State Management with ASP.NET 2.0 : Profile Feature

Its a common thing to have State Management in almost all the Web Applications, but use of this has always been a contentious issue. A developer has to decide whether the user data should be stored per session or should it persist across the sessions.

Using sessions states we can always very easily store the information temporarily. This typically works by assigning to each new user a unique session key that is used as an index for an in-memory data store and lasts only for the duration of the session.

What if you want to store data across the sessions? This is typically done by having a back end data store indexed by some user key. But again a question arises, what if you want to store data across sessions for anonymous users also? This is answered very well by the new Profile feature of ASP.NET 2.0.

Using this Profile feature, you can quickly build a web application that stores user information like user preferences or any other data into a database. Profile is similar to Session State but in one regard that it is persistent across the sessions. Profile feature has a strong link up with the ASP.NET membership system and this is why data for the authenticated users or clients is stored with their real identified instead of some arbitrary generated keys. For anonymous clients an identifier is generated for them and is stored as a persistent cookie, so that every time that same machine access the site the preferences or data for that client machine will be retained.

How you can use this Profile feature effectively and how to implement better state management using it is explained in this MSDN Magazine Article.

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