ASP.NET Programmer's Reference


ASP.NET is a totally new way of creating dynamic web applications, giving developers more flexibility and functionality than ever before. Its fresh approach of placing commonly-used code into controls, and separating presentation from business logic, makes developing and maintaining applications far easier. It is part of the Microsoft .NET Framework, and as such allows code to be created in any language that the Framework supports (currently C#, VB.NET, and JScript.NET out of ...
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ASP.NET is a totally new way of creating dynamic web applications, giving developers more flexibility and functionality than ever before. Its fresh approach of placing commonly-used code into controls, and separating presentation from business logic, makes developing and maintaining applications far easier. It is part of the Microsoft .NET Framework, and as such allows code to be created in any language that the Framework supports (currently C#, VB.NET, and JScript.NET out of the box).

This reference is divided into four sections. The first covers all the important ASP.NET namespaces for User Interface design, while the second looks at "behind the scenes" topics like caching and configuration. The third section looks at the important new arena of Web Services, and finally, the fourth deals with the remaining hot topics, such as data access and XML, as well as containing a chapter of short, fully-working examples relating to all sections of the book, to help you understand the concepts being presented.

Who is this book for?

This book is for developers working with ASP.NET. It is designed to complement any of the books in Wrox's ASP.NET series, and to present information to you in a compact, illustrative, and easily browsed form.

What does this book cover?

  • All major ASP.NET specific namespaces
  • Caching
  • Configuration
  • Security
  • Useful .NET Framework namespaces
  • Web Services
  • Data in ASP.NET
  • XML in ASP.NET
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781861005304
  • Publisher: Wrox Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/1/2001
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 800
  • Product dimensions: 7.26 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 1.97 (d)

Meet the Author

After eight years of developing software for the U.S. Air Force, Jason Bell is now an MCSD working as a consultant for Stroudwater NHG, a Microsoft Certified Partner located in Portland, ME.

Mike Clark is a senior analyst at Lucin and is responsible for Mike predominantly now works in commercial aspects of web services having developed the web sites and He can be contacted at

Andy Elmhorst is a developer and writer who spends most of his time architecting and building web applications using Microsoft server technologies. He currently works for Renaissance Learning, Inc. and can be reached at

Matthew Gibbs is a software developer at Microsoft where he has been working on Internet technologies and is currently working on the Mobile Internet Toolkit.

Alex Homer is a software developer and technical. He started playing with Microsoft's Active Server Pages technology right from the early Betas of version 1.0 (remember "Denali"?) - and has watched with awe and excitement as it has evolved into probably the most comprehensive server-side Web programming environment available today. You can contact Alex at

Bruce Lee worked as a technical support engineer at Microsoft Taiwan. He is the author and technical writer for a couple of Chinese books and Windows 2000 Magazines. His focus is always on Microsoft technologies, especially on operation systems, network management and web development. You can reach him at

Matt Milner works as a Technical Architect for BORN in Minneapolis where he designs and builds Microsoft solutions for clients in a variety of industries. Matt's primary focus has been using Windows DNA architecture and he is excited about the move to .Net and all the powerful new features.

Jan D. Narkiewicz is Chief Technical Officer at Software Pronto, Inc. Over the years Jan managed to work on an email system that resided on 17 million desktops and developed defence systems. In his spare time Jan is Academic Coordinator for the Windows curriculum at U.C. Berkeley Extension, he teaches at U.C. Santa Cruz Extension and writes for ASP Today.

Adil Rehan works as an independent consultant for a Fortune 500 company. He has been involved in different roles for several books and has been actively involved in design and implementation of enterprise Internet enabled solutions for different clients.

John Schenken is currently Software Test Lead on the Visual Basic Server Enterprise Team for Microsoft. He has programming experience involving MSMQ, SMTP, NT Event Log, NT Perf Counters, ASP, business objects and ADO.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 2: System.Web

The System.Web namespace contains classes to deal with the base functionality of the web architecture. It includes, among others, objects representing the request and response, as well as objects to access information about the application and file paths. These objects provide useful information about the environment that the application is running in. It also contains some helper functions (utilities) to make working in that environment easier.

In this chapter we'll cover the classes in System.Web that are the most useful, and commonly used, in ASP.NET web applications. These classes make up the bulk of the namespace and provide the majority of its functionality. Before we begin, however, we'll cover some of the basics of creating a page in ASP.NET.

