ASP.NET version 2.0 introduced a series of application services, which are part of the .NET Framework and serve as a suite of building block services that you can use to add rich functionality to your web application. The application services include:
Membership - an API for creating and managing user accounts.
Roles - an API for categorizing users into groups.
Profile - an API for storing custom, user-specific content.
Site Map - an API for defining a site s logical structure in the form of a hierarchy, which can then be displayed via navigation controls, such as menus and breadcrumbs.
Personalization - an API for maintaining customization preferences, most often used with WebParts.
Health Monitoring - an API for monitoring performance, security, errors, and other system health metrics for a running web application.
The application services APIs are not tied to a specific implementation. Instead, you instruct the application services to use a particular provider, and that provider implements the service using a particular technology. The most commonly used providers for Internet-based web applications hosted at a web hosting company are those providers that use a SQL Server database implementation. For example, the
SqlMembershipProvider is a provider for the Membership API that stores user account information in a Microsoft SQL Server database.
Using the application services and SQL Server providers adds some challenges when deploying the application. For starters, the application services database objects must be properly created on both the development and production databases and appropriately initialized. There are also important configuration settings that need to be made.