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.NET agent 4.4 - migration from XML to JSON based configuration files in non .net core projects.




A client of ours today upgraded their Azure agent nuget version to 4.4 which removed the previous AppDynamics XML configuration file into a JSON file.  Just out of curiosity I'm wondering why this approach has been taken?


Reason for asking is that as far as I'm aware, out of the box within ASP.NET (note, this is not a .net core project) JSON configuration files do not support transformation as they would with say a "web.config" or "app.config" file.  Please do let me know if I'm wrong though.


If I'm right, AppDynamics customers not using CI CD processes won't necessarily be expecting this configuration shift leaving them confused.


Also, your latest 4.4 documentation for the Azure app service has the wrong configuration paths:


From testing it they go into ~/"AppDynamics/AppDynamicsConfig.json".


Thanks, Ben


AppDynamics Team

Hi Ben,


Thanks for the feedback -- I'm the writer for the docs for .NET, but I'm fairly new to this area. Let me research this on my end today and I'll get back to you with an answer your .json question and the correct paths.




Cody Naumann


AppDynamics Team

Hi Ben,


I heard back from one of our .NET people, and he said "Config.xml is a machine wide configuration file for configuring monitoring of multiple processes in a machine. It's not ideal for environments like Azure App Services where customers don't own the machine. Our new JSON config is application-specific."


We're still looking into the doc change. Let us know if you need anything else.



Thanks Cody, but I believe the developer is missing my point.


The "old" ASP.NET applications offer out-of-the-box transformations for XML conifguration files but not for JSON files.  This means the target AppDynamics controller name cannot be changed for build configurations as part of the MSbuild process, e.g. UAT or PROD build profiles.  I've attached two screenshots showing the issue created by the latest 4.4 release.


Note, if this was a .net core project then it wouldn't be a problem as they do support JSON config transformations.  


As far as I'm aware the fact the target deployment is Azure makes zero difference.


For now the client has rolled back to version 4.3 of the nuget package where AppDynamics still use the supported XML transformations. T here will come a time when they'll need to upgrade to the latest version resulting in them adding additional process to transform JSON files though.


Thanks again, Ben.

Got it, thanks for clarifying. @Ryan.Ericson -- would you like to provide insight on this?





Hi @ryan.ericson, did you have any thoughts about this?  If I'm wrong I'd be keen to know and understand why as well.


Feel free to email me directly as well.


Thanks, Ben.

Hi @Ben.Cripps,


I just wanted to close the loop on my end re: the documentation. I understand you are in touch with our product manager on this topic as well.


I've updated the documentation to reflect the config.json file, but what happened is that we documented cloud services along with app services and that caused the confusion. Cloud Services still use config.xml as the config file, but installing the .NET micro agent on Azure Service Fabric and Azure App Services requires the use of config.json for changes. This will be better reflected in an upcoming release of our documentation, and I've added it to our 4.4 release notes.


Thank you again for taking the time to call out the issues.