Delay's Blog

Silverlight, WPF, Windows Phone, Web Platform, .NET, and more...

November, 2006

Posts
  • Delay's Blog

    Dynamic content made easy *redux* [How to: Use the new dynamic population support for Toolkit controls]

    • 23 Comments

    I previously blogged a sample demonstrating how to use the AJAX Control Toolkit's dynamic population functionality with a data-bound ModalPopup. That sample was well received, but some of the changes that happened as part of the ASP.NET AJAX Beta 1 and Beta 2 releases have rendered the sample code I originally posted un-runnable on current builds.

    No worries - it's a simple matter to update the sample and the exercise should serve as a good example of some of the things that need to be done as part of an upgrade. (For a far more in depth guide to upgrading, please refer to Shawn's AJAX Control Toolkit Migration Guide and follow-up about upgrading Web Services/Methods.)

    Referring to the sample code I posted earlier as a starting point, the 5 things we need to do to update it are:

    1. Change the tag prefix for ScriptManager from "atlas" to "asp" to point to the new location for ScriptManager
    2. Change the @Register tag to refer to the AjaxControlToolkit by its new name ("AtlasControlToolkit"->"AjaxControlToolkit" twice and "atlasToolkit"->"ajaxToolkit" once)
    3. Change the corresponding tag prefix for ModalPopupExtender from "atlasToolkit" to "ajaxToolkit"
    4. Copy the properties of the ModalPopupProperties element to the ModalPopupExtender element and remove the empty ModalPopupProperties element now that the XxxProperties elements are no longer used
    5. Update the web method definition by making the GetContent method static and adding the [Microsoft.Web.Script.Services.ScriptMethod] attribute

    That's it! As you can see, it's mostly simple "find-and-replace" naming changes that can easily be applied to an entire site at once. The XxxProperties change is slightly more involved, but requires very little effort since it's basically just a "cut-and-paste" operation. The web method changes are also a little bit of effort, but the changes themselves are simple and it's easy to find where to make them by searching for the pre-existing "WebMethod" attribute. Nothing here is risky or error-prone and - with the exception of the web method changes - the compiler will report all of them as errors until they're fixed correctly.

    For completeness, here's a reminder of what dynamic population looks like in action:

    Animated demonstration

    And here's the complete sample code after the changes discussed above have been applied. This sample runs fine on the ASP.NET AJAX Beta 2 and the AJAX Control Toolkit 61106 release:

    <%@ Page Language="C#" %>
    <%
    @ Register Assembly="AjaxControlToolkit" Namespace="AjaxControlToolkit"
      TagPrefix="ajaxToolkit" %>
    <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN"
      "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd">

    <
    script runat="server">
      [System.Web.Services.WebMethod]
      [Microsoft.Web.Script.Services.
    ScriptMethod]
      
    public static string GetContent(string contextKey)
      {
        
    // Create a random color
        string color = (new Random()).Next(0xffffff).ToString("x6");
        
    // Use the style specified by the page author
        string style = contextKey;
        
    // Display the current time
        string time = DateTime.Now.ToLongTimeString();
        
    // Compose the content to return
        return "<span style='color:#" + color + "; " + style + "'>" + time + "</span> ";
      }
    </script>

    <
    html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">
    <
    head id="Head1" runat="server">
      <title>Dynamic ModalPopup Demonstration</title>

      <%-- Style the page so it looks pretty --%>
      
    <style type="text/css">
        body { font-family:Verdana;     font-size:10pt; }
        
    .background { background-color:Gray; }
        
    .popup { width:200px;             padding:10px;        background-color:White;
                
    border-style:solid;      border-color:Black;  border-width:2px;
                
    vertical-align: middle;  text-align:center; }
      
    </style>
    </
    head>
    <
    body>
      <form id="form1" runat="server">

        <%-- Atlas pages need a ScriptManager --%>
        
    <asp:ScriptManager ID="ScriptManager1" runat="server" />

        <%-- A very simple data source to drive the demonstration --%>
        
    <asp:XmlDataSource ID="XmlDataSource1" runat="server">
          <Data>
            <items>
              <item style="font-weight:bold" />
              <item style="font-style:italic" />
              <item style="text-decoration:underline" />
            </items>
          </Data>
        </asp:XmlDataSource>

        <%-- A simple list of all the data items available --%>
        
    <asp:DataList ID="DataList1" runat="server" DataSourceID="XmlDataSource1">

          <HeaderTemplate>
            How would you like your dynamic content styled?
          
    </HeaderTemplate>

          <ItemTemplate>
            &bull; <asp:LinkButton ID="LinkButton" runat="server" Text='<%# Eval("style") %>' />

            <%-- The ModalPopupExtender, popping up Panel1 and dynamically populating Panel2 --%>
            
    <ajaxToolkit:ModalPopupExtender ID="ModalPopupExtender" runat="server"
                TargetControlID="LinkButton" PopupControlID="Panel1" OkControlID="Button1"
                BackgroundCssClass="background" DynamicControlID="Panel2"
                DynamicContextKey='<%# Eval("style") %>' DynamicServiceMethod="GetContent" />
          </ItemTemplate>

        </asp:DataList>

        <%-- All ModalPopups share the same popup --%>
        
    <asp:Panel ID="Panel1" runat="server" CssClass="popup" style="display:none;">
          <p>This popup popped at <asp:Label ID="Panel2" runat="server" /> and all was well.</p>
          <p><asp:Button ID="Button1" runat="server" Text="OK" /></p>
        </asp:Panel>

      </form>
    </
    body>
    </
    html>

    Enjoy!

