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Presenting data with the DataList control

From: ASP.NET Essential Training

Video: Presenting data with the DataList control

The ASP.NET Framework includes many other visual controls that are data-aware. They can be used to display data using a format other than an HTML table. In this demonstration, I'll show you how to use a control called the DataList that allows you to create a template for how you want each item in a dataset to be displayed. For this demonstration I'll use the file Publishers.aspx. I'll open the file and show you that it currently doesn't have any data controls in it. There is no SqlDataSource and there is no GridView. I'll look at the file in Design View. I'll place the cursor at the end of the line that says "This page will show a list of Publishers" and I'll press Enter to create a new paragraph.

Presenting data with the DataList control

The ASP.NET Framework includes many other visual controls that are data-aware. They can be used to display data using a format other than an HTML table. In this demonstration, I'll show you how to use a control called the DataList that allows you to create a template for how you want each item in a dataset to be displayed. For this demonstration I'll use the file Publishers.aspx. I'll open the file and show you that it currently doesn't have any data controls in it. There is no SqlDataSource and there is no GridView. I'll look at the file in Design View. I'll place the cursor at the end of the line that says "This page will show a list of Publishers" and I'll press Enter to create a new paragraph.

Then I'll go to the Database Explorer and I'll drag in the publishers table from the list of Tables and place it within the paragraph. You'll see that that creates both a GridView and an SqlDataSource. For this demonstration I don't actually need the GridView. So I'll click on it and then press Delete. The purpose of dragging in the table was to create that SqlDataSource component that's already populated with the required SQL statements to get the data from the server. Now, I'll take a look a generated source code. You'll see that the SqlDataSource component is created within the visual presentation of the page.

This really isn't necessary. The SqlDataSource component doesn't create any visual output. It doesn't actually generate any HTML. The only requirement is that it must be placed within the ASP.NET form that runs at the server. So, I'm going to click on this little tree icon to collapse the SqlDataSource object. Then I'll click at the beginning and drag down one line. Then I'll cut it to the clipboard by pressing Ctrl+X. Then I'll move the cursor below the paragraph, but still within the form. I'll place the cursor at the beginning of the line and then I'll paste by pressing Ctrl+V.

You'll see that even though the SqlDataSource element was collapsed when I cut it to the clipboard, when I pasted in, its code is still intact. I'll go back up to the Paragraph tag and I'm just reformatting the code a little bit to make it a little bit easier to read. Then I'll look in Design View again. So now the SqlDataSource component, which again doesn't generate any HTML, is placed outside the visual presentation. Now, I'm going to add a DataList component. I'll go to the Toolbox, which I can find through the tabbed interface on the left, and I'll pin the Toolbox panel by clicking the Pushpin icon to make it stay on the screen. Now, I'll go to the Data category and I'll select the DataList component and I'll click-and-drag it and I'll drop it within the paragraph.

When the DataList component is first dropped in, it doesn't have any output. It's up to me to select a data source and then to start creating the template to describe how the list will present its data. I'll go to the list of tasks for the DataList component and I'll pull down the list for Choose Data Source, and you'll see that only one data source is declared SqlDataSource1 and I'll select it. Visual Web Developer reacts by creating a default template. It displays Labels and Data for each column returned in the data source. Let's take a look at the code that was generated. I'll click Source View and then press Alt+Shift+Enter to look at the source code in Full Screen and close the Output panel if necessary.

The DataList control is described with a data source ID of SqlDatasource1. That's how it's getting its data from the server. Then within a nested item template element, it describes how the data will be displayed. The item template can be a combination of literal text plus ASP.NET server controls. For each server control, you'll see a Text property. Within the Text property, a dynamic expression which consist of the < character and % and a pound sign at the beginning, which means that this a data binding expression.

And then within the binding expression you'll see a call to a function called Eval. Then within that you pass in the name of the column whose value you want to present. So within the default template, I have literal strings plus instances of the ASP.NET Label control for each column. I'm going to remove the literal string, the Label control, and the Break tag for the pub_id column. I'll select those three lines and then press Delete. I'll remove the literal string pub_name and I'll also reduce down to only one Break tag after the Label.

The result would be that at runtime ASP. NET loops over the data that's returned from the database and it will render one copy of this template for each item in the dataset. Now, I'll save my changes, go to the menu and select Debug > Start Without Debugging. You'll see when the page is displayed that it shows the list of Publishers. Notice that I never show the user the values of the primary key columns. These columns are used internally to track data and join tables at runtime. But they're values that the user shouldn't have any interest in.

Now I'll make one another change to the page. I'll close the browser. I'll go back to the Design View. I'll click into the original paragraph with the text "This page will show a list of Publishers". I'll click on the Paragraph tab to select the entire element and press Delete. I'll save my changes again. I'll run the page by selecting Debug > Start Without Debugging. There is my completed page for now showing the list of Publishers that my bookstore represents.

Show transcript

This video is part of

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ASP.NET Essential Training

79 video lessons · 48705 viewers

David Gassner
Author

 
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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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