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Web Site Administration Tool Internals
Describes the internal workings of the Web Site Administration Tool.
The Web Site Administration Tool provides a Web interface for managing the configuration settings of an individual Web site. Configuration settings are stored in Web.config files, which are located in the root folder of a Web site. The Web Site Administration Tool modifies the Web.config file when changes are made to the default configuration. If no Web.config file exists, and changes are made in the Web Site Administration Tool, a new configuration file is created.
Besides the creation and manipulation of Web.config files, the Web Site Administration Tool also configures site provider databases that support certain features.
When you use the Web Site Administration Tool for the first time, it creates a default Web.config file for the application to configure. The Web Site Administration Tool also creates the default site database provider, which is a local database in the App_Data folder for the Web site.
Configuration settings for the Microsoft .NET Framework–based applications are stored in XML formatted .config files, which are located in the same folder as the application.
The root element of a configuration file is the configuration element. The configuration element contains individual elements that store settings for various purposes. For example, if you create application settings, the settings are stored in the appSettings element, which is a child of the configuration element.
Configuration files exist within a hierarchy. The configuration settings for an individual Web site are inherited from configuration files that exist above it within the hierarchy. The root of the configuration system hierarchy is the Machine.config file, which stores configuration settings that apply to the whole system and to all applications that are running on the system. You cannot change settings in the Machine.config file that uses the Web Site Administration Tool; only the Web server administrator can change those settings.
The root folder of the Web server (for example, \inetpub\wwwroot) might contain a Web.config file that has settings that apply to all Web sites that are running on that server. At the application level, another Web.config file might exist that defines settings for that application. Other Web.config files also might exist in subdirectories of your application that specify settings that apply to the resources that are contained within those subdirectories.
When you use the Web Site Administration Tool, you manage the settings in a Web.config file for a single application and its subdirectories. The Web Site Administration Tool displays settings that are inherited from configuration files that are higher in the hierarchy, if applicable. If an inherited setting has been defined in such a way that the setting cannot be overridden, the Web Site Administration Tool displays the setting as a dimmed option.
For detailed information about how the Web Site Administration Tool modifies the contents of configuration for a specific feature area, see ASP.NET Configuration Overview.