Building Smart Forms


You use several of the basic Web controls to represent standard HTML form elements such as radio buttons , text boxes, and list boxes. You can use these controls in your ASP.NET pages to create the user interface for your Web application. The following sections provide detailed overviews and programming samples for each of these Web controls.

NOTE

See Appendix C, "Web Control Reference," for a detailed reference of all the properties, methods , and events of the Web controls.


Using Label Controls

The easiest way to add static text to your Web Forms Page is simply to add the text to the body of the page. However, if you want to be able to modify the text displayed on a page within your code, you need to display the text within a Label control. See Table 2.1 for a list of all the properties and methods of this control.

Table 2.1. Label Properties, Methods, and Events

Properties

Description

Text

Gets or sets the text displayed by the Label control

Methods

Description

None

 

Events

Description

None

 

The Label control has one important property: Text . You can assign any text or HTML content that you want to this property. When the Label control is rendered on a page, any text assigned to the Text property is displayed in place of the control.

You can assign a value to the Text property in two ways: declaratively or programmatically. First, you can assign a value to the Label control when you declare it on the page like this:

 
 <asp:Label   ID="lblMessage"   Text="Here is some text!"   Runat="Server" /> 

Alternatively, you can assign the text within the code of the page. For example, the page in Listing 2.1 displays different content in a Label control depending on the time of day.

Listing 2.1 Label.aspx
 <Script Runat="Server"> Sub Page_Load   If TimeOfDay < #12:00pm# Then     lblMessage.Text = "Good Morning!"   Else     lblMessage.Text = "Good Day!"   End If End Sub </Script> <html> <head><title>Label.aspx</title></head> <body> <form Runat="Server"> <asp:Label   ID="lblMessage"   Runat="Server" /> </form> </body> </html> 

The C# version of this code can be found on the CD-ROM.

In Listing 2.1, the Text property is assigned the value "Good Morning!" or the value "Good Day!" depending on the time of day.

The contents of a Label control are rendered within a <span> tag (you can see this if you click View Source on your browser). This means that you must be careful about where you use the Label control in a page. For example, using the Label control in the <title> tag of your page would not be a good idea because the literal text <span> also would appear in the title.

NOTE

The LiteralControl is very similar to the Label control except for the fact that it does not render <span> tags. You can use the LiteralControl within the <title> tag of a page.


Using the TextBox Control

The TextBox control can render any one of three different HTML tags. The control can be used to display a standard HTML text input field, an HTML password input field, or an HTML text area. All the properties, methods, and events of this control are listed in Table 2.2.

Table 2.2. TextBox Properties, Methods, and Events

Properties

Description

AutoPostBack

When True , automatically posts the form containing the text box whenever a change is made to the contents of the text box.

Columns

Indicates the horizontal size of the text box in characters .

MaxLength

Specifies the maximum number of characters that you can add to the text box (does not work with multiline text boxes).

ReadOnly

Indicates whether the text box is read-only or can be modified.

Rows

Indicates the vertical size of a multiline text box in characters.

Text

Gets or sets the text displayed by the TextBox control.

TextMode

Specifies one of these possible values: MultiLine , Password , and SingleLine .

Wrap

Determines how text in a multiline text box word-wraps. If True , word wrapping is enabled.

Methods

Description

OnTextChanged

Raises the TextChanged event.

Events

Description

TextChanged

This event is raised when the contents of a text box have been changed.

The ASP.NET page in Listing 2.2 illustrates how you can use the TextBox control to display a single-line text box, password text box, and multi-line text box.

Listing 2.2 textbox.aspx
 <html> <head><title>TextBox.aspx</title></head> <body> <form Runat="Server"> Username: <asp:TextBox   id="txtUsername"   Columns="30"   Runat="Server" /> <p> Password: <asp:TextBox   id="txtPassword"   TextMode="password"   Columns="30"   Runat="Server" /> <p> Comments: <br> <asp:TextBox   id="txtComments"   TextMode="multiline"   Columns="30"   Rows="10"   Runat="Server" /> <p> <asp:Button   Text="Click Here!"   Runat="Server" /> </form> </body> </html> 

The C# version of this code can be found on the CD-ROM.

Even though the same Web control ” TextBox ”is used to create the Username, Password, and Comments fields on the page in Listing 2.2, very different user interface elements are displayed (see Figure 2.1). The different user interface elements are determined by the TextMode property of the TextBox control.

Figure 2.1. A TextBox control with different TextMode properties.

graphics/02fig01.jpg

The TextMode property can have any one of the following three values:

  • Single ” This is the default value. When the TextMode property is assigned the value Single , a normal single-line input text field is displayed.

  • Password ” When the TextMode property is assigned the value Password , a password input field is displayed and the contents of the text box field are obscured (typically with * characters).

  • MultiLine ” When the TextMode property is assigned the value MultiLine , a text area is displayed.

NOTE

The values of the TextMode property are mutually exclusive. This means that you cannot have a multiline password text box. This fact shouldn't be surprising because an ASP.NET control can display only HTML, and there is no such thing as a multiline password HTML element.


Notice that, unlike an HTML <input> tag, the TextBox control does not use a Size property. Instead, the horizontal size of a text box is determined by the Columns property. In the case of a multiline text box, the vertical size is specified by the Rows property. Both the Columns and Rows properties specify the size in characters.

NOTE

You also can specify the horizontal and vertical size of a text box by using the Width and Height properties of the base WebControl class. The advantage of using these properties is that you can use units other than characters such as pixels or percentages. For more information, see the section "Base Web Control Properties" later in this chapter.


A TextBox control also has a MaxLength property, which you can use to limit the number of characters that can be entered into a text box. This property works only with single-line and password text boxes. You cannot use MaxLength with multiline text boxes. If you need to limit the number of characters entered into a multiline text box, use either the RegularExpressionValidator or CustomValidator validation control. (See "Validating Expressions: The RegularExpressionValidator Control" in the next chapter for a code sample.)

Assigning Text to a Text Box

You use the Text property of a TextBox control to assign a value to a text box or read a value that a user has entered into it. You can use this property in two ways. First, you can use the Text property when declaring the control to provide the text box with a default value like this:

 
 <asp:TextBox   ID="txtTextBox"   Text="This is a default value!"   Runat="Server" /> 

Alternatively, you can assign or read a value from a text box in code. For example, in Listing 2.3, the Country text box is assigned the default value "United States" when the page is first loaded.

Listing 2.3 TextBoxText.aspx
 <Script Runat="Server"> Sub Page_Load( s As Object, e As EventArgs )   If Not IsPostBack Then     txtCountry.Text = "United States"   End If End Sub </Script> <html> <head><title>TextBoxText.aspx</title></head> <body> <form Runat="Server"> Please enter the name of your country: <br> <asp:TextBox   id="txtCountry"   Runat="Server"/> <asp:Button   Text="Submit!"   Runat="Server"/> </form> </body> </html> 

The C# version of this code can be found on the CD-ROM.

NOTE

How do you assign a string that contains a quotation mark to a text box? For example, suppose that you want to assign the value He said "Good Morning!" to a text box named Comments. If you try to use the following statement, you receive an error:

 
 Comments.Text = "He said "Good Morning!" " 

To assign a string that contains a quotation mark to the Text property, you need to double your quotation marks like this:

 
 Comments.Text = "He said ""Good Morning!"" " 

When the quotation marks are actually rendered on the page, the quotation marks appear as &quot; characters.


Handling the TextBox Control's TextChanged Event

The TextBox control has a TextChanged event, which is raised whenever the contents of the text box are changed and the form containing the text box has been posted back to the server. For example, the page in Listing 2.4 uses the TextChanged event to report whether the contents of the text box contained in the form have been changed.

Listing 2.4 TextBoxChanged.aspx
 <Script Runat="Server"> Sub Page_Load   lblMessage.Text = "" End Sub Sub txtSomeText_TextChanged( s As Object, e As EventArgs )   lblMessage.Text = "You changed the value!" End Sub </Script> <html> <head><title>TextBoxChanged.aspx</title></head> <body> <form Runat="Server"> <asp:TextBox   ID="txtSomeText"   Text="Apple"   OnTextChanged="txtSomeText_TextChanged"   Runat="Server"/> <asp:Button   Text="Submit!"   Runat="Server"/> <p> <asp:Label   id="lblMessage"   Runat="Server" /> </form> </body> </html> 

The C# version of this code can be found on the CD-ROM.

When the contents of the txtSomeText control are changed in Listing 2.4, the txtSomeText_TextChanged subroutine is executed. This subroutine displays the text You changed the value! in the Label control named lblMessage .

Notice that the Page_Load subroutine clears the value of the Label control every time the page is loaded. The Page_Load subroutine always executes before the TextChanged event. You need to use the Page_Load event because the Label control participates in the form's view state. If this control were not cleared on every page load, it would automatically retain the same value between posts. It would continue to display You changed the value! even when the value of the text box wasn't changed.

The TextBox Control's AutoPostBack Property

The TextBox control also has an AutoPostBack property. When AutoPostBack has the value True , the form containing the text box is automatically posted whenever the contents of the text box are changed.

When AutoPostBack is enabled, JavaScript code is sent to the browser when the page is rendered to capture TextBox onChange events. Because the AutoPostBack property relies on JavaScript, you cannot use this property with older browsers. (It works fine on the latest versions of Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer, however.)

The page in Listing 2.5, for example, uses the AutoPostBack property to create a simple game. This page contains three text boxes. To win the game, you must enter the word Apple into all three text boxes.

Listing 2.5 TextBoxAutoPostBack.aspx
 <Script Runat="Server"> Sub ChangeBox1( s As Object, e As EventArgs )   txtBox1.Text = strReverse( txtBox1.Text )   CheckWin End Sub Sub changeBox3( s As Object, e As EventArgs )   txtBox3.Text = strReverse( txtBox3.Text )   CheckWin End Sub Sub CheckWin   If txtBox1.Text = "Apple" _     And txtBox2.Text="Apple" _       And txtBox3.Text="Apple" Then         lblMessage.Text = "You Win!"   End If End Sub </Script> <html> <head><title>TextboxAutoPostBack.aspx</title></head> <body> <form Runat="Server"> Enter the word Apple into all three TextBoxes: <p> <asp:TextBox   ID="txtBox1"   AutoPostBack="True"   onTextChanged="ChangeBox3"   Runat="Server"/> <p> <asp:TextBox   ID="txtBox2"   AutoPostBack="True"   OnTextChanged="ChangeBox1"   Runat="Server"/> <p> <asp:TextBox   ID="txtBox3"   AutoPostBack="True"   OnTextChanged="ChangeBox3"   Runat="Server"/> <p> <asp:Label   ID="lblMessage"   Runat="Server" /> </form> </body> </html> 

The C# version of this code can be found on the CD-ROM.

The AutoPostBack property for each of the three text boxes has the value True . If you change the text in a text box, the form containing the text boxes is automatically submitted, and the subroutine associated with that text box is executed.

If you change the text contained in the second text box, for example, the changeBox1 subroutine is executed. This subroutine reverses the text contained in the first text box.

If you successfully enter the word Apple into all three text boxes, the message "You Win!" is displayed in the Label control named lblMessage (see Figure 2.2).

