Strongly Typed Configuration in .NET8

Strongly Typed Configuration in .NET8


In the latest iteration of .NET, specifically .NET 8, there’s an enhanced way to manage configuration settings. This approach involves using strongly typed classes and the IOptions pattern, a combination that offers a remarkably clean and type-safe method for handling configuration settings.

Firstly, the use of strongly typed classes is a significant step forward. By leveraging these classes, you can define configuration settings in a structured and type-safe manner. This approach improves code readability and minimises the likelihood of errors that often arise from mismanaged configuration values.

Furthermore, integrating the IOptions pattern takes configuration management to a new level. The IOptions pattern serves as a bridge, connecting your strongly typed classes with the configuration system in .NET 8. It provides a streamlined way to access configuration values through dependency injection, thus promoting a more modular and testable codebase.

Moreover, this combination of strongly typed classes and the IOptions pattern simplifies the process of updating and maintaining configuration settings.

The method of managing configuration in .NET 8 using strongly typed classes coupled with the IOptions pattern represents a significant advancement. It offers a more organised and error-resistant approach and aligns with modern coding practices that emphasise maintainability and scalability.

Here’s how you can implement this:

Step 1: Define a Configuration Class

First, you define a class that represents your configuration settings. For example, I had RabbitMQ settings in my appsettings.json, and so I created a corresponding class:

public class RabbitMQOptions
    public string Host { get; set; }
    public int Port { get; set; }

Step 2: Configure and Bind the Settings in Program.cs

.NET 8 maintains the use of the streamlined minimal hosting model, a feature first introduced in .NET 6, ensuring continuity and ease of use for developers. This model is a significant advancement, simplifying the way applications are set up and configured.

In this updated version, .NET 8 allows you to directly bind your configuration to a strongly typed class right within Program.cs. This integration signifies a more straightforward approach to managing configurations. By enabling direct binding in Program.cs, it eliminates the need for additional steps and complexities traditionally associated with configuration management.

Furthermore, the ability to bind configurations to strongly typed classes enhances the clarity and robustness of the code. It allows developers to work with well-defined and structured data, reducing the likelihood of errors and improving maintainability. This change is not only a time-saver but also a step towards more intuitive and developer-friendly coding practices.

In essence, .NET 8’s continuation of the minimal hosting model, coupled with the direct binding feature in Program.cs, exemplifies the framework’s commitment to simplifying and streamlining the development process. These enhancements play a crucial role in making .NET a more efficient and accessible platform for building modern applications.

Here’s how:

var builder = WebApplication.CreateBuilder(args);

// Bind RabbitMQ settings from the configuration
var rabbitMQOptions = builder.Configuration.GetSection("RabbitMQ").Get<RabbitMQOptions>();

// Register RabbitMQOptions instance with the DI container

// Rest of your setup...
var app = builder.Build();
// Configure the HTTP request pipeline, etc.

In this example, the GetSection("RabbitMQ") method retrieves the RabbitMQ configuration section from appsettings.json, and Get<RabbitMQOptions>() binds it to an instance of RabbitMQOptions.

Step 3: Use the Configuration in Your Application

You can now inject RabbitMQOptions into your controllers, services, or other parts of your application:

public class MyService
    private readonly RabbitMQOptions _rabbitMQOptions;

    public MyService(RabbitMQOptions rabbitMQOptions)
        _rabbitMQOptions = rabbitMQOptions;

    public void ConnectToRabbitMQ()
        // Use _rabbitMQOptions.Host and _rabbitMQOptions.Port

Binding Configuration Sections in .NET 8

.NET 8 continues to streamline application configuration, making it easy and efficient to work with strongly typed settings. One of the key features for managing configuration is the ability to bind sections of your appsettings.json file (or other configuration sources) to POCO (Plain Old CLR Object) classes. This feature provides a robust, type-safe way to access configuration values.

Here’s an in-depth look at how to use the Bind method for this purpose:

Understanding the Bind Method

The Bind method links a specific section of your configuration to a corresponding class. This approach is especially useful when working with complex configurations, as it organises settings into logical groups and maps them to your application’s domain models or options classes.

