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Configuration files horror

Nowadays, working with services is pretty simple. Almost anybody can create a WCF service and expose functionalists  The same thing is with WCF clients. .NET development environment can create the client proxy very easily.
When we are creating the client proxy, a part of the configuration will be added to the configuration file. In the configuration files we will find the URL of the service, which will be modified a lot of time during the development phase. We can have a testing service, a mock service, a development service and so on.
If the client and the service can be hosted on the same machine, than developers will be happy, but the configuration files will be a mess. They will forget that they change the URL address and they will make commits with this change. A part of them will use “localhost”, other part will use the machine name.
When you end up in a project with 40, 50 or almost 100 configuration files, changing the URL can become a time consuming process. Not only this, but you cannot use find and replace because each developer had a different machine name.
What we can do in this case? The simplest solution is to try to use different configuration file. From some time ago, Visual Studio support to have different configuration files for debug, release and we can even define custom versions. Each developer can have a version of the configuration file that will not end up on the source control.
To help developers, we can create a script that will generate the local configuration files for developers. In this way they will not have any kind of excuse that they change the configuration files.


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