Figure 2.2. The TextBox control's AutoPostBack property.

graphics/02fig02.jpg

Limiting TextBox Input with Request Validation

ASP.NET 1.1 includes a new feature named Request Validation . When Request Validation is enabled (which it is by default), you cannot enter certain content into a TextBox control without receiving an error. For example, you cannot add HTML tags such as a <b> tag into a TextBox and you cannot enter potentially dangerous strings such as the string Expression( into a TextBox .

Request Validation was added to the ASP.NET Framework to handle security worries about cross-site scripting attacks. If users are able to enter arbitrary text into a TextBox , and that information is redisplayed on your Web site, then a user could execute a JavaScript script on your Web server that performs a malicious or obscene task. For example, if you are hosting a message board, then a user could post a message that automatically redirects anyone who views the message to the PlayBoy.com Web site.

NOTE

Request Validation is implemented behind the scenes by a private class named the CrossSiteScriptingValidation class (this class is located in the System.Web namespace). If you are curious about exactly which strings are illegal, then you can use the ILDASM tool to view the methods of this class.


There are certain situations, however, in which you'll need to disable Request Validation. If you want users to be able to enter HTML content into a TextBox then you can disable Request Validation at either a page or application level. To disable Request Validation for a page, enter the following directive at the top of the page:

 
 <%@ ValidateRequest="False" %> 

To disable Request Validation for an entire application, add the following <compilation> element to the <system.web> section of the application's root Web.Config file (the Web.Config file is described in Chapter 15, "Creating ASP.NET Applications"):

 
 <pages validateRequest="false" /> 

Using Button Controls

You can add three types of buttons to a form by using Web controls:

  • Button ” Displays a standard HTML form button

  • ImageButton ” Displays an image form button

  • LinkButton ” Displays a hypertext link

All three buttons do the same thing when they are clicked: They submit the form that contains the button to the Web server.

The Button Control

By default, the Button control renders the same form submit button as rendered by the normal HTML <input type="Submit"> tag: the gray pushbutton box. All the properties, methods, and events of this control are listed in Table 2.3.

Table 2.3. Button Properties, Methods, and Events

Properties

Description

Text

Gets or sets the text displayed on the button.

CommandName

Passes this value to the Command event when the button is clicked.

CommandArgument

Passes this value to the Command event when the button is clicked.

CausesValidation

When False, the form submitted by the button is not validated . Default value is True .

Methods

Description

OnClick

Raises the Click event.

OnCommand

Raises the Command event.

Events

Description

Click

This event is raised when the button is clicked and the form containing the button is submitted to the server.

Command

This event also is raised when the button is clicked. However, the values of the CommandName and CommandArgument properties are passed with this event.

When a button is clicked, the form containing the button is submitted, and both Click and Command events are raised. To handle a Click event, you add a subroutine to your page as follows :

 
 Sub Button_Click( s As Object, e As EventArgs ) End Sub 

To handle a Command event, add a subroutine to your page like this:

 
 Sub Buttom_Command( s As Object, e As CommandEventArgs ) End Sub 

The only difference between a Click event and a Command event is that additional information ”the values of the CommandName and CommandArgs properties ”is passed to the Command event.

In Listing 2.6, for example, the btnCounter_Click subroutine is associated with the Button control's Click event. This subroutine adds one to the value of the Button control's Text property.

Listing 2.6 Button.aspx
 <Script Runat="Server"> Sub btnCounter_Click( s As Object, e As EventArgs )   btnCounter.Text += 1 End Sub </Script> <html> <head><title>Button.aspx</title></head> <body> <form Runat="Server"> <asp:Button   id="btnCounter"   text="1"   OnClick="btnCounter_Click"   Runat="Server"/> </form> </body> </html> 

The C# version of this code can be found on the CD-ROM.

If you need to add multiple buttons to a form, and you want to pass different information depending on which buttons are clicked, you can use the Command event instead of the Click event. For example, the page in Listing 2.7 displays different values depending on which buttons are clicked.

Listing 2.7 ButtonCommand.aspx
 <Script Runat="Server"> Sub Button_Command( s As Object, e As CommandEventArgs )   Dim intAmount As Integer   intAmount = e.CommandArgument   If e.CommandName = "Add" Then     lblCounter.Text += intAmount   Else     lblCounter.Text -= intAmount   End If End Sub </Script> <html> <head><title>ButtonCommand.aspx</title></head> <body> <form Runat="Server"> <asp:Button   Text="Add 5"   CommandName="Add"   CommandArgument="5"   OnCommand="Button_Command"   Runat="Server"/> <asp:Button   Text="Subtract 10"   CommandName="Subtract"   CommandArgument="10"   OnCommand="Button_Command"   Runat="Server"/> <p> <asp:Label   id="lblCounter"   text="1"   Runat="Server"/> </form> </body> </html> 

The C# version of this code can be found on the CD-ROM.

When you click the first button in Listing 2.7, the value of the Label control named lblCounter is incremented by five. The CommandName property of the first button has the value Add , and the CommandArgument property has the value 5 .

When you click the second button, the value of the Label control named lblCounter is decremented by 10. The CommandName property of the second button has the value Subtract , and the CommandArgument property has the value 10 .

The values of both the CommandName and CommandArgument properties are retrieved from the CommandEventArgs parameter (the second parameter passed to the Button_Command subroutine).

You can assign anything you please to either the CommandName or CommandArgument properties. These properties accept any string value.

The ImageButton Control

An ImageButton control is similar to a Button control except for the fact that you can use an ImageButton control to display an image. All the properties, methods, and events of this control are listed in Table 2.4.

Table 2.4. ImageButton Properties, Methods, and Events

Properties

Description

AlternativeText

Gets or sets the text displayed when a browser does not support images.

CommandName

Passes this value to the Command event when the button is clicked.

CommandArgument

Passes this value to the Command event when the button is clicked.

CausesValidation

When False , the form submitted by the button is not validated. Default value is True .

ImageAlign

Specifies one of these possible values: AbsBottom , AbsMiddle , Baseline , Bottom , Left , Middle , NotSet , Right , TextTop , and Top .

ImageURL

Specifies the URL of the image to use for the button.

Methods

Description

OnClick

Raises the Click event.

OnCommand

Raises the Command event.

Events

Description

Click

This event is raised when the button is clicked and the form containing the button is submitted to the server.

Command

This event also is raised when the button is clicked. However, the values of the CommandName and CommandArgument properties are passed to this event.

For example, Listing 2.8 displays a simple Click Here image button (see Figure 2.3).

Listing 2.8 ImageButton.aspx
 <Script Runat="Server"> Sub ImageButton_Click( s As Object, e As ImageClickEventArgs )   Dim RanNum As New Random   Select Case RanNum.Next( 3 )   Case 0     lblMessage.Text = "Boom!"   Case 1     lblMessage.Text = "Zap!"   Case 2     lblMessage.Text = "Yikes!"   End Select End Sub </Script> <html> <head><title>ImageButton.aspx</title></head> <body> <form Runat="Server"> <asp:ImageButton   OnClick="ImageButton_Click"   ImageUrl="clickhere.gif"   Runat="Server"/> <p> <asp:Label   id="lblMessage"   Runat="Server"/> </form> </body> </html> 

The C# version of this code can be found on the CD-ROM.

Figure 2.3. The ImageButton control.

graphics/02fig03.jpg

Notice that the event-handling routine for an ImageButton control looks like this:

 
 Sub ImageButton_Click( s As Object, e As ImageClickEventArgs ) End Sub 

The ImageButton control uses an ImageClickEventArgs parameter because additional information is passed to the event-handling subroutine when an image button is clicked. When you click an image button, the x,y coordinate of the mouse-click location is passed.

Why would you use this information? You can use one ImageButton control to represent multiple buttons by creating a simple imagemap. The multiple buttons can be drawn in a single image. You can detect which buttons are clicked by examining the X and Y properties of the ImageClickEventArgs parameter.

The page in Listing 2.9, for example, contains one ImageButton control that represents three different buttons (see Figure 2.4). When you click any of the three buttons, the ImageButton_Click subroutine is executed. The X property of the ImageClickEventArgs parameter detects which of the three buttons is clicked.

Listing 2.9 ImageButtonEventArgs.aspx
 <Script Runat="Server"> Sub ImageButton_Click( s As Object, e As ImageClickEventArgs )   Select Case e.X     Case Is < 95       lblMessage.Text = txtSomeText.Text.ToUpper()     Case Is < 185       lblMessage.Text = txtSomeText.Text.ToLower()     Case Is < 289       lblMessage.Text = ""   End Select End Sub </Script> <html> <head><title>ImageButtonEventArgs.aspx</title></head> <body> <form Runat="Server"> <asp:ImageButton   OnClick="ImageButton_Click"   ImageUrl="menu.gif"   Runat="Server"/> <p> <asp:TextBox   ID="txtSomeText"   TextMode="MultiLine"   Columns="50"   Rows="10"   Text="Type Some Text Here!"   Runat="Server"/> <hr> <asp:Label   id="lblMessage"   Runat="Server"/> </form> </body> </html> 

The C# version of this code can be found on the CD-ROM.

Figure 2.4. The ImageButton control's X and Y properties.

graphics/02fig04.jpg

The LinkButton Control

A LinkButton control is similar to both the Button and ImageButton controls except for the fact that a LinkButton control renders a hypertext link. When you click the hypertext link, all the fields in the form that contains the link button are submitted to the server. All the properties, methods, and events of this control are listed in Table 2.5.

Table 2.5. LinkButton Properties, Methods, and Events

Properties

Description

Text

Gets or sets the text displayed as the label for the link.

CommandName

Passes this value to the Command event when the link is clicked.

CommandArgument

Passes this value to the Command event when the link is clicked.

CausesValidation

When False , the form submitted by the button is not validated. Default value is True .

Methods

Description

OnClick

Raises the Click event.

OnCommand

Raises the Command event.

Events

Description

Click

This event is raised when the link is clicked and the form containing the link is submitted to the server.

Command

This event also is raised when the link is clicked. However, the values of the CommandName and CommandArgument properties are passed to this event.

The LinkButton control does not work on browsers that do not support JavaScript (or browsers that have JavaScript disabled). If you attempt to use this type of control on a browser that does not support JavaScript, nothing happens when you click the link button.

Listing 2.10 demonstrates how you can use a link button to submit a form. This page tells you your fortune . When you enter your name and click the link button, the LinkButton_Click subroutine is executed, and one of four random fortunes is displayed.

Listing 2.10 LinkButton.aspx
 <Script Runat="Server"> Sub LinkButton_Click( s As Object, e As EventArgs )   Dim RanNum As New Random   Select Case RanNum.Next( 4 )     Case 0       lblFortune.Text = txtUsername.Text & ", good things are coming!"     Case 1       lblFortune.Text = txtUsername.Text & ", you are doomed!"     Case 2       lblFortune.Text = txtUsername.Text & ", invest in Microsoft!"     Case 3       lblFortune.Text = txtUsername.Text & ", this book will change your life!"   End Select End Sub </Script> <html> <head><title>LinkButton.aspx</title></head> <body> <form Runat="Server"> Enter your name to receive your fortune: <p> <asp:TextBox   ID="txtUsername"   Runat="Server"/> <p> <asp:LinkButton   Text="Tell Me!"   OnClick="LinkButton_Click"   Runat="Server"/> <hr> <asp:Label   ID="lblFortune"   Runat="Server" /> </form> </body> </html> 

The C# version of this code can be found on the CD-ROM.