Wrox authors Alex Homer and Dave Sussman have an online application, developed for Professional ASP.NET (ISBN 1-861004-88-5), that lets you explore the properties of selected Server Controls. It can be found at

Creating an ASP.NET Page

In traditional ASP programming, server-side script was embedded into the HTML text of a page. Certainly there were exceptions to this, for example, when a page simply processed code and redirected the user to a display screen, but for the most part, this was the case.

The following simple page mixes ASP code to get the date and time, with HTTP text for the presentation of that information. On the highlighted line we use the <%...%> syntax to indicate to the server that there is code to be processed:


                                   The time on the server is:<%=Now%>    

You can continue to mix code and layout like this in ASP.NET, but the recommended method is to have one file that defines your layout and HTML content, called a web form, and another that contains your code. This second file is referred to as a code behind file, and is where the server-side processing of your page is defined. This approach has many benefits, not least of which is improved manageability and readability.

We won't cover the differences between ASP and ASP.NET here, but we will show a brief example of the different options for creating a dynamic web page in ASP.NET.

Firstly, here is an example web form where code and layout are mixed. The code is enclosed in <script> blocks:


        <title>Time Web Form</title> 
        <script language="C#" runat="server">    
                  string GetTime()    
                      return System.DateTime.Now.ToString();     
               The time at the server is    

The first point to note here is that our page has an ASPX file extension. This tells the web server that it is an ASP.NET web form, and should be handled accordingly. Next, notice that we're using a script block to wrap a function called GetTime that returns the system date and time as a string value. The surrounding script block specifies the language and the location to run the script, in this case at the server.

You can only use one language in a given web page, as the entire page is compiled to a single instance of a Page class (discussed in Chapter 3). Different languages can be used for different pages.

Finally, our script returns a value using a function call, though we could just as easily have done it like this:

        The time at the server is

The structure we've used so far will be very familiar to ASP developers. Now we're going to compose a similar example, using the suggested ASP.NET architecture, where only the layout elements appear in the ASPX file...

...There are a couple of important things to notice here. First, the file now contains an @Page directive at the top of the file, which tells the .NET runtime about the page. Its Language attribute tells the runtime which compiler to use on the file, in this case the Visual Basic.NET compiler. Its CodeBehind attribute specifies the name of the file that contains our server-side code and class rules, and its Inherits attribute indicates that our ASPX page derives from the TimeDotNetStyle class.

Secondly we have used an ASP.NET <asp:Label> and an HTTP <form element, both with their runat attributes set to "server". This indicates that these items will be available to us as objects in our code behind file. To see how this works, let's examine that file now...

...Here we're defining a class to inherit from System.Web.UI.Page. Within that class we're declaring a variable called time of type System.Web.UI.WebControls.Label that represents our <asp:Label> element from the web form. Then in the Page_Load event handler we're simply setting the Text property of our label to the value that we want to display. It's as simple as that!

The System.Web Namespace

Now we've seen how to make a basic page we'll delve into more detail about the many classes that the ASP.NET System.Web namespace makes available to developers. We'll be focusing primarily on classes that deal with communication between the client and the server, including the information sent between the two.

The following classes are covered:

  • HttpBrowserCapabilities – this class encapsulates information about the client browser making requests, and includes information regarding the capabilities of the client, including support for ActiveX controls, Java Applets and JavaScript, cookie support, frames support, and the browser type and version.
  • HttpContext – this class provides information about the current context in which the request is executing including security and error information.
  • HttpCookie – this class allows the creation and manipulation of cookies sent to and from the client.
  • HttpCookieCollection – this class provides access to a collection of cookies. An object of this type is available in both the HttpRequest and HttpResponse objects to allow access to the cookies sent with a request or to be sent with the response.
  • HttpFileCollection – this class provides a wrapper around a collection of posted files to make managing and working with those files as a group much easier.
  • HttpPostedFile – this class provides an object that represents a file posted to the server via an input tag on the browser and allows easy manipulation and saving of the file.
  • HttpRequest – this class encapsulates information and functionality surrounding the request made to the web server by the client including forms data, query strings, headers, and browser information. Essentially, it encompasses all information sent to the server in an object.
  • HttpResponse – this class encapsulates the outgoing stream from the server and allows for manipulation the information being sent to the client including outgoing cookies, headers, HTML content, and caching information.
  • HttpRuntime – this class provides access to the IIS run-time process and provides information on the host environment including file paths, application IDs and the ability to process a request and to close the runtime.
  • HttpServerUtility – this class encapsulates a great deal of the helper functions for working with web applications including the encoding and decoding of strings, mapping paths, executing other .aspx pages, and creating COM objects to be used in the page.
  • HttpSessionState – this class allows for access to the mechanisms for storing information for a given user session. (This class actually belongs to the System.Web.SessionState namespace.)

