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Overview of ASP.NET Deployment

Updated: August 22, 2005

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1

Deployment is the process of distributing a completed application or component to be installed on other computers. Microsoft ASP.NET is designed to make Web application deployment easy. To that purpose, it includes the following features:

  • When a newer version of a Web.config, .aspx, .asmx, or any other ASP.NET file is copied to an existing Web application, ASP.NET detects that the file has been updated. It then loads a new version of the Web application to handle all new requests, while allowing the original instance of the Web application to finish responding to any current requests. When all requests have been satisfied for the original application, it is automatically removed This feature eliminates downtime while Web applications are being updated.

  • All ASP.NET application configuration settings are stored in a Web.config file, an XML-based text file stored in the application root directory, for easy deployment of application settings. If you modify these settings when the application is running, ASP.NET automatically detects the changes, reapplies all the settings, and recompiles the application for you. For more information, see Overview of ASP.NET Configuration.

This does not apply to Internet Information Services (IIS) or COM configuration settings. ASP.NET application settings also can be made in IIS, such as security or process model configuration. Configuration changes made in IIS are not automatically detected and updated by ASP.NET. For more information, see IIS Metabase.

  • No registration is required for local application components. To include any precompiled managed code in your application, you simply need to place it in the local assembly cache. The local assembly cache is the \Bin directory, which is a subdirectory of the application root directory. In addition, any assembly stored in the \Bin directory can be replaced while the application is running.

  • All ASP.NET pages are dynamically compiled when they are first requested. The application then uses the compiled class to satisfy requests until a change is made to the page. This allows you to make changes to a page and replace it in a running application.

To deploy application files and local component files, you can simply copy them to the directory structure on the production server. To do this on a network you can use either the XCOPY command-line tool or Microsoft Windows Explorer. To deploy files over the Internet, you can use the FTP tool of your choice. If you are developing your ASP.NET application using Microsoft Visual Studio .NET, use Visual Studio to deploy any Microsoft FrontPage Server Extensions associated with your application. For more information, see Visual Studio .NET Help.

This section describes how to deploy ASP.NET applications and individual application files to a production server. In addition, it explains how to support multiple versions of ASP.NET on a single server and how to ensure that individual applications on that server reference the correct version of ASP.NET. Also, this section describes how to send a redistributable version of the Microsoft .NET Framework to a production server in an application setup program.

This section includes the following information:

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