Using the RadioButton and RadioButtonList Controls

Radio buttons represent a group of mutually exclusive options. Each radio button can be either checked or unchecked. No more than one radio button in a group can be checked at the same time.

You can use two Web controls to add radio buttons to a page: RadioButton and RadioButtonList . The RadioButton control provides you with more control over the layout of individual radio buttons. The RadioButtonList control, on the other hand, enables you to easily display a list of radio buttons from a database table or collection.

The RadioButton Control

You can add individual radio buttons one by one to a page by using the RadioButton control. Radio buttons are grouped together using the GroupName property. Only one radio button in a group can be checked at a time. However, nothing is wrong with having multiple groups of radio buttons with different GroupName properties. All the properties, methods, and events of this control are listed in Table 2.6.

Table 2.6. RadioButton Properties, Methods, and Events

Properties

Description

AutoPostBack

When True , automatically posts the form containing the radio button whenever a new radio button is selected from the radio button group.

Checked

Has the value True when the radio button is checked and False otherwise .

GroupName

Specifies the name of the group that contains the radio button.

Text

Gets or sets the text label associated with the radio button.

TextAlign

Determines how the text label for the radio button is aligned relative to the radio button. Possible values are Left and Right ; the default value is Right .

Methods

Description

OnCheckedChanged

Raises the CheckedChanged event.

Events

Description

CheckedChanged

This event is raised when the radio button changes from being checked to unchecked or unchecked to checked.

You can determine when a radio button is checked in two ways. First, you can use the Checked property. In Listing 2.11, a group of RadioButton controls representing cities is displayed. When a button is clicked, the Button_Click subroutine is executed. The Checked property of each RadioButton control is examined one by one to find the radio button that was checked.

Listing 2.11 RadioButton.aspx
 <Script Runat="Server"> Sub Button_Click( s As Object, e As EventArgs )   If radSeattle.Checked Then     lblCity.Text = radSeattle.Text   ElseIf radSanFran.Checked Then     lblCity.Text = radSanFran.Text   ElseIf radBoston.Checked Then     lblCity.Text = radBoston.Text   End If End Sub </Script> <html> <head><title>RadioButton.aspx</title></head> <body> <form Runat="Server"> Enter the name of your favorite city, please select only one: <p> <asp:RadioButton   ID="radSeattle"   GroupName="city"   Text="Seattle"   Runat="Server" /> <br> <asp:RadioButton   ID="radSanFran"   GroupName="city"   Text="San Francisco"   Runat="Server" /> <br> <asp:RadioButton   ID="radBoston"   Checked="True"   GroupName="city"   Text="Boston"   Runat="Server" /> <p> <asp:Button   Text="Pick City"   OnClick="Button_Click"   Runat="Server"/> <p> <asp:Label   ID="lblCity"   Runat="Server" /> </form> </body> </html> 

The C# version of this code can be found on the CD-ROM.

You also can use the CheckChanged event to determine which radio button has been checked. It's much easier to use the CheckChanged event when you have a large group of radio buttons. The page in Listing 2.12 illustrates how you can use this event.

Listing 2.12 RadioButtonChanged.aspx
 <Script Runat="Server"> Sub City_Changed( s As Object, e As EventArgs )   lblCity.Text = s.Text End Sub </Script> <html> <head><title>RadioButtonChanged.aspx</title></head> <body> <form Runat="Server"> Enter the name of your favorite city, please select only one: <p> <asp:RadioButton   ID="radSeattle"   GroupName="city"   OnCheckedChanged="City_Changed"   Text="Seattle"   Runat="Server" /> <br> <asp:RadioButton   ID="radSanFran"   GroupName="city"   OnCheckedChanged="City_Changed"   Text="San Francisco"   Runat="Server" /> <br> <asp:RadioButton   ID="radBoston"   GroupName="city"   OnCheckedChanged="City_Changed"   Text="Boston"   Runat="Server" /> <p> <asp:Button   Text="Pick City"   Runat="Server"/> <p> <asp:Label   ID="lblCity"   Runat="Server" /> </form> </body> </html> 

The C# version of this code can be found on the CD-ROM.

Each RadioButton control in Listing 2.12 is associated with the City_Changed subroutine by using the OnCheckedChanged method. If a new radio button is selected, the City_Changed subroutine will be executed when the form is posted.

The first parameter passed to the City_Changed subroutine represents the particular RadioButton control that raised the event. You can use this parameter to retrieve the Text property of the newly checked radio button and display the proper city.

CAUTION

Remember that the CheckedChanged event occurs only when a new RadioButton control is checked. If you submit a form with the default radio button still checked, the CheckedChanged event doesn't happen.


Finally, the RadioButton control supports the AutoPostBack property. When AutoPostBack is enabled for a RadioButton control, the form containing the radio button is automatically posted to the server whenever a new radio button is selected.

CAUTION

The AutoPostBack property requires client-side JavaScript. If a browser does not support JavaScript or JavaScript is disabled on the browser, AutoPostBack doesn't work.


The page in Listing 2.13 displays different background colors depending on which radio button is selected. Notice that the page does not contain a submit button. Because the AutoPostBack property has the value True for each RadioButton control, the page is automatically posted whenever a new radio button is selected.

Listing 2.13 RadioButtonAutoPostBack.aspx
 <Script Runat="Server"> Dim strBackGroundColor As String = "white" Sub BackColor_Changed( s As Object, e As EventArgs )   strBackGroundColor = s.Text End Sub </Script> <html> <head><title>RadioButtonAutoPostBack.aspx</title></head> <body bgcolor="<%= strBackGroundColor %>"> <form Runat="Server"> Select a background color: <p> <asp:RadioButton   ID="radRed"   AutoPostBack="True"   GroupName="backcolor"   OnCheckedChanged="BackColor_Changed"   Text="Red"   Runat="Server" /> <br> <asp:RadioButton   ID="radBlue"   AutoPostBack="True"   GroupName="backcolor"   OnCheckedChanged="BackColor_Changed"   Text="Blue"   Runat="Server" /> <br> <asp:RadioButton   ID="radGreen"   AutoPostBack="True"   GroupName="backcolor"   OnCheckedChanged="BackColor_Changed"   Text="Green"   Runat="Server" /> </form> </body> </html> 

The C# version of this code can be found on the CD-ROM.

The RadioButtonList Control

The RadioButtonList control, like the RadioButton control, represents radio buttons. However, the RadioButtonList control represents a list of radio buttons. Each list item in a RadioButtonList represents an individual radio button. All the properties, methods, and events of this control are listed in Table 2.7.

Table 2.7. RadioButtonList Properties, Methods, and Events

Properties

Description

AutoPostBack

When True , automatically posts the form containing the RadioButtonList whenever a new radio button is selected.

CellPadding

Sets the number of pixels between the border and a particular radio button.

CellSpacing

Sets the number of pixels between individual radio buttons in the RadioButtonList .

DataMember

Identifies the particular table in a data source to bind to the control.

DataSource

Identifies the data source for the items listed in the RadioButtonList .

DataTextField

Identifies the field from the data source to use for the radio button labels.

DataTextFormatString

Gets or sets a format string that determines how the DataTextField is displayed.

DataValueField

Identifies the field from the data source to use for the radio button values.

Items

Represents the collection of items in the RadioButtonList .

RepeatColumns

Determines the number of columns used to display the radio buttons.

RepeatDirection

Indicates the direction the radio buttons should be repeated. Possible values are Horizontal and Vertical .

RepeatLayout

Determines how the radio buttons are formatted. Possible values are Table and Flow ; Table is the default.

SelectedIndex

Specifies the index number of the currently checked radio button.

SelectedItem

Represents the selected radio button.

SelectedValue

Gets or sets the selected radio button.

TextAlign

Indicates the alignment of the radio button label relative to the radio button. Possible values are Left and Right .

Methods

Description

DataBind

Binds the RadioButtonList to its data source. Loads the items from the data source into the items collection.

OnSelectedIndexChanged

Raises the SelectedIndexChanged event.

Events

Description

SelectedIndexChanged

This event is raised when a new radio button is selected in the RadioButtonList .

You can add radio buttons to a RadioButtonList in three ways: You can list the radio buttons when you declare the RadioButtonList control, you can add items directly to the ListItemCollection collection of the RadioButtonList control, or you can bind a RadioButtonList to a data source.

First, you can simply list the radio buttons as list items when you declare the control like this:

 
 <asp:RadioButtonList   ID="radlFavoriteColor"   Runat="Server">   <asp:ListItem Text="Red" />   <asp:ListItem Text="Blue" Selected="True"/>   <asp:ListItem Text="Green"/> </asp:RadioButtonList> 

This RadioButtonList contains three radio buttons: one labeled Red, one labeled Blue, and one labeled Green. The Blue radio button is selected (checked) by default.

Second, you can add list items directly to the ListItemCollection collection of a RadioButtonList . For example, in Listing 2.14, three colors are added to a RadioButtonList in the Page_Load subroutine.

Listing 2.14 RadioButtonList.aspx
 <Script Runat="Server"> Sub Page_Load( s As Object, e As EventArgs )    If Not IsPostBack Then      radlFavoriteColor.Items.Add( "Red" )      radlFavoriteColor.Items.Add( "Blue" )      radlFavoriteColor.Items.Add( "Green" )    End If End Sub </Script> <html> <head><title>RadioButtonlist.aspx</title></head> <body> <form Runat="Server"> <asp:RadioButtonList   ID="radlFavoriteColor"   Runat="Server"/> </form> </body> </html> 

The C# version of this code can be found on the CD-ROM.

Finally, you can bind the RadioButtonList control to a data source such as a database table or an existing collection. Data binding is covered in detail in Chapter 10, "Binding Data to Web Controls," but I'll show you a quick example in Listing 2.15.

Listing 2.15 RadioButtonListDataBind.aspx
 <Script Runat="Server"> Sub Page_Load   Dim colArrayList As New ArrayList   If Not IsPostBack Then     colArrayList.Add( "Red" )     colArrayList.Add( "Blue" )     colArrayList.Add( "Green" )     radlFavoriteColor.DataSource = colArrayList     radlFavoriteColor.DataBind()   End If End Sub </Script> <html> <head><title>RadioButtonListDataBind.aspx</title></head> <body> <form Runat="Server"> <asp:RadioButtonList   ID="radlFavoriteColor"   Runat="Server"/> </form> </body> </html> 

The C# version of this code can be found on the CD-ROM.

In the Page_Load subroutine in Listing 2.15, an ArrayList named colArrayList is created. The values Red , Blue , and Green are added to the ArrayList . Next, the ArrayList is assigned to the RadioButtonList control's DataSource property, and the DataBind() method is called. After this method is called, all the items in the ArrayList are loaded into the ListItemCollection collection of the RadioButtonList .

