Introduction to ASP.NET 2.0 Provider Model
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by Joydip Kanjilal
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The Providers in the ASP.NET Provider Model

The following are the built-in providers of the ASP.NET Provider Model.

·         Membership Providers

·         Role Management Providers

·         Profile Providers

·         Site Map Providers

·         Session State Providers

·         Web Event Providers

·         Web Parts Personalization Providers

·         Protected Configuration Providers

The Membership Provider

According to MSDN, "ASP.NET membership gives you a built-in way to validate and store user credentials. ASP.NET membership therefore helps you manage user authentication in your Web sites." You can know more on how Membership in ASP.NET works here. With ASP.NET 2.0, user management and roles administration has been simplified a lot. The Membership Provider or the Membership API that ships with ASP.NET 2.0 is used to manage the users of the application and their respective roles. It is extensible, but can work with SQL Server database and Active Directory. However, you can extent this API so that it can work with other databases as well.

The Roles Provider

A Role Provider is responsible for retrieval and storage of roles information to and from a data store. You have the SqlRoleProvider that is responsible for storing roles information in the SQL Server database. You can however, extend this class to create your custom implementation and store roles information in any data store.

Profile Providers

Profile Providers can be used to store user's profile information. According to MSDN, "Profile providers provide the interface between ASP.NET's profile service and profile data sources." Actually, the Profile provider in the ASP.NET 2.0 Provider Model is represented by the ProfileProvider class. Note all these provider abstract classes extend the ProviderBase abstract class in the ASP.NET 2.0 Provider Model.

Custom Providers

Custom Providers are those that you create generally by extending the existing providers to suit your specific requirements. The following are the benefits of creating Custom Providers.

·         Storage of membership information across any database or other data sources that are not supported by default

·         Managing the membership information as per your own schema

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