You may find it useful to separate a large Web application project into multiple projects
for team development of ASP.NET Web applications in Microsoft Visual Studio .NET.
Microsoft recommends that you use source control software, such as Microsoft Visual
SourceSafe, in all scenarios.
Developing a large Web site frequently involves several developers. These developers
must be able to work on specific sections of a Web application without interfering with
one another and yet still be able to use each other's work as the project progresses. To
do this, you can use a single project in a Visual Studio .NET solution. You can also
separate a Web application into multiple projects by dividing the development project
into units to make development easier.
You can develop Web applications in single project or multi-project Visual Studio .NET
solutions. The advantages and disadvantages of each method are outlined in the
sections to follow.
Microsoft recommends the single project method for small-sized to medium-sized Web
applications. Visual Studio .NET directly supports this method. The whole Web
application is built as a single ASP.NET Web application project. Each team member
downloads a copy of the entire project to a development computer, where he or she
develops part of the application. You should use source control software to coordinate
the work of the team members on the files that make up the project.
Every time you want to build your work, even for small code changes, you must build the whole project. For large projects, this can be very time consuming and can make development less efficient.
If you separate the Web application into multiple Visual Studio .NET projects, you may
find it easier to manage the development of large Web applications. You can separate a
large development project into smaller projects, which you can manage and build
separately. Your team can work on separate parts of a Web application by working on
separate projects. You should still use source control software to coordinate work on
Visual Studio .NET does not directly support this method because Visual Studio .NET
Web projects are always created in their own IIS application root directories with their
own assemblies. IIS Web applications cannot span multiple IIS application root
Additionally, you cannot use resources in one root directory from other root directories in
Visual Studio .NET. It is difficult to create a single application from multiple projects if
these applications cannot share resources.
Visual Studio .NET does not directly support this method. You must perform
additional steps so that separate Visual Studio .NET projects participate in the
same Web application.
To make the Visual Studio .NET projects participate in the same Web application, the
projects must share the same IIS application root directory. Visual Studio .NET creates
Web projects in their own application root directories. Therefore, you must configure this
4. To deploy the projects to individual development computers, copy the application
directory structure to those computers, and then create an IIS application root
directory for the main project directory.
5. Delete any files that are not needed for a non-application root directory from the
project. Specifically, delete the Global.asax and the Web.config files. This child
project will rely on the Global.asax and the Web.config files from the main
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?