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This video series was originally recorded with ASP.NET 3.5. Since then, there have been two significant releases: ASP.NET 4 and 4.5. Most of the tools that I demonstrate in this video series still work exactly the same way in 4 and 4.5, but there have been some changes and new features that are worth describing. First of all, with ASP.NET 4, there was a significant simplification of the web.config file. The default XML file that manages your website was long and complex in 3.5. Beginning in Version 4, it was significantly shortened. Many optional elements were removed from the default file, and many elements were moved to another file that I'll describe in a moment. When you create a brand-new ASP.NET website in Visual Studio 2012 Express, targeting either ASP.NET 4 or 4.5, the default web.config file is very short and very simple. It has a single root element named configuration, a child element named system.web, and that contains a compilation directive, indicating which version of the ASP.NET framework is being targeted. This example is targeting 4.0, but in a brand new website built with Visual Studio 2012, the target framework will probably be set to 4.5. Many of the configuration options you might have seen in previous versions have been moved to a file called machine.config. This XML file is stored in the .NET framework folder on the system disk, and it's shared among all of the web applications hosted by a single server. You can still add your own custom directives to the web.config file. And as you work through this video series, you'll see that there are some elements that aren't in the default file anymore, but you can still insert them manually.
ASP.NET 4 also introduced some new core services. These include permanent redirection of pages. For example, if you have a .NET page that's been replaced by another page, you can use this directive, RedirectPermanent, and then that page will always be replaced by the new page that you describe. There's also a feature called extensible output caching. By default, ASP.NET content is cached to memory, but you can change that to save it to system disk instead. Take a look at the output cache directive in the documentation for more details. and ASP.NET 4 also lets you expand the range of available URLs. Using the HTTP Runtime tag, you can indicate the maximum request path length and the maximum query string length, significantly expanding on what ASP.NET 3.5 allowed. There are new tools for the web forms framework, including new attributes for the page directive that let you place your key words and description properties in your code. These would replace what you might otherwise put in the head tag in pure HTML. Also, you can enable and disable view state for individual controls. This feature can significantly reduce the size of the view state object that's created in ASP.NET pages and improve performance. And ASP.NET 4 improved support for newer web browsers.
For information about these and all other new features that were introduced in ASP.NET 4, visit this webpage. These features will be available regardless of whether you're working in ASP.NET 4 or ASP.NET 4.5.
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