Example: Binding a Configuration Section

Suppose you have an appsettings.json file with a section named “RabbitMQConfig”, and you have a corresponding RabbitMQOptions class:

  "RabbitMQConfig": {
    "Host": "localhost",
    "Port": 5672
  // Other settings...

The options class would look like this, with each field from the configuration file as a property. Also, note that the different data types from the configuration file are mapped to dot net data types, too.

public class RabbitMQOptions
    public string Host { get; set; }
    public int Port { get; set; }

To bind this configuration section in Program.cs:

var builder = WebApplication.CreateBuilder(args);

// Create an instance of the options class
var rabbitMQOptions = new RabbitMQOptions();

// Bind the configuration section to the instance

// Register the instance with the DI container

// Rest of the setup...
var app = builder.Build();
// Configure the HTTP request pipeline, etc.

Advantages of Using Bind:

  • Clarity and Maintainability: This method separates configuration sections and their corresponding classes, making the code readable and maintainable.
  • Type Safety: Binding to a POCO class provides compile-time checking of configuration keys and values, reducing runtime errors.
  • Ease of Use: The Bind method simplifies fetching complex configurations, allowing you to access configuration values through properties on your class.

Best Practices:

Validate Configuration

After binding, it’s good practice to validate the configuration data to ensure all required settings are provided and valid. I do this by adding a Validate method within your Configuration Data class and calling it after the data is bound. I like this method, as it allows me to ensure the configuration data can be mapped cleanly before the application starts.

Handle Optional Settings

When dealing with configuration values in my programming, it’s important I remember that if some of these values are optional, my class should be designed to handle situations where these values are missing or set to their defaults. Firstly, this involves ensuring that my class has a robust structure capable of identifying when a value is not provided and substituting it with a suitable default.

Moreover, this careful handling can be implemented within the validation method previously mentioned. By doing so, I not only streamline the process of checking for missing values, but consolidate the logic related to handling defaults. This consolidation is beneficial as it maintains the clarity and maintainability of your code.

Furthermore, incorporating this functionality within the validation method allows for a more seamless and efficient operation. When I do this I ensure that all necessary checks and balances regarding configuration values are centralized, making my code easier to read and debug. This centralization also aids in reducing the chances of errors related to missing or default values, enhancing the overall reliability of your application.

Sensitive Data

When dealing with sensitive data in my configuration files, it’s imperative to exercise caution. This data, if compromised, can lead to significant security risks. To mitigate these risks, it’s highly advisable to utilize secrets management tools.

First and foremost, it’s essential to understand the nature of sensitive data and why it demands extra care. This type of data often includes passwords, API keys, and other confidential information that, if exposed, could be detrimental to the security and integrity of my application.

Moving forward, one effective strategy is to leverage the secrets management tools available in .NET or those provided by your hosting environment. They often employ encryption and other security measures to protect this data.

Additionally, I personally advocate for separating secrets from standard configuration details. This separation not only makes managing these different types of data clearer but also heightens awareness of their importance. By making a clear distinction between regular configuration data and sensitive secrets, I am continuously and consistently reminded of the importance of handling the latter with the utmost care.

This practice of segregation also aids in implementing a more organized and secure approach to configuration management. It ensures that team members are acutely aware of the nature of the data they are handling, which in turn promotes a culture of security and vigilance within the development process.


  • This approach ensures that my configuration is strongly typed, reducing the risk of runtime errors due to misconfigured settings.
  • By injecting RabbitMQOptions into my services or controllers, I can make my code cleaner and more testable. As a result, there is less code, and what code there is is type-safe. Basically, I can’t get it wrong – at least not without trying hard!
  • I always ensure my appsettings.json contains the corresponding configuration sections and that they are correctly formatted, as this will make binding the data easy.

These methods align with modern best practices in .NET for handling configuration and provide a scalable and maintainable approach to managing application settings.

You can find the official dotnet documentation for this here: –

I have a few other posts in the same vein, including: – Understanding GetRequiredService in .NET: Enhancing Dependency Injection, TypeScript Configuration Files: Best Practices and Essentials.


Hi, my name is Stephen Finchett. I have been a software engineer for over 30 years and worked on complex, business critical, multi-user systems for all of my career. For the last 15 years, I have been concentrating on web based solutions using the Microsoft Stack including ASP.Net, C#, TypeScript, SQL Server and running everything at scale within Kubernetes.