Absolutely Nothing. Say It Again! (Configuration Section Handlers)

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Ian Griffiths points out why he doesn't like configuration section handlers much, and one of the primary reasons is how they require extra "cruft" in order to tell .NET about the handler. I have to agree for the most part. I've always wanted a #region tag for the App.config file just to hide that junk away, but that's pretty much a cop out. Cyrus points out how the C# team was ambivalent about even having a region tag in the IDE.

One good point Ian and Craig (via email) brought up is that configuration sections are often misused. I should have stated this in my article, but I'll state it here for the record. Perhaps I'll even use an H2 tag and all caps. Here goes.

DO NOT STORE USER SETTINGS IN AN APPLICATION CONFIGURATION FILE!

That's not what it's there for. Remember, the application configuration file is stored in your application's directory of the Program Files directory (by default). If you're a proper windows logo programmer, you'll know that the typical user should not have write access there. Otherwise you don't deserve that shiny "Designed forWindows XP" icon.

I tend to write a lot of Windows Services. I try to build an installer for each one that provides a GUI for the user to enter in some configuration data which gets written to the config file upon installation. That's pretty much the only time my config files get modified unless we need to adminstratively change something or other. Note the use of an administrator and not a user.

For more information about persisting user settings, check out:

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