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nopCommerce - Multi Tenancy - Round 3

Multi Tenancy in nopCommerce by itself seems like an on going project for me now. Previously, I talked about how I was able to create brand specific dll in one share code base. (No splitting / branching in Source Control, one code base only). I used MS Build to separate the dlls during compilation which is neat but clumsy, as most developers would overlook these places. These can be found in here.


Previously I mentioned,
nopCommerce uses App_Data\Settings.txt to store database connection string... it became a hassle to swap connection string for local development as web config transformation does not help...
The problem arise not only with development environment that I have to constantly swap connection string, but in the event of multi tenancy with same code base and separated database, the code needs to connect to the correct database automatically.

Also, this cannot be simply done by a plugin or a check of store id in nop, as we would need to connect to the right database to get the store context.

Last but not least. This article is base on nopCommerce 3.3.


  • During developments, the correct database will be picked for multiple bindings without changing Settings.txt.
  • During deployment, the correct connection string applied to the websites without manually changing the Settings.txt in production environment.
  • Conform with the nopCommerce coding standard, so we are making the least changes. Best coding practice comes after this.


For our development environment, we will add multiple domain bindings to one website.

Note we only need to bind once for all https traffic. Https binding always work on IP base not domain base, as domain information is stored in HTTP Header that is encrypted as part of the https protocol.

Although nopCommerce doesn't have multi-tenancy supported out of the box, but its multi-store functionality will help assign different stores base on the url. I have previously demonstrated that.

Note that we would not do multi binding for live environment as we still want to have separate app pool for different websites for now,



We need to create a bunch of Settings_{site}.txt, one for each site.


We will have different connection strings in each Settings.txt files.


Ideally I would like to extend this class and override the method in my own class. Unfortunately, this class does not implement any interface and no IoC involved. Plus, some vendor plugins also hard-coded the way how to instantiate this object, usually find in plugins that create their own ObjectContext.

In the LoadSettings and SaveSettings method, we will change the way how filename is picked by default to our private function.

filePath = Path.Combine(MapPath("~/App_Data/"), GetSettingFileName());

private string GetSettingFileName()
    var dbSettingName =  ConfigurationManager.AppSettings["DBSettingName"];
    var filePath = Path.Combine(MapPath("~/App_Data/"), dbSettingName);
    if (File.Exists(filePath))
        return dbSettingName;

    return filename;

Web.config Transformation

We added a new key in the web config.
<add key="DBSettingName" value="Settings_site1.txt" />

We also need to provide transformation for each build config.
<add key="DBSettingName" value="Settings_site2.txt" xdt:Transform="SetAttributes" xdt:Locator="Match(key)" />


To switch between sites during developments, we will use SlowCheetah to help transform our web.config. The correct connecting string will be picked via web config.


This is a step forward towards turning our sites to true multi-tenants environment. During development, I am now able to connect to the corresponding database just by transforming the webconfig.

In the future, I am hoping a particular store will always connect to its own db even if I bind multiple sites to only one set of dlls (one IIS website). Then I will be able to scale out the websites and provide high availability.
  • Brand specific dependencies need to be removed from web.config to another persistent storage. Maybe a share database or some sort.
  • Need to change how DataSettingsManager is instantiated. It needs to be done via IoC so it can be extended.
  • Find a balanced approach for scalibility.

How to exclude files and folders in .Net for deployment


We want to exclude some files or folders when we deploy / publish a project. They are mostly development only or internal folders that is not needed in productions.


  1. Create a new XML file in the project folder (the same folder that holds the .csproj or .vbproj file) and name it <projectname>.wpp.targets.
  2. Use the following as the base, and modify to include what folders / files to exclude.
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?>
<project toolsversion="4.0" xmlns="">
    <excludefrompackagefolders include="[semi-colon-separated-folder-list]">
    <excludefrompackagefiles include="[semi-colon-separated-files-list]">

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