NOTE

An ArrayList is a collection. Think of it as an array without any fixed size. Collections are discussed in detail in Chapter 24, "Working with Collections and Strings."


TIP

When you bind a RadioButtonList to a data source, you can use the DataTextFormatString property to format the text of each radio button. For example, the following RadioButtonList prefixes the string " The color is " to the text of each radio button displayed:

 
 <asp:RadioButtonList   ID="radlFavoriteColor"   DataTextFormatString="The color is {0}"   Runat="Server"> </asp:RadioButtonList> 

To learn more about format strings see Chapter 24.


Detecting the Selected Item in a RadioButtonList

You can detect which radio button is checked in a RadioButtonList in three ways. You can use the SelectedIndex , SelectedItem , or SelectedValue property.

The SelectedIndex property returns the index number of the currently checked radio button. For example, if the first radio button in the list is checked, SelectedIndex returns ; if the second radio button is checked, SelectedIndex returns 1 ; and so on.

The SelectedItem property returns the actual list item in the ListItemCollection collection that is currently selected. You can use this property to return the Text property for the selected radio button.

The SelectedValue property can also be used to return the Text property for the selected radio button. Unlike the SelectedItem property, however, you can also use the SelectedValue property to set which radio button in the RadioButtonList is currently checked.

NOTE

The SelectedValue property is new with ASP.NET 1.1. When you select a radio button in Listing 2.16, for example, the Button_Click subroutine is executed, and the SelectedIndex and SelectedItem properties for the selected radio button are displayed (see Figure 2.5).

Figure 2.5. The RadioButtonList control's SelectedIndex and SelectedItem properties.

graphics/02fig05.jpg


Listing 2.16 RadioButtonListSelected.aspx
 <Script Runat="Server"> Sub Button_Click( s As Object, e As EventArgs )   lblSelectedIndex.Text = radlFavoriteColor.SelectedIndex   lblSelectedItem.Text = radlFavoriteColor.SelectedItem.Text End Sub </Script> <html> <head><title>RadioButtonListSelected.aspx</title></head> <body> <form Runat="Server"> <asp:RadioButtonList   ID="radlFavoriteColor"   Runat="Server">   <asp:ListItem Text="Red" />   <asp:ListItem Text="Blue" Selected="True"/>   <asp:ListItem Text="Green"/> </asp:RadioButtonList> <asp:Button   Text="Pick A Color!"   OnClick="Button_Click"   Runat="Server" /> <hr> Selected Index: <asp:Label   ID="lblSelectedIndex"   Runat="Server" /> <p> Selected Item: <asp:Label   ID="lblSelectedItem"   Runat="Server" /> </form> </body> </html> 

The C# version of this code can be found on the CD-ROM.

Assigning Different Text and Values to a RadioButtonList

Imagine that you are using a RadioButtonList to display a list of states. For example, you might display a list of radio buttons for California, Massachusetts, and Ohio. Now, imagine that you want the RadioButtonList to return the state abbreviation rather than the full state name when a radio button is selected. You can do so by using the Value property of a list item.

You can assign the Value property to list items when you create a RadioButtonList like this:

 
 <asp:RadioButtonList   ID="radlStateOfResidence"   Runat="Server">   <asp:ListItem     Text="California"     Value="CA" />   <asp:ListItem     Text="Massachusetts"     Value="MA"     Selected="True"/>   <asp:ListItem     Text="Ohio"     Value="OH" /> </asp:RadioButtonList> 

You also can assign a different Value property than Text property when explicitly adding list items to the ListItem collection, as illustrated in Listing 2.17.

Listing 2.17 RadioButtonListValue.aspx
 <Script Runat="Server"> Sub Page_Load   If Not IsPostBack Then     radlStateOfResidence.Items.Add( New ListItem( "California", "CA" ) )     radlStateOfResidence.Items.Add( New ListItem( "Massachusetts", "MA" ) )     radlStateOfResidence.Items.Add( New ListItem( "Ohio", "OH" ) )   End If End Sub </Script> <html> <head><title>RadioButtonListValue.aspx</title></head> <body> <form Runat="Server"> <asp:RadioButtonList   ID="radlStateOfResidence"   Runat="Server"/> </form> </body> </html> 

The C# version of this code can be found on the CD-ROM.

If you want a different Text property than Value property when working with a data source, you must specify both the DataTextField and DataValueField properties. The page in Listing 2.18 demonstrates how you can use these properties when binding to a DataTable .

Listing 2.18 RadioButtonListDataValueField.aspx
 <%@ Import namespace="System.Data" %> <Script runat="Server"> Sub Page_Load   If Not IsPostBack Then     Dim dtblStates As New DataTable     Dim drowNewState As DataRow     dtblStates.Columns.Add(New DataColumn( "StateName", GetType( String ) ) )     dtblStates.Columns.Add(New DataColumn( "StateAbbr", GetType( String ) ) )     drowNewState = dtblStates.NewRow()     drowNewState( "StateName" ) = "California"     drowNewState( "StateAbbr" ) = "CA"     dtblStates.Rows.Add( drowNewState )     drowNewState = dtblStates.NewRow()     drowNewState( "StateName" ) = "Massachusetts"     drowNewState( "StateAbbr" ) = "MA"     dtblStates.Rows.Add( drowNewState )     drowNewState = dtblStates.NewRow()     drowNewState( "StateName" ) = "Ohio"     drowNewState( "StateAbbr" ) = "OH"     dtblStates.Rows.Add( drowNewState )     radlStateOfResidence.DataSource = dtblStates     radlStateOfResidence.DataTextField = "StateName"     radlStateOfResidence.DataValueField = "StateAbbr"     radlStateOfResidence.DataBind   End If End Sub </script> <html> <head><title>RadioButtonListDataValueField.aspx</title></head> <body> <form Runat="Server"> <asp:RadioButtonList   ID="radlStateOfResidence"   Runat="Server"/> </form> </body> </html> 

The C# version of this code can be found on the CD-ROM.

After you specify a distinct Value property, you can use it in your code. When you click a radio button in Listing 2.19, the list item's Index , Text , and Value properties are displayed.

Listing 2.19 RadioButtonListValueSelected.aspx
 <Script Runat="Server"> Sub Button_Click( s As Object, e As EventArgs )   lblSelectedIndex.Text = radlStateOfResidence.SelectedIndex   lblSelectedText.Text = radlStateOfResidence.SelectedItem.Text   lblSelectedValue.Text = radlStateOfResidence.SelectedItem.Value End Sub </Script> <html> <head><title>RadioButtonListValueSelected.aspx</title></head> <body> <form Runat="Server"> <asp:RadioButtonList   ID="radlStateOfResidence"   Runat="Server">   <asp:ListItem     Text="California"     Value="CA" />   <asp:ListItem     Text="Massachusetts"     Value="MA"     Selected="True"/>   <asp:ListItem     Text="Ohio"     Value="OH" /> </asp:RadioButtonList> <p> <asp:Button   Text="Select State!"   OnClick="Button_Click"   Runat="Server" /> <hr> Selected Index: <asp:Label   ID="lblSelectedIndex"   Runat="Server" /> <p> Selected Text: <asp:Label   ID="lblSelectedText"   Runat="Server" /> <p> Selected Value: <asp:Label   ID="lblSelectedValue"   Runat="Server" /> </form> </body> </html> 

The C# version of this code can be found on the CD-ROM.

Selecting a Default Radio Button in a RadioButtonList

You can check a particular radio button in a RadioButtonList by taking advantage of either the SelectedIndex or SelectedValue property. Use the SelectedIndex property to select a radio button by its index and use the SelectedValue property to select a radio button by its value.

For example, the following line of code causes the second radio button in a RadioButtonList named radlColors to be checked (the ListItemCollection is zero based):

 
 radlColors.SelectedIndex = 1 

The following line of code causes the radio button labeled Green to be checked:

 
 radlColors.SelectedValue = "green" 

Some things to be aware of when using the SelectedValue property: First, the SelectedValue property is case-sensitive. So, assigning the value green is different than assigning the value GREEN . Second, if more than one list item has the same value, then the SelectedValue property will select only the first list item.

Controlling the Layout of a RadioButtonList

A RadioButtonList has several properties that you can use to control its layout. Two of the more interesting ones are RepeatLayout and RepeatDirection . You can use these properties to display the radio buttons in a RadioButtonList in multiple columns.

For example, the page in Listing 2.20 displays 50 radio buttons. (The 50 radio buttons are created in the For..Next loop in the Page_Load subroutine.) The RadioButtonList control's RepeatColumns property is assigned the value 3 . When the radio buttons are displayed, they appear in three columns (see Figure 2.6).

Figure 2.6. Displaying a RadioButtonList with multiple columns.

graphics/02fig06.jpg

In Listing 2.20, the RepeatDirection property has the value Vertical . The radio buttons are rendered down each column and then across to a new column. You also can assign the value Horizontal to the RepeatDirection property. In that case, the radio buttons would be rendered horizontally across the columns and then down to a new row.

Listing 2.20 RadioButtonListColumns.aspx
 <Script Runat="Server"> Sub Page_Load    Dim intCounter As Integer    Dim strSomeListItem As String    If Not IsPostBack Then      For intCounter = 1 To 50        strSomeListItem = "Radio Button " & intCounter        radlRadioButtons.Items.Add( strSomeListItem )      Next    End If End Sub </Script> <html> <head><title>RadioButtonListColumns.aspx</title></head> <body> <form Runat="Server"> <asp:RadioButtonList   ID="radlRadioButtons"   RepeatColumns="3"   RepeatDirection="Vertical"   Runat="Server"/> </form> </body> </html> 

The C# version of this code can be found on the CD-ROM.

The RadioButtonList Control's AutoPostBack Property

If you enable the AutoPostBack property of the RadioButtonList control, the form containing the RadioButtonList is submitted automatically whenever a new radio button is checked.

CAUTION

The AutoPostBack property uses client-side JavaScript. If a browser does not support JavaScript or JavaScript is disabled on the browser, AutoPostBack does not work.


The page contained in Listing 2.21 contains a RadioButtonList control with its AutoPostBack property enabled. When a new radio button is checked, the SelectedIndexChanged event is raised. This event is associated with the radlColors_ SelectedIndexChanged subroutine. So, whenever a new button is checked, the radlColors_SelectedIndexChanged subroutine is executed.

Listing 2.21 RadioButtonListAutoPostBack.aspx
 <Script Runat="Server"> Dim strBackGroundColor As String = "white" Sub radlColors_SelectedIndexChanged( s As Object, e As EventArgs )   strBackGroundColor = radlColors.SelectedItem.Text End Sub </Script> <html> <head><title>RadioButtonListAutoPostBack.aspx</title></head> <body bgcolor="<%=strBackGroundColor%>"> <form Runat="Server"> <asp:RadioButtonList   ID="radlColors"   AutoPostBack="True"   OnSelectedIndexChanged="radlColors_SelectedIndexChanged"   Runat="Server" >   <asp:ListItem text="Red" />   <asp:ListItem text="Green" />   <asp:ListItem text="Blue" /> </asp:RadioButtonList> </form> </body> </html> 

The C# version of this code can be found on the CD-ROM.

