Monday, October 15, 2007

HTTP Pipelines in ASP.NET

1. ASP.Net uses a pipeline model to process incoming requests and provide responses.
2. The steps in the pipeline are:
  • HTTP Runtime
  • HTTP Application Factory
  • HTTP Application
  • HTTP Handler Factory
  • HTTP Handler
3. When IIS receives a request, it checks the extension of the requested page.
4. If the extension is .aspx, then it invokes aspnet_isapi.dll and passes the request to it
5. The aspnet_isapi.dll calls the HTTP Runtime object in the ASP .Net worker process
6. The pipeline is implemented inside this worker process (Aspnet_wp.exe)
7. The HTTP Runtime passes the request to the HTTP Application Factory
8. The Application Factory creates an application object for the request (or reuses an existing one) by looking at which application should be invoked
9. Every virtual folder is a different “application” to IIS
10. The HTTP Application objects contains modules or filters
a. The filters can be used inspect and modify HTTP requests and responses
b. For eg, to cloak the banner of the response, or filter out HTML or script tags in the request
c. Web application firewalls will be implemented as filters
d. The filters that are active for each app can be configured in web.config
11. The HTTP Application Object uses the Handler Factory to create the appropriate Handler to pass on the request
12. The HTTP Handler is the endpoint in the pipeline. It calls the .aspx page/assembly
13. The Handler has a method called “processRequest” that is called by the Application object
14. Custom handlers can be configured in web.config
15. An IIS web server will have only one worker process at a time
16. Each worker process contains multiple app domains
17. App domains are light weight processes running inside the worker process
18. App domains are .net “processes”, different from the Windows processes
19. Each application runs on different app domains.
20. These app domains enforce isolation.
21. When multiple requests are made to the IIS server, all of them are serviced by the same HTTP runtime and the same Application Factory.
22. The Application Factory creates new app domains to service concurrent requests

a. Security and HTTP Pipelines in ASP.NET:


  1. Hi DM..

    There are lots of things that can be incorporated to build in security using HTTP pipelines.

    But I would surely say this articles has done a good attempt.


  2. Hi,

    I do not agree that HTTP Pipelines will serve as full proof solution for securing applications at gate.