In ASP.NET 4.5, we can adopt an approach using which the Model can be directly
bound with the DataBound controls and CRUD and pagination operations can be
implemented very effectively. It incorporates concepts from the ObjectDataSource
control and from model binding in ASP.NET MVC. We will see this shortly. ASP.NET
4.5 is based upon .NET 4.5 and it gets installed once you install Visual Studio
Note: If you want to install Visual
Studio 2011 preview, you can also use the Windows 8 Developer preview.
this article I will be explaining a new ASP.NET 4.5 exciting feature called
‘Model Binding with Web Forms’. Up to previous versions, webforms for
data-binding used to make use of the ‘Eval’ method. During runtime, calls to
Eval makes use of reflection against the currently bound data object and reads
value of the member with the given name in Eval method. (Read Why Eval is Evil).
Once this value is read the result is displayed in HTML. Although this is
easiest way of data-binding, it has limitations like checking the binding name
during compilation time etc.
Update: Also check out the
second part of this article ASP.NET 4.5: Filtering using Model Binding in
ASP.NET Web Forms
In ASP.NET 4.5 the Model Binding has improved. We will
be going through the complete model binding feature using the following
- Model binding with Web Forms.
- Value Providers.
- Performing Update Operations.
For this article I am using
Sql Server 2008 R2 and a ‘Company’ database, with following
Department - DeptNo (int) Primary Key, Dname
Employee - EmpNo (int) Primary Key,
EmpName (varchar(50)),Salary (int), DeptNo(int) Forwign Key.
Step 1: Open Visual Studio 2011 Developer
Preview and create a new Web Application, make sure that the Framework version
you select is .NET 4.5. Call this application
Step 2: In this project, add
new folders and name them as Model and Department. In the Department folder, add
two Web Forms (with master page). Name them as ‘Departments.aspx’ and
Step 3: In the Model folder,
add a new ADO.NET entity data model and name it as ‘CompanyEDMX.edmx’. In the
Wizard, select Company Database and select Department and Employee table. After
the completion of wizard, the below result will be displayed:
Step 4: Open the Departments.aspx in the ‘Source’ view and
add the Repeater control in it with the Department model bound to it as below.
The above code shows some modified databound features for DataBound
controls in ASP.NET 4.5. The Department Model is assigned to the ‘ModelType’
property of the repeater. This property is available to all DataBound controls.
This allows us to define the type of data that is bound to the control and also
allows to bind properties of the Model inside the control. The above code
defines ‘ItemTemplate’ inside the repeater control which refers to the
‘DepartmentDetails.aspx’ by passing DeptNo value using QueryString to it.
Step 5: Go to the Departments.aspx.cs code behind, and write
the following code:
The above code sets the datasource property for the
Step 6: View the Departments.aspx inside the browser and the
following result will be displayed:
In your OS, observe the lower right
corner of the System Tray. Instead of the ASP.NET Development server, ASP.NET
4.5 uses IIS Express as shown below:
Step 7: In Step 4, we added the repeater control which has
the ItemsTemplate and contains an <a href=””> to navigate to
DepartmentDetails.aspx using a query string. This page is designed for
displaying details of a particular Department. Open DepartmentDetails.aspx in
the ‘Source’ view and add a DetailsView web UI databound control inside it. As
explained Step 4, we need to assign the ModelType property of this control to
All those who have used controls like DetailsView or
FormView knows that these control are used for performing DML operations. Now to
perform DML operations in earlier versions of ASP.NET i.e. from 2.0 to 4.0 we
used to make use of ObjectDataProvider and this provider was usually configured
using Get,Insert,Update and Delete methods form the source object. However the
ASP.NET 4.5 DataBound controls e.g. GridView, FormView, DetailsView etc, exposes
the following properties:
- SelectMethod: Used to make call to a method
which returns IEnumarable.
- InsertMethod: Used to make call to a method
which performs Insert operation.
- UpdateMethod: Used to make call to a
method which performs Update operation.
- DeleteMethod: Used to make call to
a method which performs Delete operation.
Configure the DepartmentDetails.aspx as shown below:
Step 8: Open the DepartmentDetails.aspx.cs and add the
following code in it:
Now carefully have a look at the above methods. None of these methods make
use of any of the UI controls in the user interface. All these methods strictly
work on Model objects and this feature drastically reduces additional coding.
One more important fact is, if you observe the ‘GetDepartment()’ method, it has
defined the ‘DeptNo’ input parameter with the QueryString Value provider. This
automatically reads the DeptNo in the QueryString and displays the Department
details inside the DetailsView.
Note: In previous versions of ASP.NET we
could have done this using Request.QueryString[“DeptNo”]
9: Now open Site.Master and add the following menu
Step 10: Make Default.aspx as a
startup page and run the application. You will see the Default.aspx with
Department and Employee menu. Once you click on ‘Department’ menu,
Departments.aspx will be displayed. Now click on any Department and you will be
transferred to ‘DepartmentDetails.aspx’ as below:
The QueryString has the DeptNo and based upon the value of the DeptNo, the
DetailsView will display the Department details. Here you can now test the
Update and New (insert) functionality.
Check out the second part of this
article ASP.NET 4.5: Filtering using Model Binding in ASP.NET Web
Conclusion: The Model binding feature provides
facility to the developers to develop Webforms which can be independent from the