this:
public interface IAuthenticationService
string Authenticate(string username, string password);
The interface takes username/password as parameters and returns an encrypted
String) that the ASP.NET application will use for creating a cookie for the authenticated user.
Secondly: The server application
To be able to run a class as a .NET remoting service you have to make a class that inherits
MarshalByRefOBject. We also want the class to implement the
IAuthenticationService interface defined above, so the client can use it.
public class AuthenticationService : MarshalByRefObject,
private IUserDAO UserDAO;
UserDAO = (IUserDAO)ServiceLocator.Instance.
public string Authenticate(string username, string password)
user = UserDAO.UserByEmailGet(username);
if(!(user.Password.CompareTo(password) == 0))
Piece of cake. Inherit
System.Runtime.Remoting) and implement the interface we made earlier. In this example I use a singleton
ServiceLocator class to delver an instance of a data access object for the data-service,
UserService. Then this service (
UserDAO) is used to fetch the user object that contains the password.
Now we can compile our server component and deploy our service to IIS. If you have IIS installed the simplest thing to do is:
- Create a new virtual folder on IIS (through inetmgr.exe) that points to the directory containing our server project. Beware that the name you provide for the folder also will be the application name in IIS.
You might experience some trouble with setting up the virtual folder on IIS. One hint is that all parent directories of the one you assign as a virtual IIS folder must allow the ASPNET user to read, execute and list. Otherwise consult MSDN for advice on setting up virtual folders.
- Make sure that the DLL is placed directly under the \bin folder (not in \bin\debug!)
- Create a Web.Config file in the root of the virtual folder (our project folder). This Web.config file needs to hold the remoting settings (deployment description). Additionally you'd probably want to include some database connection strings and so forth if you are doing lookups in your authenticate method. The server web.config looks like this:
<add key="SqlServer" value="connstring"/>
The remoting part of the config file is contained by the
<system.runtime.remoting> tags. The application element inside is set up automatically by ASP.NET and IIS so we don't have to specify any attributes (specifying the name attribute would conflict because the name of our application is already set to be the same as the name of the virtual directory).
Then we specify our services. ASP.NET only supports well-known services (not client-activated) so we don't have to think much about that. The really important thing here is the type attribute. The first parameter here is the fully qualified class name of our service. My
AuthenticationService class was compiled in the namespace
CodeProject as you can see. The second parameter in the type attribute is the name of the DLL file. This file resides in the \bin directory of the IIS virtual folder and contains the class
CodeProject.AuthenticationService. The third attribute is
objectUri and defines a URI for our service. Just set it to [
classname.soap] for now.
What's left here is to define a channel for IIS to use for this service. We'll give it a name,
TheChannel, set a priority flag and make a reference to the pre-defined "HTTP" channel in machine.config.
Finally I had to add my database connection string:)
Now you should be able to check out your service by entering it's URL and get the WSDL. like this:
http://hostname/VirtualFolderName/objectUri?wsdl in my case: http://localhost/AuthenticationRemotingService/AuthenticationService.soap?wsdl.
Really cool isn't it?
Next lets make the client! Or not yet?
I found it convenient to wrap all remoting code in a supporting assembly to catch remoting errors and such. Because others (other coders) that are going to use this service have to import my Interface assembly anyways, it won't hurt to supply some wrappers.
I chose to make a singleton class to front my service. The only thing it does is to get the remote object and call on the authenticate service and return it's value as a
HttpCookie. If something goes wrong it catches the exception. It also hides some semi-nasty implementation code to be able to instantiate an object of our interface type without having to hardcode the URL. I did a slight rewrite of Ingo Rammers RemotingHelper class, converting it to a singleton to accomplish this.
This is the
LoginHandler wrapper class:
public sealed class LoginHandler
public static readonly LoginHandler Instance = new LoginHandler();
public HttpCookie DoLogin(string username, string password)
IAuthenticationService auth =
string ticket = auth.Authenticate(username, password);
if(ticket == "")
return new System.Web.HttpCookie(FormsAuthentication.
The rewrite of Ingo Rammer's class:
internal sealed class RemotingHelper
public static readonly RemotingHelper Instance =
private IDictionary wellKnownTypes;
wellKnownTypes = new Hashtable();
foreach (WellKnownClientTypeEntry entr in
if (entr.ObjectType == null)
throw new RemotingException("A configured
type could not be found. Please check spelling");
public Object GetObject(Type type)
WellKnownClientTypeEntry entr =
if(entr == null)
throw new RemotingException("Type not found!");
When instantiated this class reads all available well-known types from the registered types collection in the
RemotingConfiguration. It then compares the class name you provide in
GetObject to the well-known types. Without this class, you'd have to hardcode the service server URL or get this from the config file.
Off to the ASP.NET client webapp!
Now its playtime. All the hard work is nearly done. Finish off by:
- Create a new ASP.NET web application.
- Add references to the Wrapper-, and Interface assemblies.
- Open the client application web.config file.
You will need to let your client application know where to find the implementation of the interface defined in the assembly you just added. It's the implementation of this interface we will "remote". Just like for the server config file you have to place a
system.runtime.remoting element as a sub-element to
<configuration> Its done like this:
The URL of the client element is the address of your virtual folder on IIS that you defined for your server component. Then we define a well-known type which is describing the fully qualified name for the interface we made first off in this walkthrough, and the second parameter is (like in the server config) the name of the DLL containing this interface. This DLL must of course be available and referenced by our ASP.NET client web app. The last parameter is the URL to the service + the
objectUri that we defined in the server web.config file. We don't need to set up any channels here. IIS will handle it.
- Finally to make your client actually set up the remoting you have to kick start it when the application starts up. Open the global.asax and enter this line in the
Application_Start event handler.
protected void Application_Start(Object sender, EventArgs e)
This will read the remoting section in the web.config and set it all in place (or generate a kick-ass
remotingexception when you start up your webapp:)
Now go ahead and call the wrapper class
LoginHandler from your web-client and enjoy the
HttpCookie from the service:) Good luck!