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This documentation is a work in progress.

Let us know if some information is not clear, inaccurate or missing. Also feel free to update the wiki yourself.

Using XML configuration

Modified on 2012/06/04 15:32 by Patrick Steele Categorized as API, Xml


Most often you use Fluent Registration API to register and configure components. However that's not the only way and Windsor has comprehensive support for XML configuration to accomplish some of the container related tasks.

Where the configuration can live

You can keep Windsor's configuration in your app.config/web.config file, custom dedicated file or distribute it across several files if you really need to. Moreover the files can live on the disk, or be embedded in the assembly if you don't want to expose them after deployment to the users.

What to use it for

XML configuration can be used to accomplish the following goals:

Registering components in XML

Ability to register components in XML is mostly a leftover from early days of Windsor before Fluent Registration API was created. It is much less powerful than registration in code and many tasks can be only accomplished from code.

To make working with XML configuration easier it can be distributed among several files if you need to partition it.

XML schema

This documentation discusses only the default elements, provided out of the box. However Windsor's schema is not rigid and various extensions, like facilities, may (and often do) provide additional elements that extend the default set.

XML config at a glance


This section is only focused on the format, not on the code that uses or how they can be externalized.

Referencing types in XML

Windsor allows you to omit parts of assembly qualified type name when referencing types in XML. Read Referencing types in XML for details.

The reference below presents all nodes and attributes that the container uses by default. The section above contains links leading to pages exploring them in greater details.

  <!--lets you reference types from that assembly by specifying just their name, instead of assembly qualified full name.-->
  <using assembly="Acme.Crm.Services, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=1987352536523" />

  <include uri="file://Configurations/services.xml" />
  <include uri="assembly://Acme.Crm.Data/Configuration/DataConfiguration.xml" />

    <install type="Acme.Crm.Infrastructure.ServicesInstaller, Acme.Crm.Infrastructure"/>
    <install assembly="Acme.Crm.Infrastructure"/>

    <connection_string>value here</connection_string>

    <facility id="uniqueId" type="Acme.Common.Windsor.AcmeFacility, Acme.Common" />

      service="Acme.Crm.Services.INotificationService, Acme.Crm"
      type="Acme.Crm.Services.EmailNotificationService, Acme.Crm"
      customLifestyleType="type that implements ILifestyleManager"
      componentActivatorType="type that implements IComponentActivator"
      initialPoolSize="2" maxPoolSize="6">
        <add service="Acme.Crm.Services.IEmailSender, Acme.Crm" />

        <add interface="Acme.Crm.Services.IMetadataService, Acme.Crm" />


      <interceptors selector="${interceptorsSelector.id}" hook="${generationHook.id}">



Loading XML configuration

There are two ways to install XML configuration into the container:

Using static Configuration class

You can install configuration from XML just like any other installer via Configuration class (read more)

Using constructor

Using WindsorContainer's constructor:
public WindsorContainer(IConfigurationInterpreter interpreter)

you can pass reference to XML configuration file right when the container is created.

IResource resource = new AssemblyResource("assembly://Acme.Crm.Data/Configuration/services.xml");
container = new WindsorContainer(new XmlInterpreter(resource));

In this case XML file embedded in Acme.Crm.Data assembly will be used.

You can also use parameterless constructor of XmlInterpreter in which case AppDomain config file will be used as source of configuration:
container = new WindsorContainer(new XmlInterpreter());

Prefer using Configuration class

It is advised to use the other approach, mentioned above. It's not only more flexible, but also future versions of Windsor may be optimized for that usage.

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