ASP.NET Fundamentals: ASP.NET is Easy to Deploy and Configure
One of the biggest headaches a web developer faces during a development cycle is deploying a completed application to a production server. Not only do the web-page files, databases, and components need to be transferred, but components need to be registered and a slew of configuration settings need to be re-created. ASP.NET simplifies this process considerably.
Every installation of the .NET Framework provides the same core classes. As a result, deploying an ASP.NET application is relatively simple. For no-frills deployment, you simply need to copy all the files to a virtual directory on a production server (using an FTP program or even a command-line command like XCOPY). As long as the host machine has the .NET Framework, there are no time-consuming registration steps. Chapter 18 covers deployment in detail.
Distributing the components your application uses is just as easy. All you need to do is copy the component assemblies along with your website files when you deploy your web application. Because all the information about your component is stored directly in the assembly file metadata, there’s no need to launch a registration program or modify the Windows registry. As long as you place these components in the correct place (the Bin subdirectory of the web application directory), the ASP.NET engine automatically detects them and makes them available to your web-page code. Try that with a traditional COM component!
Configuration is another challenge with application deployment, particularly if you need to transfer security information such as user accounts and user privileges. ASP.NET makes this deployment process easier by minimizing the dependence on settings in IIS (Internet Information Services). Instead, most ASP.NET settings are stored in a dedicated web.config file. The web.config file is placed in the same directory as your web pages. It contains a hierarchical grouping of application settings stored in an easily readable XML format that you can edit using nothing more than a text editor such as Notepad. When you modify an application setting, ASP.NET notices that change and smoothly restarts the application in a new application domain (keeping the existing application domain alive long enough to finish processing any outstanding requests). The web.config file is never locked, so it can be updated at any time.