Seeking advice – strong names and config files

I’ll use my blog for a bit of fishing for advice and guidance on an issue that’s been bugging me.

We’ve been moving towards using strong names on all of our assemblies. The benefits are obvious, and it’s a must before we deploy to clients out in the wild.

The problem is that we have several different processes running, each with its own app.config or web.config file. These config files contain references to custom configuration sections, whether they’re application configuration, Enterprise Library extensions or whatnot. Seeing as my DLLs are signed, I have to use the fully qualified assembly name in all my references. This means that in a nightly build scenario where my version number is bumped continuously, I have to change 5-6 references in 5-6 configuration files with every build.

Doing this kind of string manipulation on a large scale scares me, since it can break, or we miss something. I’ve tried using and directives, but they require a specific version to point to as well.


I’m sure I’m not the first person to encounter this problem. What are the solutions that you use to bypass this? Scripts as part of the automated installation? Moving all configuration sections to a separate assembly whose version is static? What’s the least painful way to manage this?

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