Web Services State Management Using Application Object


In ASP.NET, there are two places in which we can store state information.

  • Application 
  • Session

In this article I am going to describe only the applications way. For the description of the session way read my last article Using Session State in a Web Service.

XML Web services can use Application objects for managing the state. The Application object can be used as a shared container for state management. The Application object will allow us to store the variables or object references that are available to all the visitors to the XML Web service for the lifetime of the web service. The Application object is "in-process" which implies that it can run in the same process as ASP.NET.


The Application object provides a mechanism for storing data that is accessible to all code running within the Web application. The Application stores data for the server application. The data is stored in memory all through the lifetime of the server application (not the server), starting from the the first page being requested. Each server application has its own Application. If the server application terminates, this Application data is lost.

One difference to be noted between Session and Application is that the Application object does not require the EnableSessionProperty to be set in the webmethod attribute. The Application is enabled by default for web services.

For example Let us examine the following code. We do not need to set the EnableSessionProperty = True as we did in the Session object. Because any class deriving from the Web service will  have automatic access to the application object.

        public int GetTotalClickCount()
            int count;
            if (Application["ConnectCount"] == null)
                count = 1;
                count = (int)Application["ConnectCount"] + 1;
            Application["ConnectCount"] = count;
            return count;

To implement the above code first we need a Web Service. I created a basic Web Service.

Creating a XML Web Service in .Net

Here is sample code I use to create and consume ASP.NET Web Services.

Example of Testing Web Service in .Net

Step 1 : Create the ASP.NET. Web Service Source File.

Open Visual Studio 2010 and create a new web site.->Select .Net Framework 3.5. ->Select ASP.NET Web Service page -> Then, you have to give the name of your service. In this example I am giving it the name "MyApplicationWebService". Then click the OK Button. A screenshot of this activity is shown below.


Step 2 : Click on the "OK" button; you will see the following window.


Here (in the above figure), you will note that there is a predefined method "HelloWorld" which returns the string "Hello World". You can use your own method and can perform other operations.

Here I made a simple method "GetTotalClickCount()" which returns an integer value.


using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Linq;
using System.Web;
using System.Web.Services;
namespace MyApplicationWebService
   /// <summary>
    /// Summary description for Service1
    /// </summary>
    [WebService(Namespace = "http://tempuri.org/")]
    [WebServiceBinding(ConformsTo = WsiProfiles.BasicProfile1_1)]
    // To allow this Web Service to be called from script, using ASP.NET AJAX, uncomment the following line.
    // [System.Web.Script.Services.ScriptService]
    public class Service1 : System.Web.Services.WebService
        public int GetTotalClickCount()
            int count;
            if (Application["ConnectCount"] == null)
                count = 1;
                count = (int)Application["ConnectCount"] + 1;
            Application["ConnectCount"] = count;
            return count;

Step 3 : Build the Web Service and Run the Web Service for testing by pressing the F5 function key.


Copy the url of this web service for further use.

Step 4 : Click on the "GetPerUserClickCount" Button to test the web service.


Click on Invoke button to test the Web Service.


Refresh the browser or run web service again and again. We will then get:



and so on 4,5,6,7...

Now our web service is ready to use. We just need to create a new web site to consume the web service.

Example of Testing Web Service in .Net

Step 5 : Create a Test Web Site by File > New > Web Site > ASP.Net Web Site.


Give a name to the web site; for example here I have chosen the name "MyTestWebApplication" and clicked on the "ok" button.

Step 6 : Right-click in the Solution Explorer and Choose "Add Web Reference".


Step 7 : Past the url of the web service and click on "Green arrow" button and then "Add reference".


Step 8 : Now your web service is ready for use. You can see it in the Solution Explorer.


Step 9 : Go to the design of the Default.aspx page; drag and drop one TextBox and one Button.


Rename the Button as PressMe.

Step 10 : Go to the Default.cs page and on the button click event use the following code.

protected void Button1_Click(object sender, EventArgs e)

        localhost.Service1 myservice = new localhost.Service1();

Step 11 : Pressing the F5 function key to run the website, you will see.


Hit the PressMe.


See the output which start from 4 because we already access the page 3 times see step 4.




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