How to assign Profile values?

I don’t know what I am missing, but I added Profile properties in the Web.config file but cannot access Profile.Item in the code or create a new profile.


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Method 1

I had the same problem today, and learned a lot.

There are two kinds of project in Visual Studio — “Web Site Projects” and “Web Application Projects.” For reasons which are a complete mystery to me, Web Application Projects cannot use Profile. directly… the strongly-typed class is not magically generated for you from the Web.config file, so you have to roll your own.

The sample code in MSDN assumes you are using a Web Site Project, and they tell you just to add a <profile> section to your Web.config and party on with, but that doesn’t work in Web Application Projects.

You have two choices to roll your own:

(1) Use the Web Profile Builder. This is a custom tool you add to Visual Studio which automatically generates the Profile object you need from your definition in Web.config.

I chose not to do this, because I didn’t want my code to depend on this extra tool to compile, which could have caused problems for someone else down the line when they tried to build my code without realizing that they needed this tool.

(2) Make your own class that derives from ProfileBase to represent your custom profile. This is easier than it seems. Here’s a very very simple example that adds a “FullName” string profile field:

In your web.config:

<profile defaultProvider="SqlProvider" inherits="YourNamespace.AccountProfile">

     <clear />
     <add name="SqlProvider"
          connectionStringName="sqlServerMembership" />


In a file called AccountProfile.cs:

using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Linq;
using System.Web;
using System.Web.Profile;
using System.Web.Security;

namespace YourNamespace
    public class AccountProfile : ProfileBase
        static public AccountProfile CurrentUser
            get { return (AccountProfile)
                         (ProfileBase.Create(Membership.GetUser().UserName)); }

        public string FullName
            get { return ((string)(base["FullName"])); }
            set { base["FullName"] = value; Save(); }

        // add additional properties here

To set a profile value:

AccountProfile.CurrentUser.FullName = "Snoopy";

To get a profile value

string x = AccountProfile.CurrentUser.FullName;

Method 2

Web Application Projects can still use the ProfileCommon object but only at runtime. The code for it is just not generated in the project itself but the class is generated by ASP.Net and is present at runtime.

The simplest way to get to object is to use a dynamic type as demonstrated below.

In the Web.config file declare the profile properties:

<profile ...
   <add name="GivenName"/>
   <add name="Surname"/>

Then to access the properties:

dynamic profile = ProfileBase.Create(Membership.GetUser().UserName);
string s = profile.GivenName;
profile.Surname = "Smith";

To save changes to profile properties:


The above works fine if you are comfortable using dynamic types and don’t mind the lack of compile-time checking and intellisense.

If you use this with ASP.Net MVC you have to do some additional work if you pass the dynamic profile object to your views since the HTML helper methods don’t play well with “model” objects that are dynamic. You will have to assign profile properties to statically typed variables before passing them to HTML helper methods.

// model is of type dynamic and was passed in from the controller
@Html.TextBox("Surname", model.Surname) <-- this breaks

@{ string sn = model.Surname; }
@Html.TextBox("Surname", sn); <-- will work

If you create a custom profile class, as Joel described above, ASP.Net will still generate the ProfileCommon class but it will inherit from your custom profile class. If you don’t specify a custom profile class ProfileCommon will inherit from System.Web.Profile.ProfileBase.

If you create your own profile class make sure that you don’t specify profile properties in the Web.config file that you’ve already declared in your custom profile class. If you do ASP.Net will give a compiler error when it tries to generate the ProfileCommon class.

Method 3

Profile can be used in Web Application Projects too.
The properties can be defined in Web.config at design time or programmatically. In Web.config:

<profile enabled="true" automaticSaveEnabled="true" defaultProvider="AspNetSqlProfileProvider">
        <add name="AspNetSqlProfileProvider" type="System.Web.Profile.SqlProfileProvider" connectionStringName="ApplicationServices" applicationName="TestRolesNProfiles"/>
        <add name="FirstName"/>
        <add name="LastName"/>
        <add name ="Street"/>
        <add name="Address2"/>
        <add name="City"/>
        <add name="ZIP"/>
        <add name="HomePhone"/>
        <add name="MobilePhone"/>
        <add name="DOB"/>


or Programmatically, create the profile section by instantiating a ProfileSection and creating individual properties using ProfilePropertySettings and ProfilePropertySettingsColletion, all of which are in System.Web.Configuration Namespace.
To use those properties of the profile, use System.Web.Profile.ProfileBase Objects. The profile properties cannot be accessed with profile. syntax as mentioned above, but can be easily done by instantiating a ProfileBase and using SetPropertyValue(“PropertyName“) and GetPropertyValue{“PropertyName“) as follows:

ProfileBase curProfile = ProfileBase.Create("MyName");

or to access the profile of current user:

