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ASP .NET Support Voice Column: Finding ASP.NET session state information in the Knowledge BaseTo customize this column to your needs, we want to invite you to submit your ideas about topics that interest you and issues that you want to see addressed in future Knowledge Base articles and Support Voice columns. You can submit your ideas and feedback using the Ask For It
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This month we are going to take a look at ASP.NET session state management issues and how to find answers to them in the Knowledge Base (KB). Session state can be a very useful tool for your ASP.NET applications, but there are some issues you need to be aware of depending on the session state mode you are using, whether or not your application is running in a Web farm, and so on. If you have ever come across the following issues or scenarios, then learning how to leverage the KB will prove useful:
Roadmap documentsSeveral of the key areas around ASP.NET have roadmap documents for them in the KB. If you are new to ASP.NET or a particular key area, and you are looking for informational content with links and resources associated to that topic, then you will probably find the roadmap article fairly useful. For example, ASP.NET has roadmap articles for state management, HTTP modules and HTTP handlers, server controls, security, and so forth. They are intended to provide some introductory insight into a topic that is straight and to the point. To start with, we will try to find all the roadmap articles around ASP.NET using the following search terms:
kbASPNetSearch kbAudDeveloper kbArtTypeRoadmapAt the time of this writing, the search resulted in eight articles covering the key topic areas identified by the ASP.NET support team, which are the topics I made mention of previously. This is a good start, but in our scenario, we are only looking for articles related to ASP.NET session state. Because ASP.NET session state is actually rolled up under state management as far as the KB keywords are concerned, we need to instruct the KB to limit our results appropriately. To do this, we will add the kbState keyword. Our search terms now become the following:
kbASPNetSearch kbAudDeveloper kbArtTypeRoadmap kbStateNow that we have added the kbState keyword, only the general ASP.NET roadmap (KB 305140) and state management roadmap (KB 307598) articles are returned. The general ASP.NET roadmap article is returned because it contains the kbState keyword, which makes sense due to the fact that it briefly discusses state management and includes a link to the ASP.NET state management roadmap article, 307598.
Filtering by article typeIn the previous example we were looking specifically for roadmap articles in the KB, but what if we were looking for bug articles or other types? To do this we will need to provide the desired article type in our search string. The following is a list of the most common types:
kbASPNetSearch kbAudDeveloper kbState kbBugThis will give us all the bug articles around all versions of ASP.NET listed in the KB. You can also limit your search to a specific version of ASP.NET by using the keyword associated with that particular version instead of the more general kbASPNetSearch keyword. Refer to the "General search tips" section listed at the end of this article for more information.
Refining your searchKeywords can help quite a bit when searching the KB. They make your queries much more precise, and the overall experience of searching the KB more fruitful. You should generally start off with the established KB keywords and then try narrowing down your results using additional terms if necessary. For example, if we are searching for all articles related to ASP.NET session state management when using SqlServer mode, then we may want to try and narrow our results down a little. Since the term SqlServer refers to the specific way that mode is specified in the Web.config file, it might be useful to try an alternate version of your search using "Sql Server" as well. As a general rule, if you are not finding the desired information in your search results, it is a good idea to try your query with an alternate form of more code-specific terms. Our more focused query should appear as follows after applying the additional search terms:
Additional resourcesIn this section I have listed some additional non-KB articles around ASP.NET session state management, and some general links to ASP.NET-related Web sites that you may find useful. If you are not familiar with them, then you may want to take a minute and check them out.
General search tipsBecause the goal of this column is to help you better leverage the information contained in the KB, we always wrap up with a cheat-sheet covering the most common keywords. There are tons of great articles on ASP.NET out there, but you generally come to the KB with a particular issue or need. The following search tips are designed to not only help you find the information you need, but to also help you find it faster and with less overall frustration.
When Knowledge Base articles are created, they have specific "product elements" and keywords associated with them. If you know the keywords associated with a product or technology, try using those in place of their more generic English terms during your initial searches. This typically offers a bit more precision than just stringing together words or phrases. The following is a list of tips that should help improve your experience with the KB. For additional information, see the following KB article:
(http://support.microsoft.com/kb/303992/ )Keywords to search .NET-related Knowledge Base articles
As always, feel free to submit ideas on topics you want addressed in future columns or in the Knowledge Base using the Ask For It