I was fortunate enough to have several discussions with Susan Warren and Rob Howard at Microsoft during many visits to the Redmond campus while working on another book. (Rob is a Wrox author and Microsoft Program Manager, and Susan is responsible for making the IBuySpy portal code available to all developers.) Early during these discussions Susan stated that composite user controls are the way to go. When you consider that a user control is as easy to design as a page and very easy to reuse, her statement makes a lot of sense.
Since those early discussions and after many hours of writing code for production and examples, I couldn't agree with her more. I have combined user controls with data grids and data lists with phenomenal success in terms of ease and time of implementation. This chapter described these fundamental techniques.
Define your user interfaces in chunks with composite user controls. By mixing and matching these user controls on pages or repeating them in other controls, you can create huge numbers of user interfaces in short order. Duplicating this basic strategy ”using DataList , DataGrid , or Repeater controls of user controls ”will allow you to create some very advanced and complex Web applications relatively easy. Perhaps as important, you can reorder the pages on the fly by loading the user controls dynamically. (Loading user controls dynamically was discussed in Chapter 15.) A great example of these strategies in practice is the IBuySpy portal code from Microsoft.
ADO.NET and ASP.NET are dance partners made for each other. Combining these two technologies provides you with superlative Web application development capabilities that significantly surpass historical ADO and ASP.