Using the CheckBox and CheckBoxList Controls

You can use a check box to represent a simple yes or no value. If you group multiple check boxes together, you can use the check boxes to represent a list of nonmutually exclusive options. Multiple check boxes, unlike multiple radio buttons, can be checked at the same time.

You can use two Web controls to represent check boxes in your ASP.NET pages: CheckBox and CheckBoxList .

The CheckBox Control

You can use a single CheckBox control to create a simple check box on a Web Forms Page. All the properties, methods, and events of this control are listed in Table 2.8.

Table 2.8. CheckBox Properties, Methods, and Events

Properties

Description

AutoPostBack

When True , automatically posts the form containing the check box whenever it is checked or unchecked.

Checked

Has the value True when the check box is checked and False otherwise.

Text

Gets or sets the text label associated with the check box.

TextAlign

Determines how the text label for the check box is aligned relative to the check box. Possible values are Left and Right ; the default value is Right .

Methods

Description

OnCheckedChanged

Raises the CheckedChanged event.

Events

Description

CheckedChanged

This event is raised when the check box changes from being checked to unchecked or unchecked to checked.

Listing 2.22 illustrates how you can add a CheckBox control to a page.

Listing 2.22 CheckBox.aspx
 <Script Runat="Server"> Sub Button_Click( s As Object, e As EventArgs )   If chkLikeSite.Checked Then     lblResponse.Text = "Thank you!"   Else     lblResponse.Text = "Go Away!"   End If End Sub </Script> <html> <head><title>CheckBox.aspx</title></head> <body> <form Runat="Server"> <asp:CheckBox   ID="chkLikeSite"   Text="Do you like this Web site?"   Runat="Server" /> <p> <asp:Button   Text="Submit Answer!"   OnClick="Button_Click"   Runat="Server" /> <hr> <asp:Label   ID="lblResponse"   Runat="Server" /> </form> </body> </html> 

The C# version of this code can be found on the CD-ROM.

When the form is submitted, the Checked property of the CheckBox control is examined to determine whether the check box was checked. Depending on the value of Checked , different messages are displayed.

You can use the AutoPostBack property to automatically submit the form containing a check box whenever it is checked or unchecked. For example, the page in Listing 2.23 contains two check boxes that control the formatting of the text in the Label control. When the first check box is checked, the text in the label appears in bold, and when the second check box is checked, the text in the label appears in italics.

CAUTION

The AutoPostBack property uses client-side JavaScript. If a browser does not support JavaScript or JavaScript is disabled on the browser, the AutoPostBack property does not work.


Listing 2.23 CheckBoxAutoPostBack.aspx
 <Script Runat="Server"> Sub Page_Load   If chkFormatBold.Checked Then     lblMessage.Font.Bold = True   Else     lblMessage.Font.Bold = False   End If   If chkFormatItalic.Checked Then     lblMessage.Font.Italic = True   Else     lblMessage.Font.Italic = False   End If End Sub </Script> <html> <head><title>CheckBoxAutoPostBack.aspx</title></head> <body> Select among the following formatting options: <p> <form Runat="Server"> <asp:CheckBox   ID="chkFormatBold"   Text="Bold"   AutoPostBack="True"   Runat="Server" /> <asp:CheckBox   ID="chkFormatItalic"   Text="Italic"   AutoPostBack="True"   Runat="Server" /> <hr> <asp:Label   ID="lblMessage"   Text="When in the course of human events it becomes..."   Runat="Server" /> </form> </body> </html> 

The C# version of this code can be found on the CD-ROM.

The CheckBoxList Control

The CheckBoxList control, like the CheckBox control, represents check boxes. However, the CheckBoxList control represents a list of check boxes. Each list item in a CheckBoxList represents an individual check box. All the properties, methods, and events of this control are listed in Table 2.9.

Table 2.9. CheckBoxList Properties, Methods, and Events

Properties

Description

AutoPostBack

When True , automatically posts the form containing the CheckBoxList whenever a new check box is selected or unselected .

CellPadding

Sets the number of pixels between the border and a particular check box.

CellSpacing

Sets the number of pixels between individual check boxes in the CheckBoxList .

DataMember

Identifies the particular table in a data source to bind to the control.

DataSource

Indicates the data source for the items listed in the CheckBoxList .

DataTextField

Indicates the field from the data source to use for the check box labels.

DataTextFormatString

Gets or sets a format string that determines how the DataTextField is displayed.

DataValueField

Indicates the field from the data source to use for the check box values.

Items

Represents the collection of items in the CheckBoxList .

RepeatColumns

Determines the number of columns used to display the check boxes.

RepeatDirection

Indicates the direction the check boxes should be repeated. Possible values are Horizontal and Vertical .

RepeatLayout

Determines how the check boxes are formatted. Possible values are Table and Flow ; Table is the default.

SelectedIndex

Specifies the index number of the currently checked check box.

SelectedItem

Represents the selected check box.

SelectedValue

Gets or sets the selected check box.

TextAlign

Indicates the alignment of the check box label relative to the check box. Possible values are Left and Right .

Method

Description

DataBind

Binds the CheckBoxList to its data source. Loads the items from the data source into the ListItem collection.

OnSelectedIndexChanged

Raises SelectedIndexChanged event.

Events

Description

SelectedIndexChanged

This event is raised whenever a new check box is checked or unchecked in the CheckBoxList .

Unlike a RadioButtonList , a CheckBoxList can have multiple check boxes checked at the same time. A CheckBoxList can represent nonmutually exclusive options.

You can add individual check boxes to a CheckBoxList in three ways: You can list the check boxes when you declare the CheckBoxList control, you can add items directly to the ListItem collection of the CheckBoxList control, or you can bind a CheckBoxList to a data source.

First, you can simply list the check boxes as list items when you declare the control like this:

 
 <asp:CheckBoxList   ID="chklFavoriteFoods"   Runat="Server">   <asp:ListItem Text="Pizza" />   <asp:ListItem Text="Hamburgers" Selected="True"/>   <asp:ListItem Text="Pasta"/> </asp:CheckBoxList> 

This CheckBoxList contains three check boxes: one labeled Pizza, one labeled Hamburgers, and one labeled Pasta. The Hamburgers check box is selected (checked) by default.

Second, you can add list items directly to the ListItemCollection collection of a CheckBoxList . For example, in Listing 2.24, types of food are added to a CheckBoxList in the Page_Load subroutine.

Listing 2.24 CheckBoxList.aspx
 <Script Runat="Server"> Sub Page_Load   If Not IsPostBack Then     chklFavoriteFoods.Items.Add( "Pizza" )     chklFavoriteFoods.Items.Add( "Hamburgers" )     chklFavoriteFoods.Items.Add( "Pasta" )   End If End Sub </Script> <html> <head><title>CheckBoxList.aspx</title></head> <body> <form Runat="Server"> <asp:CheckBoxList   ID="chklFavoriteFoods"   Runat="Server"/> </form> </body> </html> 

The C# version of this code can be found on the CD-ROM.

Finally, you can bind the CheckBoxList control to a data source such as a database table or an existing collection. Data binding is covered in detail in Chapter 10, but I'll show you a quick example of binding a collection to a CheckBoxList in Listing 2.25.

Listing 2.25 CheckBoxList2.aspx
 <Script Runat="Server"> Sub Page_Load   Dim colArrayList As New ArrayList   If Not IsPostBack Then     colArrayList.Add( "Pizza" )     colArrayList.Add( "Hamburgers" )     colArrayList.Add( "Pasta" )     chklFavoriteFoods.DataSource = colArrayList     chklFavoriteFoods.DataBind()   End If End Sub </Script> <html> <head><title>CheckBoxListDataBind.aspx</title></head> <body> <form Runat="Server"> <asp:CheckBoxList   ID="chklFavoriteFoods"   Runat="Server"/> </form> </body> </html> 

The C# version of this code can be found on the CD-ROM.

In the Page_Load subroutine in Listing 2.25, an ArrayList named colArrayList is created. The values Pizza , Hamburgers , and Pasta are added to the ArrayList . Next, the ArrayList is assigned to the CheckBoxList control's DataSource property, and the DataBind() method is called. After this method is called, all the items in the ArrayList are loaded into the ListItem collection of the CheckBoxList .

NOTE

An ArrayList is a collection. Think of it as an array without any fixed size. Collections are discussed in detail in Chapter 24.


Detecting the Selected Item in a CheckBoxList

Like the RadioButtonList control, the CheckBoxList control supports the SelectedIndex and SelectedItem properties. The SelectedIndex property returns the index number of the currently selected item in the CheckBoxList , and the SelectedItem property returns the actual item that has been selected.

You can also use the SelectedValue property to determine which check box is currently selected. Unlike the SelectedItem property, the SelectedValue property also enables you to set the selected check box.

Unlike a RadioButtonList , however, a CheckBoxList can have multiple items selected at a time. If multiple items are checked in a CheckBoxList , the SelectedIndex property returns the index number of the first item selected, the SelectedItem property returns the first item selected, and the SelectedValue property returns the value of the first item selected.

To retrieve a list of all the items selected, you need to iterate through the ListItemCollection collection itself. For each list item, you can determine whether the item is checked by examining the item's Selected property.

The page in Listing 2.26 illustrates how you can check whether multiple check boxes are checked.

Listing 2.26 CheckBoxListMultiSelect.aspx
 <Script Runat="Server"> Sub Button_Click( s As Object, e As EventArgs )   Dim itmFood As ListItem   Dim strList As String   For each itmFood in chklFavoriteFoods.Items     If itmFood.Selected Then       strList &= "<li>" & itmFood.Text     End If   Next   lblSelectedFoods.Text = strList End Sub </Script> <html> <head><title>CheckBoxListMultiSelect.aspx</title></head> <body> <form Runat="Server"> <asp:CheckBoxList   ID="chklFavoriteFoods"   Runat="Server">   <asp:ListItem Text="Pizza" />   <asp:ListItem Text="Hamburgers" Selected="True"/>   <asp:ListItem Text="Pasta"/> </asp:CheckBoxList> <p> <asp:Button   Text="Submit!"   OnClick="Button_Click"   Runat="Server" /> <hr> You picked: <asp:Label   ID="lblSelectedFoods"   Runat="Server" /> </form> </body> </html> 

The C# version of this code can be found on the CD-ROM.

Assigning Different Text and Values to a CheckBoxList

Imagine that you are using a CheckBoxList to display a list of products that someone can purchase from your Web site. Now, imagine that you want the CheckBoxList to display the names of the products but return product codes when a product is selected. You can do so by using the Value property of a list item.

You can assign the Value property to list items when you create a CheckBoxList like this:

 
 <asp:CheckBoxList   ID="chklProducts"   Runat="Server">   <asp:ListItem     Text="Hair Dryer"     Value="A8999" />   <asp:ListItem     Text="Shaving Cream"     Value="S7777"     Selected="True"/>   <asp:ListItem     Text="Electric Comb"     Value="E23234" /> </asp:CheckBoxList> 

You also can assign a different Value property than Text property when explicitly adding list items to the ListItemCollection collection, as illustrated in Listing 2.27.