ProfileBase curProfile = ProfileBase.Create(System.Web.Security.Membership.GetUser().UserName);

        curProfile.SetPropertyValue("FirstName", this.txtName.Text);
        curProfile.SetPropertyValue("LastName", this.txtLname.Text);
        curProfile.SetPropertyValue("Street", this.txtStreet.Text);
        curProfile.SetPropertyValue("Address2", this.txtAdd2.Text);
        curProfile.SetPropertyValue("ZIP", this.txtZip.Text);
        curProfile.SetPropertyValue("MobilePhone", txtMphone.Text);
        curProfile.SetPropertyValue("HomePhone", txtHphone.Text);
        curProfile.SetPropertyValue("DOB", txtDob.Text);

Method 4

When you create a new Web site project in Visual Studio then the object that is returned from Profile will be (automatically) generated for you. When you create a Web application project or an MVC project, you will have to roll your own.

This probably sounds more difficult than it is. You need to do the following:

  • Create a database using aspnet_regsql.exe This tool is installed along with the .NET framework.
  • Write a class that derives from ProfileGroupBase or install the Web Profile Builder (WPB) that can generate the class for you from the definition in Web.Config. I have been using WPB for a while and up until now it has done what is expected of it. If you have a lot of properties, using WPB can save quite a bit of time.
  • Make sure the connection to the database is properly configured in Web.Config.
  • Now you are set to create an instance of your profile class (in the controller)
  • You will probably need the profile property values in your views. I like to pass the profile object itself along to the view (not individual properties).

Method 5

If you are using a web application project, you cannot access the Profile object at design-time out-of-the-box. Here is a utility that supposedly does it for you: Personally, that utility caused an error in my project so I ended up rolling my own profile class to inherit from ProfileBase. It was not hard to do at all.

Method 6

MSDN walkthrough for creating a custom class (a.k.a. Joel’s method):

Method 7

I was also running through the same issue. But instead of creating a class which inherits from ProfileBase, I used the HttpContext.

Specify properties in web.config file as follows : –

Now, write the following code : –

Code Behind Profile Properties

Compile and run the code. You will get following output: –


Method 8

The Web Profile Builder worked great for me. The class it generated has a lot more in it than as described by Joel’s post. Whether or not its actually needed or useful I dont know.

Anyway for those looking for an easy way to generate the class, but not wanting to have an external build tool dependency you can always

  • use the web profile builder
  • delete all trace of it!
  • keep using the generated Profile class

OR (untested but may just work)

  • create a web site project
  • create your element
  • snap the generated class and copy it over to your web project project

if this second approach does work can someone let me know for future reference

Method 9

Just want to add to Joel Spolsky’s answer

I implemented his solution, working brilliantly btw – Cudos!

For anyone wanting to get a user profile that’s not the logged in user I used:


    <clear />
    <add name="LocalSqlConnection" connectionString="Data Source=***;Database=***;User Id=***;Password=***;Initial Catalog=***;Integrated Security=false" providerName="System.Data.SqlClient" />


<profile defaultProvider="SqlProvider" inherits="NameSpace.AccountProfile" enabled="true">
    <add name="SqlProvider" type="System.Web.Profile.SqlProfileProvider" connectionStringName="LocalSqlConnection"/>

And then my custom class:

using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Linq;
using System.Web;
using System.Web.Profile;
using System.Web.Security;

namespace NameSpace
    public class AccountProfile : ProfileBase
        static public AccountProfile CurrentUser
                return (AccountProfile)

        static public AccountProfile GetUser(MembershipUser User)
            return (AccountProfile)

        /// <summary>
        /// Find user with matching barcode, if no user is found function throws exception
        /// </summary>
        /// <param name="Barcode">The barcode to compare against the user barcode</param>
        /// <returns>The AccountProfile class with matching barcode or null if the user is not found</returns>
        static public AccountProfile GetUser(string Barcode)
            MembershipUserCollection muc = Membership.GetAllUsers();

            foreach (MembershipUser user in muc)
                if (AccountProfile.GetUser(user).Barcode == Barcode)
                    return (AccountProfile)
            throw new Exception("User does not exist");

        public bool isOnJob
            get { return (bool)(base["isOnJob"]); }
            set { base["isOnJob"] = value; Save(); }

        public string Barcode
            get { return (string)(base["Barcode"]); }
            set { base["Barcode"] = value; Save(); }

Works like a charm…

Method 10

Great post,

Just a note on the web.config
if you dont specify the inherit attribute in the profile element
you will need to specify each indiviudal profile property inside the profile
element on the web.config as below

    <add name="property-name-1" />
    <add name="property-name-2" />


All methods was sourced from or, is licensed under cc by-sa 2.5, cc by-sa 3.0 and cc by-sa 4.0

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