One task that is common in web applications is data collection. For example, you may need to create a survey page for collecting user inputs. On that page, you may want to collect a fair bit of information such as username, profile, and answers to survey questions (often used to collect subscriber information for controlled-circulation magazines). A good practice is to split your questions across multiple pages so that the user need not scroll down a page that contains all the questions. In ASP.NET 1.x developers often like to use Panel controls to contain all the questions and then selectively display the relevant panels (and hide the other panels).
In ASP.NET 2.0, the MultiView control takes the drudgery out of creating multiple pages for this task. It allows controls to be contained within multiple View (a new control in ASP.NET 2.0) controls, which you can then programmatically display.
To see how the MultiView control works, you will create an application that contains a MultiView control with three View controls embedded in it. You can then treat each View control like an ordinary Web Form and populate controls in it. You then connect these View controls together so that users can step through them in a specific order.
Figure 1. Populating the default Web Form with the various controls--click for full-size image.
Clickevents of all Button controls on default.aspx:
Protected Sub btnAllButtons_Click(ByVal sender As Object, _ ByVal e As System.EventArgs) _ Handles btnView1Next.Click, _ btnView2Next.Click, btnView2Previous.Click, _ btnFinish.Click, btnReset.Click Select Case CType(sender, Button).Text Case "Next" MultiView1.ActiveViewIndex += 1 Case "Previous" MultiView1.ActiveViewIndex -= 1 Case "Finish" Response.Write("You have selected <b>" & rblOS.SelectedItem.ToString & _ "</b> as your primary operating systems.<br/>") Response.Write("The language you use for your work is <b>" & _ rblLanguage.SelectedItem.ToString & "</b>") btnFinish.Enabled = False btnReset.Enabled = False Case "Reset" MultiView1.ActiveViewIndex = 0 End Select End Sub
ActiveViewIndexproperty of the MultiView control sets the View control to display. Set the
ActiveViewIndexproperty of the MultiView control to 0 so that the first view control will be displayed when the page is loaded.
Figure 2. Using the MultiView control--click for full-size image.
While this article uses the MultiView control to split a long page into multiple views, the inherent disadvantage with this control is that you need to design your own navigation (such as buttons, as shown in this article) to switch between the different View controls. For tasks such as collecting user inputs, the Wizard control is much more efficient as it automatically provides navigation between different views.
The Wizard control can be found in the Toolbox under the Standard tab. To try out the functionality of the Wizard control:
Figure 3. Using the Wizard control
Figure 4. Adding a new Wizard step
Figure 5. Populating Step 1
The Wizard control is highly customizable. Make sure you check out the properties window for all its capabilities.
Figure 6. Populating Step 2
Figure 7. Populating Step 3
FinishButtonClickevent when the user clicks on the Finish button in the final step (Step 3):
Protected Sub Wizard1_FinishButtonClick( _ ByVal sender As Object, _ ByVal e As System.Web.UI.WebControls.WizardNavigationEventArgs) _ Handles Wizard1.FinishButtonClick Response.Write("You have selected <b>" & rblOS.SelectedItem.ToString & _ "</b> as your primary operating systems.<br/>") Response.Write("The language you use for your work is <b>" & _ rblLanguage.SelectedItem.ToString & "</b>") Wizard1.Visible = False End Sub
Figure 8. The Wizard control in action--click for full-size image.
In this article, you have seen the two new controls in ASP.NET 2.0 that allows you to split a long page into smaller manageable portions. The MultiView control offers greater flexibility for navigating between views while the Wizard control includes a set of simple navigation buttons to simplify the navigation process.
Wei-Meng Lee (Microsoft MVP) http://weimenglee.blogspot.com is a technologist and founder of Developer Learning Solutions http://www.developerlearningsolutions.com, a technology company specializing in hands-on training on the latest Microsoft technologies.
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