Listing 2.27 CheckBoxListValue.aspx
 <Script Runat="Server"> Sub Page_Load   If Not IsPostBack Then     chklProducts.Items.Add( New ListItem( "Hair Dryer", "A8999" ) )     chklProducts.Items.Add( New ListItem( "Shaving Cream", "S7777" ) )     chklProducts.Items.Add( New ListItem( "Electric Comb", "E23234" ) )   End If End Sub </Script> <html> <head><title>CheckBoxListValue.aspx</title></head> <body> <form Runat="Server"> <asp:CheckBoxList   ID="chklProducts"   Runat="Server"/> </form> </body> </html> 

The C# version of this code can be found on the CD-ROM.

If you want a different Text property than Value property when working with a data source, you must specify both the DataTextField and DataValueField properties. The page in Listing 2.28 demonstrates how you can use these properties when binding to a collection of classes.

Listing 2.28 CheckBoxListDataValue.aspx
 <Script runat="server"> Public Class Product   Private _strProductName, _strProductCode As String   Sub New( strProductName As String, strProductCode As String )     _strProductName = strProductName     _strProductCode = strProductCode   End Sub   Public ReadOnly Property ProductName As String     Get       Return _strProductName     End Get   End Property   Public ReadOnly Property ProductCode As String     Get       Return _strProductCode     End Get   End Property End Class Sub Page_Load   Dim colProducts As New ArrayList   If Not IsPostBack Then     colProducts.Add( New Product( "Hair Dryer", "A8999" ) )     colProducts.Add( New Product( "Shaving Cream", "S7777" ) )     colProducts.Add( New Product( "Electric Comb", "E23234" ) )     chklProducts.DataSource = colProducts     chklProducts.DataTextField = "ProductName"     chklProducts.DataValueField = "ProductCode"     chklProducts.DataBind   End If End Sub </script> <html> <head><title>CheckBoxListDataValue.aspx</title></head> <body> <form Runat="Server"> <asp:CheckBoxList   ID="chklProducts"   Runat="Server"/> </form> </body> </html> 

The C# version of this code can be found on the CD-ROM.

After you specify a distinct Value property, you can use it in your code. When you submit the form contained in Listing 2.29, the list item's Text and Value properties are displayed for each of the check boxes selected.

Listing 2.29 CheckBoxListValueSelected.aspx
 <Script Runat="Server"> Sub Button_Click( s As Object, e As EventArgs )   Dim itmProduct As ListItem   Dim strTextList, strValueList As String   For each itmProduct in chklProducts.Items   If itmProduct.Selected Then     strTextList &= "<li>" & itmProduct.Text     strValueList &= "<li>" & itmProduct.Value   End If   Next   lblSelectedText.Text = strTextList   lblSelectedValue.Text = strValueList End Sub </Script> <html> <head><title>CheckBoxListValueSelected.aspx</title></head> <body> <form Runat="Server"> <asp:CheckBoxList   id="chklProducts"   Runat="Server">   <asp:ListItem     Text="Hair Dryer"     Value="A8999" />   <asp:ListItem     Text="Shaving Cream"     Value="S7777"     Selected="True"/>   <asp:ListItem     Text="Electric Comb"     Value="E23234" /> </asp:CheckBoxList> <p> <asp:Button   Text="Select Products!"   OnClick="Button_Click"   Runat="Server" /> <hr> Selected Text: <asp:Label   id="lblSelectedText"   Runat="Server" /> <p> Selected Value: <asp:Label   ID="lblSelectedValue"   Runat="Server" /> </form> </body> </html> 

The C# version of this code can be found on the CD-ROM.

Controlling the Layout of a CheckBoxList

You can control the layout of the check boxes in a CheckBoxList by modifying the values of the RepeatLayout and RepeatDirection properties. These properties enable you to specify the number of columns to use when displaying the check boxes, and whether the check boxes are ordered horizontally or vertically.

The page in Listing 2.30, for example, displays 50 check boxes arranged in three columns.

Listing 2.30 CheckBoxListColumns.aspx
 <Script Runat="Server"> Sub Page_Load   Dim intCounter As Integer   Dim strListItem As String   If Not IsPostBack Then     For intCounter = 1 To 50     strListItem = "Checkbox " & intCounter     chklCheckBoxList.Items.Add( strListItem )     Next   End If End Sub </Script> <html> <head><title>CheckBoxListColumns.aspx</title></head> <body> <form Runat="Server"> <asp:CheckBoxList   ID="chklCheckBoxList"   RepeatColumns="3"   RepeatDirection="Vertical"   Runat="Server"/> </form> </body> </html> 

The C# version of this code can be found on the CD-ROM.

The CheckBoxList Control's AutoPostBack Property

If you enable the AutoPostBack property of the CheckBoxList control, the form containing the CheckBoxList is submitted automatically whenever a check box is checked or unchecked.

CAUTION

The AutoPostBack property uses client-side JavaScript. If a browser does not support JavaScript, or JavaScript is disabled on the browser, AutoPostBack does not work.


The page in Listing 2.31 contains a CheckBoxList control with its AutoPostBack property enabled. When a new check box is checked, the SelectedIndexChanged event is raised. This event is associated with the chklFavoriteFoods_SelectedIndexChanged subroutine. So, whenever a new check box is checked, the page is automatically submitted to the server, and the chklFavoriteFoods_SelectedIndexChanged subroutine is executed.

Listing 2.31 CheckBoxListAutoPostBack.aspx
 <Script Runat="Server"> Sub chklFavoriteFoods_SelectedIndexChanged( s As Object, e As EventArgs )   Dim itmFood As ListItem   Dim strList As String   For each itmFood in chklFavoriteFoods.Items     If itmFood.Selected Then       strList &= "<li>" & itmFood.Text     End If   Next   lblFoodList.Text = strList End Sub </Script> <html> <head><title>CheckBoxListAutoPostBack.aspx</title></head> <body> <form Runat="Server"> <asp:CheckBoxList   ID="chklFavoriteFoods"   AutoPostBack="True"   OnSelectedIndexChanged="chklFavoriteFoods_SelectedIndexChanged"   Runat="Server">   <asp:ListItem Text="Pizza" />   <asp:ListItem Text="Hamburgers" Selected="True"/>   <asp:ListItem Text="Pasta"/> </asp:CheckBoxList> <hr> You like to eat: <asp:Label   ID="lblFoodList"   Runat="Server" /> </form> </body> </html> 

The C# version of this code can be found on the CD-ROM.

Using the DropDownList Control

A DropDownList control is similar to a RadioButtonList control except for the fact that it occupies less screen real estate. Like a RadioButtonList , a DropDownList can represent a set of mutually exclusive options. Unlike a RadioButtonList , a DropDownList 's options are displayed in a single-line picklist widget. All the properties, methods, and events of this control are listed in Table 2.10.

Table 2.10. DropDownList Properties, Methods, and Events

Properties

Description

AutoPostBack

When True , automatically posts the form containing the DropDownList whenever a new option is selected.

DataMember

Identifies the particular table in a data source to bind to the control.

DataSource

Indicates the data source for the items listed in the DropDownList .

DataTextField

Indicates the field from the data source to use for the option text.

DataTextFormatString

Gets or sets a format string that determines how the DataTextField is displayed.

DataValueField

Indicates the field from the data source to use for the option values.

Items

Represents the collection of items in the DropDownList .

SelectedIndex

Specifies the index number of the selected option.

SelectedItem

Represents the selected option.

SelectedValue

Gets or sets the selected option.

Method

Description

DataBind

Binds the DropDownList to its data source. Loads the items from the data source into the ListItem collection.

OnSelectedIndexChanged

Raises the SelectedIndexChanged event.

Events

Description

SelectedIndexChanged

This event is raised whenever a new option is selected in the DropDownList .

A DropDownList control contains a ListItemCollection collection that represents the options displayed in the DropDownList . Each list item in the collection represents one option.

You can add options to a DropDownList in three ways: You can list the options when you declare the DropDownList control, you can add items directly to the ListItemCollection collection of the DropDownList control, or you can bind a DropDownList to a data source.

First, you can simply list the options as list items when you declare the control like this:

 
 <asp:DropDownList   ID="dropCategory"   Runat="Server">   <asp:ListItem Text="Country Music" />   <asp:ListItem Text="Rock Music" Selected="True"/>   <asp:ListItem Text="Classical Music"/> </asp:DropDownList> 

This DropDownList contains three options: one labeled Country Music, one labeled Rock Music, and one labeled Classical Music. The Rock Music option is selected by default.

Second, you can add list items directly to the ListItemCollection collection of a DropDownList . For example, in Listing 2.32, three options are added to a DropDownList in the Page_Load subroutine.

Listing 2.32 DropDownList.aspx
 <Script Runat="Server"> Sub Page_Load   If Not IsPostBack Then     dropCategory.Items.Add( "Country Music" )     dropCategory.Items.Add( "Rock Music" )     dropCategory.Items.Add( "Classical Music" )   End If End Sub </Script> <html> <head><title>DropDownList.aspx</title></head> <body> <form Runat="Server"> <asp:DropDownList   ID="dropCategory"   Runat="Server"/> </form> </body> </html> 

The C# version of this code can be found on the CD-ROM.

Finally, you can bind the DropDownList control to a data source such as a database table or an existing collection. Data binding is covered in detail in Chapter 10, but I'll show you a quick example of binding a collection to a DropDownList in Listing 2.33.

Listing 2.33 DropDownListDataBind.as px
 <Script Runat="Server"> Sub Page_Load   Dim colArrayList As New ArrayList   If Not IsPostBack Then     colArrayList.Add( "Country Music" )     colArrayList.Add( "Rock Music" )     colArrayList.Add( "Classical Music" )     dropCategory.DataSource = colArrayList     dropCategory.DataBind()   End If End Sub </Script> <html> <head><title>DropDownListDataBind.aspx</title></head> <body> <form Runat="Server"> <asp:DropDownList   ID="dropCategory"   Runat="Server"/> </form> </body> </html> 

The C# version of this code can be found on the CD-ROM.

In the Page_Load subroutine in Listing 2.33, an ArrayList named colArrayList is created. The values Country Music , Rock Music , and Classical Music are added to the ArrayList . Next, the ArrayList is assigned to the DropDownList control's DataSource property, and the DataBind() method is called. After this method is called, all the items in the ArrayList are loaded into the ListItemCollection collection of the DropDownList .

NOTE

An ArrayList is a collection. Think of it as an array without any fixed size. Collections are discussed in detail in Chapter 24.


Detecting the Selected Item in a DropDownList

You can detect which option is selected in a DropDownList in three ways. You can use the SelectedIndex , SelectedItem , or SelectedValue property.

The SelectedIndex property returns the index number of the currently selected option. For example, if the first option in the list is selected, SelectedIndex returns ; if the second option is selected, SelectedIndex returns 1 ; and so on.

The SelectedItem property, on the other hand, returns the actual list item in the ListItemCollection collection that is currently selected. You can use this property to return the Text property for the selected option.

Finally, the SelectedValue property returns the value of the currently selected option. Unlike the SelectedItem property, you can use the SelectedValue property to set the currently selected option in addtition to reading it.

When you select an option in Listing 2.34, for example, the Button_Click subroutine is executed, and the SelectedIndex and SelectedItem properties for the selected option are displayed.

