How to store custom objects in web.config ?

By | April 30, 2011

In this Post, I am going to discuss about web.config. Normally in our daily life, we used to have some data in appSettings section of web.config and read it when required. That is in string form. But there are lot more than this. We can update the data in web.config programmatically as well .

Now another main point is, we can store some object of custom type in web.config as well, which we normally don’t do it. But this can be very useful in several scenarios.

Have anyone tried to update some value or add some value in web.config? W’ll have brief discussion on this.

First, This is very common to have some constant data at appSettings section of web.config and read it whenever required. So how to read this ( for beginners).

//The data is stored in web.config as
		<add key="WelcomeMessage" value="Hello All, Welcome to my Website." />

// To read it
string message = ConfigurationManager.AppSettings["WelcomeMessage"];

Now if we want to update some data of appSettings programatically. One can do like this.

//Update header at config
        Configuration config = WebConfigurationManager.OpenWebConfiguration(Request.ApplicationPath);
        config.AppSettings.Settings["WelcomeMessage"].Value = "Hello All, Welcome to my updated site.";

Now what do you do, if you want to add some data in appSettings . You can add some app.config data as below.

//Update header at config
        Configuration config = WebConfigurationManager.OpenWebConfiguration(Request.ApplicationPath);
        config.AppSettings.Settings.Add("ErrorMessage", "An error has been occured during processing this request.");

The above code is adding one new key value pair in web.config file. Now this can be read anywhere in the application.

Now, the question is, Can we store some custom data at config?


We can store some object. Let’s see how

I have created a sample example. In this example, I have saved an object of my custom class NewError in web.config file. And also updating it whenever required.

To do this, Follow the below steps.

a) Create a Class that inherit From ConfigurationSection (It is available under namespace System.Configuration ). Every property must have an attribute ConfigurationProperty, having attribute name and some more parameters. This name is directly mapped to web.config. Let’s see the NewError class

public class NewError:ConfigurationSection
    [ConfigurationProperty ("Id",IsRequired = true)]
    public string ErrorId {
        get { return (string)this["Id"]; }
        set { this["Id"] = value; }
    [ConfigurationProperty("Message", IsRequired = false)]
    public string Message {
        get { return (string)this["Message"]; }
        set { this["Message"] = value; }
    [ConfigurationProperty("RedirectURL", IsRequired = false)]
    public string RedirectionPage
        get { return (string)this["RedirectURL"]; }
        set { this["RedirectURL"] = value; }
    [ConfigurationProperty("MailId", IsRequired = false)]
    public string EmailId
        get { return (string)this["MailId"]; }
        set { this["MailId"] = value; }
    [ConfigurationProperty("DateAdded", IsRequired = false)]
    public DateTime DateAdded
        get { return (DateTime)this["DateAdded"]; }
        set { this["DateAdded"] = value; }

as you can see every property has attribute ConfigurationProperty with some value. As you can see the property ErrorId has attribute

[ConfigurationProperty ("Id",IsRequired = true)]

it means ErrorId will be saved as Id in web.config file and it is required value. There are more elements in this attribute that you can set based on your requirement.
Now if you’ll see the property closely, it is bit different.

public string ErrorId {
get { return (string)this["Id"]; }
set { this["Id"] = value; }

Here the value is saved as the key “id”, that is mapped with web.config file.

b) Now you are required to add/register a section in the section group to tell the web.config that you are going to have this kind of data. This must be in and will be as

<section name="errorList"  type="NewError" allowLocation="true"

c) Now one can add that object in your config file directly as

<errorList Id="1" Message="ErrorMessage" RedirectURL="" MailId="" ></errorList>
<errorList Id="1" Message="ErrorMessage" RedirectURL="" MailId="" ></errorList>

d) And to read it at your page. Read it as follows.

NewError objNewError = (NewError)ConfigurationManager.GetSection("errorList");

And also a new object can be saved programmatically as

NewError objNewError = new NewError()
         Message = "New Message",
         DateAdded= DateTime.Now.Date
       Configuration config =

       config.Sections.Add("errorList", objNewError);

Even one can add a custom group and have some custom elements in in this section.

ASP.NET provides very powerfull APIs to read/edit the web.config file easily.

Category: .NET ASP.NET C# Tips Tags: , , , , , , ,

About The Author

About Brij

Brij is a Microsoft MVP in ASP.NET/IIS Category and a passionate developer. Having around 4.5 years of experiance in IT field, currently serving a MNC as a Sr. developer. He is alsoMVP at CodeProject He is a very passionated .NET developer and have expertise over Web technologies like ASP.NET 2.0/3.5/4.0, jQuery, JSON, Javascript, IIS and related technologies. He is also a Exchange Server (EWS) Specialist. He has great experience in design patterns and N-Tier Architecture. He is also certified as Microsoft Certified Technologies Specialist-ASP.NET and Microsoft Certified Technologies Specialist-WCF in .NET 4.0. He has also recieved several awards at various forums and his various articles got listed as "Article of the day" at ASP.NET Microsoft Official Website He has done MCA from NIT Durgapur and completed his graduation from Lucknow University. Learning new technologies and sharing knowledge excites him most. Blogging, solving problems at various forums, helping people, keeps him busy entire day. He has a great passion to learn new Microsoft Technologies and love to share the Knowledge. Visit his Blog: Brij's arena of .NET Follow him at Twitter : @brij_bhushan

One thought on “How to store custom objects in web.config ?

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