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ASP.NET Essential Training
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Formatting data with binding expressions


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ASP.NET Essential Training

with David Gassner

Video: Formatting data with binding expressions

When you present dynamic data on a webpage using the GridView or the DataList components, you can use formatting expressions to format data such as numbers and date time values. For this demonstration, I'll use the file Titles.aspx that's part of the chapter's Exercise Files. Let's start off taking a look at the page in Design View. In this page there is a DataList control that's bound to the SqlDataSource component at the bottom of the page and the SqlDataSource component is retrieving data from the server -side database's Titles table.
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  1. 18m 44s
    1. Welcome
      1m 42s
    2. Prerequisites
      2m 21s
    3. Using the exercise files
      1m 32s
    4. Upgrading exercise file websites for ASP.NET 4.5 (NEW)
      2m 40s
    5. What's new in ASP.NET 4 (NEW)
      3m 48s
    6. What's new in ASP.NET 4.5 (NEW)
      3m 23s
    7. What's new in this course update (NEW)
      3m 18s
  2. 33m 34s
    1. Understanding how ASP.NET works
      5m 52s
    2. Installing Microsoft Visual Web Developer 2008
      3m 43s
    3. Installing Visual Studio Express 2012 for web (NEW)
      2m 12s
    4. Hello World: Creating your first ASP.NET web site
      4m 28s
    5. Creating pages with dynamic output
      7m 39s
    6. Understanding the development web server
      4m 49s
    7. Exploring the development environment
      4m 51s
  3. 40m 2s
    1. Understanding Microsoft SQL Server
      5m 47s
    2. Installing SQL Server Express
      6m 51s
    3. Exploring SQL Server Management Studio Basic
      4m 23s
    4. Creating a new database
      8m 51s
    5. Connecting to the database in ASP.NET
      5m 35s
    6. Testing SQL queries
      3m 53s
    7. Presenting a dataset in an ASP.NET page
      4m 42s
  4. 25m 31s
    1. Understanding ASP.NET web form pages
      5m 51s
    2. Separating presentation and logic with code files
      4m 17s
    3. Adding web form controls to a page
      5m 25s
    4. Handling postback data in a web form page
      5m 50s
    5. Using data binding expressions
      4m 8s
  5. 48m 37s
    1. Creating a testing environment
      4m 40s
    2. Declaring and using a simple variable
      6m 14s
    3. Declaring and using a complex object
      6m 16s
    4. Using loops
      6m 52s
    5. Using functions
      9m 25s
    6. Using trace statements
      4m 47s
    7. Debugging with breakpoints
      5m 45s
    8. Commenting code
      4m 38s
  6. 17m 43s
    1. Creating web controls
      5m 53s
    2. Registering a user control on a web form page
      3m 25s
    3. Registering controls globally in the web.config file
      3m 53s
    4. Adding public properties to a web control
      4m 32s
  7. 19m 7s
    1. Understanding Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)
      5m 36s
    2. Attaching external CSS files
      3m 12s
    3. Defining a CSS selector
      6m 10s
    4. Using CSS class selectors in server controls
      4m 9s
  8. 30m 34s
    1. Presenting data with the GridView control
      5m 49s
    2. Controlling GridView paging and appearance
      5m 46s
    3. Editing data with the GridView control
      6m 57s
    4. Presenting data with the DataList control
      5m 42s
    5. Formatting data with binding expressions
      6m 20s
  9. 36m 46s
    1. Using the DetailsView control
      7m 33s
    2. Inserting data with the DetailsView control
      6m 36s
    3. Redirecting page requests
      9m 39s
    4. Creating an update page
      6m 20s
    5. Linking to update pages from the list page
      4m 3s
    6. Deleting database records
      2m 35s
  10. 22m 15s
    1. Customizing forms with item editing templates
      6m 7s
    2. Adding validator controls to a form
      6m 40s
    3. Controlling the validation error message display
      6m 24s
    4. Using the ValidationSummary control
      3m 4s
  11. 29m 49s
    1. Creating a query with joined tables
      8m 6s
    2. Replacing control style properties with CSS
      5m 50s
    3. Creating a CSS file for printing
      3m 14s
    4. Suppressing elements in printed web pages
      5m 47s
    5. Selecting data for a report
      6m 52s
  12. 11m 14s
    1. Understanding ViewState and managing postbacks
      4m 36s
    2. Using session variables
      6m 38s
  13. 20m 57s
    1. Turning on forms authentication
      1m 51s
    2. Creating a page to log in users
      4m 18s
    3. Creating a page to set up new users
      4m 6s
    4. Understanding the security database
      3m 27s
    5. Configuring security in the web.config file
      2m 59s
    6. Creating a page to log out users
      4m 16s
  14. 27m 56s
    1. Installing IIS on Windows XP
      6m 32s
    2. Installing ASP.NET 3.5 on Windows XP
      1m 39s
    3. Deploying a site on Windows XP
      5m 9s
    4. Installing Information Internet Services (IIS) on Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8
      1m 56s
    5. Configuring ASP.NET 3.5 on Windows Vista
      2m 15s
    6. Deploying an application on Windows Vista
      3m 29s
    7. Scripting a database for deployment
      3m 36s
    8. Exporting database scripts in SQL Server Management Studio 2012 (NEW)
      3m 20s
  15. 2m 0s
    1. Where to go from here
      2m 0s

