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A Sample Chapter from

ASP.NET Website Programming


Book Title: ASP.NET Website Programming
Published by: Wrox Publication
Chapter Number:   4
Chapter Title: Maintaining the Site
Author: Wrox Author Team
Price $: 59.99
ISBN: 1861006934
Buy It Now: Click here
Additional Info: Wrox Publication
Copyright Wrox Publication
Sample Chapter From
Book

Table of Contents


Maintaining the Site

Any real website is generally made up of a lot of pages, images, XML/XSL files, stylesheets, databases, and other types of document. It's very common to have many hundreds or even thousands of files for a single website. During development of the site these files will usually be modified several times. This will also continue after deployment, since no application is ever really finished – particularly when we can redeploy to all our users at once. As a result, an integral part of any development work is having some kind of maintenance system.

 

In this chapter we'll explain why it's useful to have an online site management system, and we'll design and build one that allows us to easily maintain the site's files and directories.

 

Our solution will provide file uploads over HTTP connections, a useful technique that is not limited to site maintenance. For example, web-based e-mail sites use this method to upload attachments, and many community sites use it to upload images for user profiles.

 

We will also build an online text editor, so that we can edit our ASPX files right in the web browser.

 

Our tools will really be for administrators or developers to use. But with a simplified, restricted front-end we could use this technique to build a maintenance system for even the most technically inept client!

 

We will also present an existing third party tool, Microsoft's Web Data Administrator.This could save our developers a great deal of time managing the site's SQL Server database, both before and

after deployment.


The Problem

During the development of our site, we'll need to add, copy, and move files, change the source code of ASP.NET pages, edit the stylesheets, and generally fix things here and there. Since we're working on a test machine, and as we're all familiar with doing such common operations, this does not pose any problems. Managing the SQL Server database is easy as well, because even if we don't have the program installed on our development machine, through the Enterprise Manager we can do everything we could if we had the SQL Server on our local computer.

 

After development will come the time to upload everything and to test the website online. We'll almost certainly need to make further changes, upload additions, move files around, and perform other file management operations. The same applies to the database: we'll need to add, edit, or delete records, run and edit stored procedures, and backup the data. If we had an in-house server, we wouldn't expect to encounter any problems here, as we would just need to move everything to the production system. Maintaining the site would be as easy as it was on our development machine. Having an in-house server offers maximum control over the system, and this is important when we need to install additional software, register COM+ components, change the IIS default settings, and so on – in fact, whenever we want to configure things according to our needs. However, often we do not require all this power, especially for small and medium sized sites. Also, with ASP.NET, deployment and configuration has been made much easier and flexible (take for example the use of web.config to change settings that would previously have required direct access to an IIS snap-in in ASP). Lastly, in-house or dedicated servers are expensive, and not all companies can and/or want to afford them, unless their purpose is very unusual.

 

Therefore, if we have budget limitations or we simply don't need full control over the system, the common solution for publishing our website is to a rent a shared server from a hosting company. We decided to choose this solution for our website, because we don't really need a deep level of system customization – web.config settings are enough for this. Also, we wanted to present an example that would be useful to the majority of readers, and that means using shared hosting.

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