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Old June 28th, 2007, 04:41 AM
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Default Custom Controls


I've been reading my way through the Web Parts and Custom Controls in ASP.Net 2.0 book by Peter Vogel. I got to chapter 3 on building a custom control and got confuesed and need help!

What I'm trying to do is create a custom control to send Email! This control would have three text boxes:

1. Email address
2. Subject
3. Message

Each of these would have a corresponding title label and error label! There would also be a button to submit the form and run some validation against the fields.

I added each control to the controls collection in a CreateChildControls method which worked fine! My confusion came when I wanted to set the layout of the control.

What I want is to create a table with two columns. The first column on each row would contain the title label, the second would contain the text box with a whitespace after it and then the error label. The final row would be a merged cell containing the submit button.

However I'm really unsure of how to go about doing this. The book talks about overriding various render methods (render begin, render end etc) and using writer.RenderBeginTag(). Unfortunatly the book does say you can do this and says you break it up into 3 sections:

1. Write out the initial table tag
2. Render the constituent controls and their HTML
3. Write out the end table tag

but the book, nor the downloadable code examples show you how to do this and I can't work it out!

Can someone please help me out with this!?

Many thanks in advance


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Old June 28th, 2007, 08:28 AM
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I'm no expert in custom controls, but you could try this:

When you add your controls in CreateChildControls, also add the formatting controls.

Create an HtmlControls.HtmlTable control and the necessary instances of HtmlControls.HtmlTableRow and HtmlControls.HtmlTableCell. Add your labels and textboxes to the cells and the cells to the rows and rows to the table to form the tabular layout, then add the table to the main Controls collection.

I think the approach indended by the book is to do this:
write out a chunk of html to start (i.e. <table>....<td>)
render the first row label
write out the next html chunk (</td><td>)
render the first row textbox
and so on and so forth until you get to
write out the end html chunk (</td></tr></table>)

Personally, I think the first approach is better because you can let the control render itself using the built in html controls so it's significantly easier to write. But that might not be the preferred way of creating custom controls. As I said, I'm no expert.

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Old July 2nd, 2007, 04:07 PM
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I agree, I find I have fewer problems the more I can rely on the .NET class libraries. They tend to be easier to code and manipulate. But you can write it all out manually, if you have to.

I think you're only problem here is that you're expecting it to be harder than it is. And most of the time MS, makes it so. ;) But I think this time, it really is as simple as writing chunks of of table structure (e.g. "<table><tr><td>") and concatenating that in with the other controls in your custom control.

Good luck.


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