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ASP.NET Essential Training
6h 24m Beginner Apr 28, 2009 Updated Feb 13, 2013

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Thousands of businesses have used Microsoft ASP.NET to build professional, dynamic websites. In this course, web developer David Gassner demonstrates the tools needed to build and deploy a dynamic site using ASP.NET 3.5 or 4.5. Covering everything from installing and configuring Visual Web Developer 2008 or Visual Studio Express 2012 for Web and SQL Server Express to creating web form pages, this course is designed to give beginning and intermediate developers hands-on experience.

Topics include:
  • Storing data with SQL Server
  • Using the GridView control to present and edit dynamic data
  • Creating a data entry system
  • Attaching external CSS files
  • Creating pages to log in and authenticate visitors
  • Installing Internet Information Services (IIS) on Windows XP and Windows Vista
  • Deploying an ASP.NET website on IIS
Subjects:
Developer Web Servers Programming Languages Web Development
Software:
ASP.NET
Author:
David Gassner

Formatting data with binding expressions

When you present dynamic data on a webpage using the GridView or the DataList components, you can use formatting expressions to format data such as numbers and date time values. For this demonstration, I'll use the file Titles.aspx that's part of the chapter's Exercise Files. Let's start off taking a look at the page in Design View. In this page there is a DataList control that's bound to the SqlDataSource component at the bottom of the page and the SqlDataSource component is retrieving data from the server -side database's Titles table.

Now let's take a look at the source code. You will see that this version of the Item Template uses an ASP panel wrapped around the set of labels. Each of the labels is displaying a value from one column of the table. The title, the price and the publication date. Binding expressions are being passed into the text properties of each of the labels. Now I'll run the page in the browser so we can see the results so for. So in the initial display we are seeing the title of each item and then we are seeing the price in raw numeric format and also the data publication in raw date format.

In this first step, I'm going to show you how to apply formatting expressions in the binding expressions that are displaying that data. I will close the browser and I'll go back to the page in Source View. I'll look at the page in Full Screen pressing Alt+Shift+Enter and now I'll place the cursor inside the Eval function for the price. The Eval function and other function such as the Bind function can take more than a single argument. When you are passing the second argument you are saying how you want to format the value.

Here is the syntax that you use. Put in a comma and then a pair of quotes. Within the quotes put in pair of curly braces. Now you are going to pass in two parts of the expression. The first part indicates which item in the list you want to format. A value of zero means the item at index zero. In array terms we are talking about the first item in the array being passed in. Then put in a colon and then you are going to indicate what kind of formatting you want.

For numeric values, a string of f2 means that you wanted to be treated as a floating number with two characters after the decimal. So again the zero before the colon means the first item in the list, using zero based array offsets. That means item zero or item number one in human terms. And then after that is the string that indicates how you want to format the value. I will save my changes and press Ctrl+ F5 and then show you result that the numeric value has been formatted with two characters after the decimal regardless of whether the real data has those values.

So for example a raw number of 20 is displayed as 20.00. So to turn that value into a currency value, I'll go back to the code, I'll place the cursor inside the quotes but before the curly brace, and I'll just put in a currency symbol, the $ sign. I'll save my changes and run the page again and there is the currency value fully formatted. Now let's try a similar thing with the date time value, the pubdate. The pubdateLabel has a binding expression with the Eval function and it's outputting the value of the pubdate column for the current data item as a literal string.

