The Web Site Administration Tool
Administration of ASP.NET applications has always been easy, although diving into the XML-based configuration file isn't the most user-friendly way to do it. For the 2.0 release of ASP.NET, there is the Web Site Administration Tool, which allows configuration of a Web application via an easy browser interface.
The Web Site Administration Tool is useful for two main reasons. First, it abstracts the XML configuration into an easy-to-use interface, and second, it provides administration features via a browser. This means that for remote sites (such as those provided by a hosting company), it's easy to administer an application without having to edit the configuration file (e.g., to add new security credentials) and then upload it.
The Web Site Administration Tool is available for each directory configured as an application, by way of a simple URL:
This presents you with a home page and menu consisting of five main options.
The Home Page
The Home page, shown in Figure 6.16, details the current application and security details, as well as links to the other main sections.
Figure 6.16 The Web Site Administration Tool Home page
The Security Page
The Security page, shown in Figure 6.17, offers two options for configuring security. The first is a wizard that takes you through the following steps:
Select Access Method, which defines whether the application is available from the Internet (in which case Forms Authentication is used) or from the LAN (in which case Windows Authentication is used)
Specify Data Source, where you can specify the database (Access or SQL Server) that will store the user credentials and what details are required (e.g., unique e-mail address, allow password retrieval, and so on)
Define Roles, where you can optionally specify Authorization roles
Add New Users, which allows addition of new users and allocation to roles
Add New Access Rules, which defines which files and folders users and roles have permissions for
Complete, to indicate that the security settings have been configured
Figure 6.17 The Web Site Administration Tool Security page
The second option is for configuration of security that has already been enabled. If configured, the details are shown at the bottom of the main security page (see the following subsection for more information).
Once you have initially set up security (or selected the second option titled Security Management on the main Security page), the Security page allows management of users, roles, and permissions without the use of the wizard.
For example, consider the users added earlier in the chapter. If we select the Manage Users options, we see the User Management features shown in Figure 6.18.
Figure 6.18 Web Site Administration Tool user configuration
Likewise, selecting Manage Roles allows you to customize roles and members, as shown in Figure 6.19.
Figure 6.19 Web Site Administration Tool role configuration
Three other pages are used in the Web Site Administration Tool:
Profile, which allows configuration of the Personalization Profile (see Chapter 7)
Application, which allows configuration of application settings, site and page counters, SMTP settings, and debugging and tracing (see Chapter 13)
Provider, which allows configuration of the data provider or providers to be used in the application (see Chapter 13)