I am not sure how to phrase this, but in asp.net there is the notion of a "web application" that is fundamentally just a DLL that the web server loads. It has the ability to dynamically discover and load user controls at runtime (e.g. a customized button), using something called MEF (which can discover dlls and load them). What I have not been able to find anything about is if it asp.net is capable of loading other asp.net web applications. E.g. web application A, looks for any dlls in a folder and dynamically loads them one by one (and maybe loads their index.html pages in a iframe).

Can this be done in asp.net or other web frameworks?

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    +1. great question! I was looking for answers on this myself. However, i would amend if there other non asp.net web frameworks which could do this as well? – Dipan Mehta Feb 24 '12 at 6:26

Sounds like a bit of background research is in your future... Yes, asp.net 4.0 does have MEF, which allows you to, in theory, build web applications that can technically have extended functionality by a third party through interfaces and a few decorators. It's slightly hairy though, because of the ascx and asps pages... If you choose to go through using asp.net MVC, it may be slightly easier. As you do your research, you'll find that there are two main paths people take.. Asp.net MVC, and web forms (some just list it as asp.net,)

If you go mvc, you'll want to look at portable areas to create the functionality you're talking about.

  • I'm an ASP.NET developer. However, I'm pretty sure it is impossible for one web application to load another application at runtime (using asp.net). – O.O Feb 24 '12 at 5:11

Sounds like you're looking for a widget framework. You could achieve this with something like wookie. Also, look into IWC (Inter-widget Communication).


Frameworks that have a good architectural premise for building large applications provide a notion of an application, a full-blown container that provides it's own MVC triads, URL mappings, tests, static resources, translations and what have you. While most Web framework provide you with some kind of an ability to plug in 3rd party solutions, unless there's support for a concept of an application, your results may vary.

You may look into Django and Flask, as they have first-class support for applications.

Django specifies applications as simple Python packages that follow a few conventions and Flask provides an application object that describes a WSGI application. Both concepts of applications allow you to develop applications that are self-contained and that can be distributed independently of any project.

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