ASP.NET 2.0 is built around the concept of providers. In previous versions of ASP.NET, you could customize various aspects of ASP.NET's behavior, but the methods for doing so and the difficulty of doing so varied greatly from one task to another.
With providers, there is a standard way to customize and replace different aspects of ASP.NET with your own code. With this version of ASP.NET, you can customize how ASP.NET does everything from authentication to authorization and even storing user profiles, session state, and site maps.
This chapter introduces you to the many providers available for your customization. It includes three fully functioning custom providers based on XML files, as well as information on the other providers. This chapter is very code-heavy, so I don't recommend trying to read this chapter in a few quick minutes. The code listings in this chapter tend to be longer than most of the code listings in the rest of the book. As such, to follow along you may want to use the actual code accompanying the book rather than trying to type the samples line-by-line.