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Run web.config-dependant code in PowerShell

PowerShell is a great tool. It helps in SharePoint administration and tasks automation. Today I needed to provision a webpart on many similar pages. This third-party webpart’s constructor instantiates a dataaccess service and uses a connectionstring which is stored in the web.config file. So the webpart creation failed until I found a way to load the configuration into powershell.

First you can create a simple file powershell.exe.config, put it into $pshome (C:\Windows\System32\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0). In that file you can specify the connectionstring in the same way like in the web.config (or app.config). But it is not secure: the connectionstring can be changed in the future, and you really don’t want to copy your connectionstrings around. So there is a better way: Check out Ohad Israeli’s blog post about how a configuration file can be bound dynamically in a .net assembly: Binding to a custom App.Config file.

In PowerShell you can do the same, all we need is to modify the syntax: StackOverflow: Powershell Calling .NET Assembly that uses App.config:

[System.AppDomain]::CurrentDomain.SetData("APP_CONFIG_FILE", $config_path)

In SharePoint the web.config file resides in:

C:\inetpub\wwwroot\wss\VirtualDirectories\80\web.config

So include this in the script which invokes web.config dependant code:

$config_path = "C:\inetpub\wwwroot\wss\VirtualDirectories\80\web.config"
[System.AppDomain]::CurrentDomain.SetData("APP_CONFIG_FILE", $config_path)

The ability to bind the configuration file dynamically can be even helpful in another part of the SharePoint world – timerjobs. The timer jobs are executed by owstimer.exe. This service has an own configuration file: {hive}\BIN\OWSTIMER.EXE.CONFIG If the timer job configuration shares connectionstrings or appSettings with web.config, it should be theoretically possible to bind the web.config to owstimer. Leave a comment below if you find this information useful.

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