The HttpBrowserCapabilities Class

Knowing the client and the environment in which your pages are being viewed is very helpful in tailoring your pages to them. For example, using different stylesheets and tags in different situations gives a great deal of useful flexibility. You could make a decision about whether to use ActiveX or a Java Applet to perform some functionality based on your knowledge of what the client supports....
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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
What is ASP.NET? 1
What Does This Book Cover? 2
Who Is This Book For? 2
What You Need To Use This Book 3
Conventions 3
Customer Support 4
Chapter 1 Introduction to ASP.NET 7
The What 7
The Why 8
The How--.NET Perks 12
From Legacy to ASP.NET 15
ASP.NET Features 17
Summary 20
Chapter 2 System.Web 23
Working with File Uploads 40
Communication Streams: Responses and Requests 45
Utilities and Helpful Information 76
Chapter 3 System.Web.UI 93
The Control Class 97
The Page Class 128
The TemplateControl Class 152
The UserControl Class 163
Summary 166
Chapter 4 System.Web.UI.HTMLControls 169
System.Web.UI.HtmlControls 170
Chapter 5 System.Web.UI.WebControls 211
The WebControl Class 212
Web Form Controls (HTML Intrinsic Controls) 213
List Controls 241
Rich Controls 295
Validation Controls 310
Summary 322
Chapter 6 Mobile Internet Toolkit 325
The MobileControl Base Class 327
The TextControl Class 334
Paginated Content 335
The BaseValidator Class 337
The AdRotator Control 338
The Calendar Control 340
The Command Control 342
The CompareValidator Control 344
The CustomValidator Control 345
The Form Control 345
The Image Control 349
The Label Control 350
The Link Control 350
The List Control 351
The ObjectList Control 353
The Panel Control 359
The PhoneCall Control 360
The RangeValidator Control 362
The RegularExpressionValidator Control 362
The RequiredFieldValidator Control 363
The SelectionList Control 363
The TextBox Control 366
The TextView Control 367
The ValidationSummary Control 368
Device-Specific Rendering 369
Templates 370
The Item Element 371
MobileCapabilities 372
The deviceFilters Section 373
The DeviceSpecific Control 373
The DeviceSpecificChoice Class 374
Style Information 375
PagerStyle 376
Summary 377
Chapter 7 Caching & System.Web.Caching 379
Output Caching 380
Programmatic Caching 389
Chapter 8 System.Web.Configuration 397
Configuration File Types 397
Why use Configurable Properties? 399
Configurable Properties versus .INI files 399
Configuration File Format 401
Configuration File Sections 404
Using Configurable Properties 420
Chapter 9 Security & System.Web.Security 423
ASP.NET Security Overview 423
ASP.NET Authentication Providers 426
System.Security.Principal Namespace 432
System.Web.Security Namespace 438
Chapter 10 Useful .NET Namespaces 465
System.Collections Namespace 465
System.Text.RegularExpressions Namespace 514
System.IO Namespace 527
System.Text Namespace 556
Chapter 11 System.Web.Services 567
Web Services Overview 567
The System.Web.Services Namespace 572
Chapter 12 System.Web.Services.Description 583
The ServiceDescription Class 591
Interface Section 597
Communication Section 607
Binding Section 609
System.Web.Services.Description Enumerations 612
System.Web.Services.Description Overview 614
Chapter 13 System.Web.Services.Protocols 637
Communication Protocols 638
The Important Classes of the Protocols Namespace 648
System.Web.Services.Protocols Classes 666
System.Web.Services.Protocols Enumerations 686
Web Service Discovery 690
Chapter 14 Data in ASP.NET 707
Data in the .NET Framework 707
The System.Data Namespace 709
Data Binding 737
Editing Data 748
Summary 749
Chapter 15 XML in ASP.NET 751
System.Xml Namespaces Overview 751
The System.Xml Namespace 752
The System.Xml.XPath Namespace 786
The System.Xml.Xsl Namespace 794
Common XML Task Examples 797
XML and ADO.NET Synchronization 822
Summary 832
Chapter 16 Examples 835
Setup 835
Example 1 Web Controls 837
Example 2 Web Controls Part 2 843
Example 3 User Controls 852
Example 4 Validating User Input 855
Example 5 Caching 860
Example 6 Writing a Web Service 862
Example 7 Form-Based Authentication 869
Example 8 Custom Error Handling 875
Summary 876
Appendix A 879
Index 887
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