Once again, I'll place the cursor inside the Eval function after the name of the column that I'm outputting and I'll add a comma then quote, braces and a closed quote. As with the price I'll be evaluating the value of the first item in the list, the pubdate. So I'll put in a value of zero, a colon and for this first example I'll use an uppercase D. The uppercase D means a long date and you can see the ASP.NET documentation for other known formats. I'll save my change and I'll run the page and you will see that the date is now displayed as a full date including the day of the week, Wednesday, January 01, 2003.

Now that's not really what I wanted; I wanted the short version of the date. So I'll close the browser. I'll return to the code and I'll change from an uppercase D to a lowercase D, which in ASP.NET means a short date. I'll run the page again and now the dynamic dates are displayed in Month-Day-Year format. Now I'm going to apply some visual formatting to the rest of the template. I'll close the browser and return to the code. First I'll handle the label that's displaying the title. This is the only time that this label is going to be displayed. So this is a circumstance where I'm going to use the properties of the Label control. I'll set Font-Bold="true" and I'll set Font-Italic to true as well. I'll save and run the page pressing Ctrl+S and then Ctrl+F5 and now I'm seeing the titles appear as Bold and Italic. Now the prices are output as simple literal strings.

So here I'll just use standard HTML mark up. I'll wrap each of the literal strings with the strong element. I'll add that to Price and then I'll do the same thing for Published. I'll save the change and once again, I'll run the page pressing Ctrl+F5 and now I'm seeing a display that makes a little more visual sense. If you want to create additional formatting you could then create a Cascading Style Sheet class, say it with a class name title div, and then you could apply that class to the ASP Panel container that's wrapping all of the content.

Another thing worth knowing about is that you can add something called an AlternatingItemTemplate. The AlternatingItemTemplate, which is also wrapped inside the DataList, determines how every other presentation of data is displayed. So you could create an AlternatingItemTemplate that repeats this output, but for example sets a background color on that panel. So that's a look at how to apply formatting to dynamic data that's retrieved from the server. There are a lot of other options than the simple formatting expressions I showed here and again, if you want some more options take a look at the ASP.NET documentation for all of the variations in formatting strings that are available.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about ASP.NET Essential Training.


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Q: When trying to create a new database, after pasting the text into the SQL Management Suite and executing the query, the database is not created and the following message appears: 

Database 'mybookstore' does not exist. Make sure that the name is entered correctly

What is causing this error?
A: The database must be explicitly created before the script is run. Start by right-clicking on the Databases item in the left panel, then follow the prompts to create the database. Then retry the query.
Q: I am running into problems installing the latest version of ASP.NET. Has the installation procedure changed since this tutorial was recorded?
A: The installation process for the newest version of ASP.NET and its associated tools is a little different than in ASP.NET 3.5, which was used to record this course. You can download Microsoft Web Platform Installer 2.0 from:
<a href="http://www.microsoft.com/web/downloads/platform.aspx" target="blank">http://www.microsoft.com/web/downloads/platform.aspx</a>
Microsoft Web Platform Installer 2.0 includes everything you need:
ASP.NET 4?
Visual Web Developer 2010?
SQL Server Express
You must have one of the following operating systems:
Windows 7?
Windows Vista?
Windows Vista SP1?
Windows XP SP2+?
Windows Server 2003 SP1+?
Windows Server 2008?
Windows Server 2008 R2
You must have administrator privileges on your computer to run the Web Platform Installer.
Q: This course was updated on 2/13/2013. What changed?
A: Since this course was recorded, Microsoft has released both ASP.NET 4.5, the latest version of the server-side web application server, and Visual Studio Express 2012 for Web (the successor product to Visual Web Developer). Both have been adapted to work on Windows 8. There will be some visual changes and some functional changes, but most of the server-side code shown in the course is the same. This update provides a map for those working with the latest software so they can navigate their way through the course.

In particular, we added <em>What's new</em> movies for both ASP.NET 4 and 4.5, a movie explaining the significance of the update, a movie on installing SQL Server Express 2012, and one on exporting database scripts in SQL Server Management Studio 2012, as well as updates to visuals throughout the course.
Q: In the chapter on user authentication, an authentication error results when I try to use the Login component or register a new user. How do I fix this?
A: This is a known error that can occur when using the original release of Visual Studio 2012 Express for Web. Update your copy of Visual Studio for Web to at least maintenance release 1, and then try the exercise again.
 
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