Listing 2.34 DropDownListSelected.aspx
 <Script Runat="Server"> Sub Button_Click( s As Object, e As EventArgs )   lblSelectedIndex.Text = dropCategory.SelectedIndex   lblSelectedItem.Text = dropCategory.SelectedItem.Text End Sub </Script> <html> <head><title>DropDownListSelected.aspx</title></head> <body> <form Runat="Server"> <asp:DropDownList   ID="dropCategory"   Runat="Server">   <asp:ListItem Text="Country Music" />   <asp:ListItem Text="Rock Music" Selected="True"/>   <asp:ListItem Text="Classical Music"/> </asp:DropDownList> <asp:Button   Text="Pick A Category!"   OnClick="Button_Click"   Runat="Server" /> <hr> Selected Index: <asp:Label   ID="lblSelectedIndex"   Runat="Server" /> <p> Selected Item: <asp:Label   ID="lblSelectedItem"   Runat="Server" /> </form> </body> </html> 

The C# version of this code can be found on the CD-ROM.

Assigning Different Text and Values to a DropDownList

Imagine that you are using a DropDownList to display a list of categories. For example, you might display a list of music category options, such as Country Music, Rock Music, and Classical Music. Now, imagine that you want the DropDownList to return a category ID rather than the full category name when an option is selected. You can do so by using the Value property of a list item.

You can assign the Value property to list items when you create a DropDownList like this:

 
 <asp:DropDownList   ID="dropCategory"   Runat="Server">   <asp:ListItem     Text="Country Music"     Value="country" />   <asp:ListItem     Text="Rock Music"     Value="rock"     Selected="True"/>   <asp:ListItem     Text="Classical Music"     Value="classic" /> </asp:DropDownList> 

You also can assign a different Value property than Text property when explicitly adding list items to the ListItemCollection collection, as illustrated in Listing 2.35.

Listing 2.35 DropDownListValue.aspx
 <Script Runat="Server"> Sub Page_Load   If Not IsPostBack Then     dropCategory.Items.Add( New ListItem( "Country Music", "country" ) )     dropCategory.Items.Add( New ListItem( "Rock Music", "rock" ) )     dropCategory.Items.Add( New ListItem( "Classical Music", "classical" ) )   End If End Sub </Script> <html> <head><title>DropDownListValue.aspx</title></head> <body> <form Runat="Server"> <asp:DropDownList   ID="dropCategory"   Runat="Server"/> </form> </body> </html> 

The C# version of this code can be found on the CD-ROM.

If you want a different Text property than Value property when working with a data source, you must specify both the DataTextField and DataValueField properties. The page in Listing 2.36 demonstrates how you can use these properties when binding to a DataTable .

NOTE

To learn more about the DataTable class see Chapter 12, "Working with DataSets."


Listing 2.36 DropDownListDataValue.aspx
 <%@ Import namespace="System.Data" %> <Script runat="Server"> Sub Page_Load   If Not IsPostBack Then     Dim dtbMusic As New DataTable     Dim drowNewRows As DataRow     dtbMusic.Columns.Add( _       New DataColumn( "CategoryName", GetType( String ) ) )     dtbMusic.Columns.Add( _       New DataColumn( "CategoryID", GetType( String ) ) )     drowNewRows = dtbMusic.NewRow()     drowNewRows( "CategoryName" ) = "Country Music"     drowNewRows( "CategoryID" ) = "country"     dtbMusic.Rows.Add( drowNewRows )     drowNewRows = dtbMusic.NewRow()     drowNewRows( "CategoryName" ) = "Rock Music"     drowNewRows( "CategoryID" ) = "rock"     dtbMusic.Rows.Add( drowNewRows )     drowNewRows = dtbMusic.NewRow()     drowNewRows( "CategoryName" ) = "Classical Music"     drowNewRows( "CategoryID" ) = "classical"     dtbMusic.Rows.Add( drowNewRows )     dropCategory.DataSource = dtbMusic     dropCategory.DataTextField = "CategoryName"     dropCategory.DataValueField = "CategoryID"     dropCategory.DataBind   End If End Sub </script> <html> <head><title>DropDownListDataValue.aspx</title></head> <body> <form Runat="Server"> <asp:DropDownList   ID="dropCategory"   Runat="Server"/> </form> </body> </html> 

The C# version of this code can be found on the CD-ROM.

After you specify a distinct Value property, you can use it in your code. When you select an option from the DropDownList in Listing 2.37, the Index , Text , and Value properties of the selected option are displayed.

Listing 2.37 DropDownListValueSelected.aspx
 <Script Runat="Server"> Sub Button_Click( s As Object, e As EventArgs )   lblSelectedIndex.Text = dropCategory.SelectedIndex   lblSelectedText.Text = dropCategory.SelectedItem.Text   lblSelectedValue.Text = dropCategory.SelectedItem.Value End Sub </Script> <html> <head><title>DropDownListValueSelected.aspx</title></head> <body> <form Runat="Server"> <asp:DropDownList   ID="dropCategory"   Runat="Server">   <asp:ListItem     Text="Country Music"     Value="country" />   <asp:ListItem     Text="Rock Music"     Value="rock"     Selected="True"/>   <asp:ListItem     Text="Classical Music"     Value="classic" /> </asp:DropDownList> <asp:Button   Text="Select Category!"   OnClick="Button_Click"   Runat="Server" /> <hr> Selected Index: <asp:Label   ID="lblSelectedIndex"   Runat="Server" /> <p> Selected Text: <asp:Label   ID="lblSelectedText"   Runat="Server" /> <p> Selected Value: <asp:Label   ID="lblSelectedValue"   Runat="Server" /> </form> </body> </html> 

The C# version of this code can be found on the CD-ROM.

Selecting a Default Option in a DropDownList

You can select a particular" option in a DropDownList by taking advantage of either the SelectedIndex or SelectedValue property. Use the SelectedIndex property to select an option by its index and use the SelectedValue property to select an option by its value.

For example, the following line of code causes the second option in a DropDownList named dropCategory to be selected (the ListItemCollection is zero based):

 
 dropCategory.SelectedIndex = 1 

The following line of code causes the option labeled Rock Music to be selected:

 
 dropCategory.SelectedValue = "Rock Music" 

Some things to be aware of when using the SelectedValue property: First, the SelectedValue property is case-sensitive. So, assigning the value rock music is different than assigning the value ROCK MUSIC . Second, if more than one list item has the same value, then the SelectedValue property will select only the first list item.

The DropDownList Control's AutoPostBack Property

If you enable the" AutoPostBack property of the DropDownList control, the form containing the DropDownList is submitted automatically whenever a new option is selected.

CAUTION

The AutoPostBack property uses client-side JavaScript. If a browser does not support JavaScript, or JavaScript is disabled on the browser, AutoPostBack does not work.


The page in Listing 2.38 contains a DropDownList control with its AutoPostBack property enabled. When a new option is selected, the SelectedIndexChanged event is raised. This event is associated with the dropColors_SelectedIndexChanged subroutine. So, whenever a new option is selected, the form is submitted, and the dropColors_SelectedIndexChanged subroutine is executed.

Listing 2.38 DropDownListAutoPostBack.aspx
 <Script Runat="Server"> Dim strBackGroundColor As String = "white" Sub dropColors_SelectedIndexChanged( s As Object, e As EventArgs )   strBackGroundColor = dropColors.SelectedItem.Text End Sub </Script> <html> <head><title>DropDownListAutoPostBack.aspx</title></head> <body bgcolor="<%=strBackGroundColor%>"> <form Runat="Server"> <asp:DropDownList   ID="dropColors"   AutoPostBack="True"   OnSelectedIndexChanged="dropColors_SelectedIndexChanged"   Runat="Server" >   <asp:ListItem text="Red" />   <asp:ListItem text="Green" />   <asp:ListItem text="Blue" /> </asp:DropDownList> </form> </body> </html> 

The C# version of this code can be found on the CD-ROM.

Using the ListBox Control

You can use a ListBox control to present a list of options. You can create a list box that enables a user to select only one option at a time, or you can create a multiselect list box. All the properties, methods, and events of this control are listed in Table 2.11.

Table 2.11. ListBox Properties, Methods, and Events

Properties

Description

AutoPostBack

When True , automatically posts the form containing the list box whenever a new option is selected.

DataMember

Identifies the particular table in a data source to bind to the control.

DataSource

Indicates the data source for the items listed in the list box.

DataTextField

Indicates the field from the data source to use for the option text.

DataTextFormatString

Gets or sets a format string that determines how the DataTextField is displayed.

DataValueField

Indicates the field from the data source to use for the option values.

Items

Represents the collection of items in the list box.

Rows

Indicates the number of rows to display in the list box. The default value is 4 .

SelectedIndex

Specifies the index number of the selected option.

SelectedItem

Represents the selected option.

SelectionMode

Determines whether a user can select more than one list item at a time. Possible values are Multiple and Single .

SelectedValue

Gets or sets the selected list item.

Method

Description

DataBind

Binds the ListBox to its data source. Loads the items from the data source into the ListItem collection.

OnSelectedIndexChanged

Raises the SelectedIndexChanged event.

Events

Description

SelectedIndexChanged

This event is raised whenever a new option is selected in the list box.

A ListBox control has a collection, represented by its Items property, that represents all the individual options in the list box.

You can add options to a list box in three ways: You can list the options when you declare the ListBox control, you can add items directly to the ListItemCollection collection of the ListBox control, or you can bind a list box to a data source.

First, you can simply list the options as list items when you declare the control like this:

 
 <asp:ListBox   ID="lstProducts"   Runat="Server">   <asp:ListItem Text="Hair Dryer" />   <asp:ListItem Text="Shaving Cream" Selected="True"/>   <asp:ListItem Text="Electric Comb"/> </asp:ListBox> 

This list box contains three options that represent different products: one labeled Hair Dryer, one labeled Shaving Cream, and one labeled Electric Comb. The Shaving Cream option is selected by default.

Second, you can add list items directly to the ListItemCollection collection of a list box. For example, in Listing 2.39, three options are added to a list box in the Page_Load subroutine.

Listing 2.39 ListBox.aspx
 <Script Runat="Server"> Sub Page_Load   If Not IsPostBack Then     lstProducts.Items.Add( "Hair Dryer" )     lstProducts.Items.Add( "Shaving Cream" )     lstProducts.Items.Add( "Electric Comb" )   End If End Sub </Script> <html> <head><title>ListBox.aspx</title></head> <body> <form Runat="Server"> <asp:ListBox   ID="lstProducts"   Runat="Server"/> </form> </body> </html> 

The C# version of this code can be found on the CD-ROM.

Finally, you can bind the ListBox control to a data source such as a database table or an existing collection. Data binding is covered in detail in Chapter 10, but I'll show you a quick example of binding a collection to a list box in Listing 2.40.

Listing 2.40 ListBoxDataBind.aspx
 <Script Runat="Server"> Sub Page_Load   Dim colArrayList As New ArrayList   If Not IsPostBack Then     colArrayList.Add( "Hair Dryer" )     colArrayList.Add( "Shaving Cream" )     colArrayList.Add( "Electric Comb" )     lstProducts.DataSource = colArrayList     lstProducts.DataBind()   End If End Sub </Script> <html> <head><title>ListBoxDataBind.aspx</title></head> <body> <form Runat="Server"> <asp:ListBox   ID="lstProducts"   Runat="Server"/> </form> </body> </html> 

The C# version of this code can be found on the CD-ROM.

