ASP.NET: asynchronous calls to session-enabled web service methods

Howdy,

This time a small hint for those of you that are using jQuery and/or AJAX methods to connect with an ASP.Net web service, and the web service is using Session variables (web methods with [EnableSession=true] attribute).

I have been using this approach for some time, since I needed to persist some data for users.

However, when it came to performance tests, it occurred that the AJAX calls weren’t really asynchronous. The tests revealed that each next call waits for the previous one to finish.

The reason is quite simple and is one of ASP.net’s limitations: the first request gains exclusive access to the session and its variables, and thus prevents execution of next request until the current one completes. My approach was wrong and it took a while to discover the cause. Maybe if I had read the last paragraph of this article  first, it would have been easier 😉

So, for having better performance of concurrent request in a similar architecture, one would have to either use other ASP.net methods for persisting state (like Cache object), or write a custom solution.

Hope this helps,

Łukasz

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