.NET Configuration (app.config/web.config/settings.settings)


I have a .NET application which has different configuration files for Debug and Release builds. E.g. the debug app.config file points to a development SQL Server which has debugging enabled and the release target points to the live SQL Server. There are also other settings, some of which are different in debug/release.

I currently use two separate configuration files (debug.app.config and release.app.config). I have a build event on the project which says if this is a release build then copy release.app.config to app.config, else copy debug.app.config to app.config.

The problem is that the application seems to get its settings from the settings.settings file, so I have to open settings.settings in Visual Studio which then prompts me that the settings have changed so I accept the changes, save settings.settings and have to rebuild to make it use the correct settings.

Is there a better/recommended/preferred method for achieving a similar effect? Or equally, have I approached this completely wrong and is there a better approach?

5/24/2011 5:17:57 PM

Any configuration that might differ across environments should stored at the machine level, not the application level. (More info on configuration levels.)

These are the kinds of configuration elements that I typically store at the machine level:

When each environment (developer, integration, test, stage, live) has its own unique settings in the c:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework64\v2.0.50727\CONFIG directory, then you can promote your application code between environments without any post-build modifications.

And obviously, the contents of the machine-level CONFIG directory get version-controlled in a different repository or a different folder structure from your app. You can make your .config files more source-control friendly through intelligent use of configSource.

I've been doing this for 7 years, on over 200 ASP.NET applications at 25+ different companies. (Not trying to brag, just want to let you know that I've never seen a situation where this approach doesn't work.)

12/29/2012 1:27:55 AM

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