Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Web Server in Visual Studio

When you run a web application, Visual Studio starts its integrated web server. Behind the scenes, ASP.NET compiles the code for your web application, runs your web page, and then returns the final HTML to the browser. The first time you run a web page, you’ll see a new icon appear in the system tray at the bottom-right corner of the taskbar. This icon is Visual Studio’s test web server, which runs in the background hosting your website. The test server only runs while Visual Studio is running, and it only accepts requests from your computer (so other users can’t connect to it over a network).

When you run a web page, you’ll notice that the URL in the browser includes a port number.For example, if you run a web application in a folder named OnlineBank, you might see a URL like http://localhost:4235/OnlineBank/Default.aspx. This URL indicates that the web server is running on your computer (localhost), so its requests aren’t being sent over the Internet. It also indicates that all requests are being transmitted to port number 4235. That way, the requests won’t conflict with any other applications that might be running on your computer and listening for requests. Every time Visual Studio starts the integrated web server, it randomly chooses an available port.

Visual Studio’s built-in web server also allows you to retrieve a listing of all the files in your website. This means if you create a web application named SampleSite, you can request it in the form http://localhost:port/SampleSite (omitting the page name) to see a list of all the files in your web application folder. Then, just click the page you want to test. 

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