  • Delay's Blog

    Talked Toolkit [Spoke at the ASP.NET Connections conference]

    • 5 Comments

    As I blogged earlier, I presented the AMS302: "Atlas" AJAX Control Toolkit Unleashed: Creating Rich Client-Side Controls and Components session at the Microsoft ASP.NET Connections conference a few hours ago. This was my first ever presentation at a conference and it was a lot of fun! I hope those of you who attended enjoyed the talk and learned more about the Toolkit - it was great to have an opportunity to talk to you in person!

    I've attached my slide deck and the demo content to this post so that anyone who's interested can download it and play around on their own machines.

    We're always looking for more contributors and additional control ideas, so please let me know if you want to contribute!

  • Delay's Blog

    Dynamic content made easy *remix* [How to: Use the new dynamic population support for Toolkit controls]

    I previously blogged an update to my sample demonstrating how to use the AJAX Control Toolkit's dynamic population functionality with a data-bound ModalPopup. Someone asked privately what the C# page method would look like in VB, so I figured I'd post a small follow-up to show the straightforward translation to VB.

    Here's the original C# code for reference:

    <script runat="server">
    [System.Web.Services.WebMethod]
    [Microsoft.Web.Script.Services.
    ScriptMethod]
    public static string GetContent(string contextKey)
    {
        
    // Create a random color
        string color = (new Random()).Next(0xffffff).ToString("x6");
        
    // Use the style specified by the page author
        string style = contextKey;
        
    // Display the current time
        string time = DateTime.Now.ToLongTimeString();
        
    // Compose the content to return
        return "<span style='color:#" + color + "; " + style + "'>" + time + "</span> ";
    }
    </script>

    Translating that to VB is largely a matter of changing the syntactic elements from their C# versions to their VB versions. So "[" becomes "<", "}" becomes "End Function", and so on... Two things that tripped me up because I don't regularly use VB were the translation of the hexadecimal prefix "0x" to "&H" and the translation of "static" to "Shared" - but a quick look at the online documentation for VB sorted me out on both counts. After a short while, I ended up with this:

    <script runat="server">
        <System.Web.Services.WebMethod()> _
        <Microsoft.Web.Script.Services.ScriptMethod()> _
        
    Public Shared Function GetContent(ByVal contextKey As String) As String
            ' Create a random color
            Dim color As String = (New Random()).Next(&HFFFFFF).ToString("x6")
            
    ' Use the style specified by the page author
            Dim style As String = contextKey
            
    ' Display the current time
            Dim time As String = DateTime.Now.ToLongTimeString()
            
    ' Compose the content to return
            Return "<span style='color:#" + color + "; " + style + "'>" + time + "</span> "
        End Function
    </
    script>

    I completed the translation by changing the sample page's Page/Language property from "C#" to "VB", ran the sample page, and verified that it worked just like it did before. Of course! :)

  • Delay's Blog

    Another quick, small-scale release [AJAX Control Toolkit update!]

    Just a short while ago we made available the 61121 release of the AJAX Control Toolkit. I'd barely finished posting the release bits to CodePlex and was still in the process of verifying them when I saw that we'd already had our first eight customer downloads. Wow, those people must really want the latest stuff! :)

    The 61121 release was all about addressing some of the biggest pain points for our customers. Of particular note were two workarounds for ASP.NET AJAX Beta 2 issues:

    • The first addresses an issue where the Toolkit had a hard dependency on Microsoft.Web.Extensions.Design.dll, a file that isn't installed by ASP.NET AJAX Beta 2 on machines that don't have some flavor of Visual Studio already installed. This dependency can cause obvious issues for web servers since they usually do not have development tools like Visual Studio installed.
    • The second addresses an issue where ASP.NET AJAX Beta 2 doesn't render the ScriptManager/extenders out to the page during an async postback if EnableEventValidation=false - meaning that the relevant extenders simply don't get recreated after an UpdatePanel postback. We reported this issue to the ASP.NET AJAX team prior to Beta 2, but there wasn't time for them to fix it in that release (don't worry, they'll be fixing it in their next release!). We'd implemented a workaround for this issue in our earlier 61106 release, but it applied only to CascadingDropDown (which is the only control that requires EnableEventValidation=false). Subsequent customer feedback prompted us to move that workaround up a level for this release so that it now applies to the entire Toolkit.

    In addition to those two "big ticket" items, we also fixed a handful of other issues, most of which we chose based on customer feedback and work item voting on CodePlex. (Voting is a fairly recent addition - have a look at how it focuses attention on issues that are important to the community!). The other fixes in the 61121 release address the most popular issues in our CodePlex queue and include fixes for ModalPopup server-side show/hide, ClientState within an UpdatePanel, Accordion pane size updates, multiple DragDrop panels, CommonToolkitScripts, and web.config updates to get things working seamlessly with IIS7.

    This being small-scale release, we didn't have time to include any new controls this time around. :( However, that's an explicit goal for an upcoming release which we hope to make available before the end of the year. We've got some neat stuff in the prototype stage and it'll be great to get some of it polished and released to the world!

    Recall that you can sample any of the controls right now (no install required). Then you can browse the project web site, download the latest Toolkit, and start creating your own controls and/or contributing to the project!

    If you have any feedback, please share it with us on the support forum (or email me)!

  • Delay's Blog

    Just what it takes for Beta 2 [AJAX Control Toolkit update!]

    On Monday we made available the 61106 release of the AJAX Control Toolkit. We did this in parallel with the release of ASP.NET AJAX v1.0 Beta 2 in order to accommodate some breaking changes introduced in that release. As such, we did not make any functional changes to the Toolkit in the 61106 release, though we did take the opportunity to fix one or two small bugs that we'd found.

    Recall that you can sample any of the controls right now (no install required). Then you can browse the project web site, download the latest Toolkit, and start creating your own controls and/or contributing to the project!

    If you have any feedback, please share it with us on the support forum (or email me)!

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