In the Page_Load subroutine in Listing 2.40, an ArrayList named colArrayList is created. The values Hair Dryer , Shaving Cream , and Electric Comb are added to the ArrayList . Next, the ArrayList is assigned to the ListBox control's DataSource property, and the DataBind() method is called. After this method is called, all the items in the ArrayList are loaded into the ListItemCollection collection of the ListBox .

NOTE

An ArrayList is a collection. Think of it as an array without any fixed size. Collections are discussed in detail in Chapter 24.


Creating a Multiselect List Box

By default, you can select only one option in a list box. However, you can set the SelectionMode property to enable you to pick multiple options at a time. Listing 2.41 illustrates how you can create a multiselect list box.

Listing 2.41 ListBoxMultiSelect.aspx
 <html> <head><title>ListBoxMultiSelect.aspx</title></head> <body> <form Runat="Server"> <asp:ListBox   id="lstProducts"   SelectionMode="Multiple"   Runat="Server">   <asp:ListItem Text="Hair Dryer" />   <asp:ListItem Text="Shaving Cream" Selected="True"/>   <asp:ListItem Text="Electric Comb"/> </asp:ListBox> </form> </body> </html> 

The C# version of this code can be found on the CD-ROM.

When SelectionMode is assigned the value Multiple , you can choose multiple options by using the Shift or Ctrl key. The Shift key enables you to choose a range of options at a time. The Ctrl key enables you to pick multiple options even if the options do not appear next to one another.

Detecting the Selected Item in a List Box

If you are working with a single-select list box, you can use the SelectedIndex , SelectedItem , or SelectedValue property to determine which option is selected.

The SelectedIndex property returns the index number of the currently selected option. For example, if the first option in the list is selected, SelectedIndex returns ; if the second option is selected, SelectedIndex returns 1 ; and so on.

The SelectedItem property, on the other hand, returns the actual list item in the ListItemCollection collection that is currently selected. You can use this property to return the Text property for the selected option.

Finally, the SelectedValue property returns the value of the selected item. Unlike the SelectedItem property, you can use the SelectedValue property to set a list item as the selected item.

When you select an option in Listing 2.42, for example, the Button_Click subroutine is executed, and both the SelectedIndex and SelectedItem properties for the selected option are displayed.

Listing 2.42 ListBoxSelected.aspx
 <Script Runat="Server"> Sub Button_Click( s As Object, e As EventArgs )   lblSelectedIndex.Text = lstProducts.SelectedIndex   lblSelectedItem.Text = lstProducts.SelectedItem.Text End Sub </Script> <html> <head><title>ListBoxSelected.aspx</title></head> <body> <form Runat="Server"> <asp:ListBox   ID="lstProducts"   Runat="Server">   <asp:ListItem Text="Hair Dryer" />   <asp:ListItem Text="Shaving Cream" Selected="True"/>   <asp:ListItem Text="Electric Comb"/> </asp:ListBox> <asp:Button   Text="Pick A Product!"   OnClick="Button_Click"   Runat="Server" /> <hr> Selected Index: <asp:Label   ID="lblSelectedIndex"   Runat="Server" /> <p> Selected Item: <asp:Label   ID="lblSelectedItem"   Runat="Server" /> </form> </body> </html> 

The C# version of this code can be found on the CD-ROM.

When you're working with a multiselect list box, the SelectedIndex and SelectedItem properties return only the first index and first item selected. If you need to determine all the items selected, you need to walk through the ListItem collection and check whether each item is selected. The page in Listing 2.43 illustrates how you would go through this list.

Listing 2.43 ListBoxSelectedMultiple.aspx
 <Script Runat="Server"> Sub Button_Click( s As Object, e As EventArgs )   Dim itmProduct As ListItem   Dim strList As String   For each itmProduct in lstProducts.Items     If itmProduct.Selected Then       strList &= "<li>" & itmProduct.Text     End If   Next   lblList.Text = strList End Sub </Script> <html> <head><title>ListBoxSelectedMultiple.aspx</title></head> <body> <form Runat="Server"> <asp:ListBox   ID="lstProducts"   SelectionMode="Multiple"   Runat="Server">   <asp:ListItem Text="Hair Dryer" />   <asp:ListItem Text="Shaving Cream" Selected="True"/>   <asp:ListItem Text="Electric Comb"/> </asp:ListBox> <asp:Button   Text="Pick Multiple Products!"   OnClick="Button_Click"   Runat="Server" /> <hr> Selected Item(s): <asp:Label   ID="lblList"   Runat="Server" /> </form> </body> </html> 

The C# version of this code can be found on the CD-ROM.

Assigning Different Text and Values to a ListBox

Imagine that you are using a list box to display a list of states. For example, you might want to provide a user with the choice of whether to list a resume in California, Massachusetts, and/or Ohio. Now, imagine that you want the list box to return the state abbreviation rather than the full state name when an option is selected. You can do so by using the Value property of a list item.

You can assign the Value property to list items when you create an option in a list box like this:

 
 <asp:ListBox   ID="lstStateOfResidence"   Runat="Server">   <asp:ListItem     Text="California"     Value="CA" />   <asp:ListItem     Text="Massachusetts"     Value="MA"     Selected="True"/>   <asp:ListItem     Text="Ohio"     Value="OH" /> </asp:ListBox> 

You also can assign a different Value property than Text property when explicitly adding list items to the ListItem collection, as illustrated in Listing 2.44.

Listing 2.44 ListBoxValue.aspx
 <Script Runat="Server"> Sub Page_Load   If Not IsPostBack Then     lstStateOfResidence.Items.Add( New ListItem( "California", "CA" ) )     lstStateOfResidence.Items.Add( New ListItem( "Massachusetts", "MA" ) )     lstStateOfResidence.Items.Add( New ListItem( "Ohio", "OH" ) )   End If End Sub </Script> <html> <head><title>ListBoxValue.aspx</title></head> <body> <form Runat="Server"> asp:ListBox   ID="lstStateOfResidence"   Runat="Server"/> </form> </body> </html> 

The C# version of this code can be found on the CD-ROM.

If you want a different Text property than Value property when working with a data source, you must specify both the DataTextField and DataValueField properties before you bind to the data source. The page in Listing 2.45 demonstrates how you can use these properties when binding to a DataTable .

Listing 2.45 ListBoxDataValue.aspx
 <%@ Import namespace="System.Data" %> <Script Runat="server"> Sub Page_Load   If Not IsPostBack Then     Dim dtblStates As New DataTable     Dim drowNewRow As DataRow     dtblStates.Columns.Add(New DataColumn( "StateName", GetType( String ) ) )     dtblStates.Columns.Add(New DataColumn( "StateAbbr", GetType( String ) ) )     drowNewRow = dtblStates.NewRow()     drowNewRow( "StateName" ) = "California"     drowNewRow( "StateAbbr" ) = "CA"     dtblStates.Rows.Add( drowNewRow )     drowNewRow = dtblStates.NewRow()     drowNewRow( "StateName" ) = "Massachusetts"     drowNewRow( "StateAbbr" ) = "MA"     dtblStates.Rows.Add( drowNewRow )     drowNewRow = dtblStates.NewRow()     drowNewRow( "StateName" ) = "Ohio"     drowNewRow( "StateAbbr" ) = "OH"     dtblStates.Rows.Add( drowNewRow )     lstStateOfResidence.DataSource = dtblStates     lstStateOfResidence.DataTextField = "StateName"     lstStateOfResidence.DataValueField = "StateAbbr"     lstStateOfResidence.DataBind   End If End Sub </script> <html> <head><title>ListBoxDataValue.aspx</title></head> <body> <form Runat="Server"> <asp:ListBox   ID="lstStateOfResidence"   Runat="Server"/> </form> </body> </html> 

The C# version of this code can be found on the CD-ROM.

After you specify a distinct Value property, you can use it in your code. When you click a radio button in Listing 2.46, the list item's Index , Text , and Value properties are displayed.

Listing 2.46 ListBoxValueSelected.aspx
 <Script Runat="Server"> Sub Button_Click( s As Object, e As EventArgs )     lblSelectedIndex.Text = lstStateOfResidence.SelectedIndex     lblSelectedText.Text = lstStateOfResidence.SelectedItem.Text     lblSelectedValue.Text = lstStateOfResidence.SelectedItem.Value   End Sub </Script> <html> <head><title>ListBoxValueSelected.aspx</title></head> <body> <form Runat="Server"> <asp:ListBox   ID="lstStateOfResidence"   Runat="Server">   <asp:ListItem     Text="California"     Value="CA" />   <asp:ListItem     Text="Massachusetts"     Value="MA"     Selected="True"/>   <asp:ListItem     Text="Ohio"     Value="OH" /> </asp:ListBox> <p> <asp:Button   Text="Select State!"   OnClick="Button_Click"   Runat="Server" /> <hr> Selected Index: <asp:Label   ID="lblSelectedIndex"   Runat="Server" /> <p> Selected Text: <asp:Label   ID="lblSelectedText"   Runat="Server" /> <p> Selected Value: <asp:Label   ID="lblSelectedValue"   Runat="Server" /> </form> </body> </html> 

The C# version of this code can be found on the CD-ROM.

The ListBox Control's AutoPostBack Property

If you enable the AutoPostBack property of the ListBox control, the form containing the list box is submitted automatically whenever a new option is selected.

CAUTION

The AutoPostBack property uses client-side JavaScript. If a browser does not support JavaScript, or JavaScript is disabled on the browser, AutoPostBack does not work.


The page contained in Listing 2.47 contains a ListBox control with its AutoPostBack property enabled. When a new option is selected, the SelectedIndexChanged event is raised. This event is associated with the lstColors_SelectedIndexChanged subroutine. So, whenever a new option is selected, the form is submitted, and the subroutine is executed (the lstColors_SelectedIndexChanged subroutine displays a different background color).

Listing 2.47 ListBoxAutoPostBack.aspx
 <Script Runat="Server"> Dim strBackGroundColor As String = "white" Sub lstColors_SelectedIndexChanged( s As Object, e As EventArgs )   strBackGroundColor = lstColors.SelectedItem.Text End Sub </Script> <html> <head><title>ListboxAutoPostBack.aspx</title></head> <body bgcolor="<%=strBackGroundColor%>"> <form Runat="Server"> <asp:ListBox   ID="lstColors"   AutoPostBack="True"   OnSelectedIndexChanged="lstColors_SelectedIndexChanged"   Runat="Server" >   <asp:ListItem text="Red" />   <asp:ListItem text="Green" />   <asp:ListItem text="Blue" /> </asp:ListBox> </form> </body> </html> 

The C# version of this code can be found on the CD-ROM.



ASP.NET Unleashed
ASP.NET 4 Unleashed
ISBN: 0672331128
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2003
Pages: 263

Similar book on Amazon

flylib.com © 2008-2017.
If you may any questions please contact us: flylib@qtcs.net