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BOOK: ASP.NET 2.0 Website Programming Problem Design Solution ISBN: 978-0-7645-8464-0
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Old July 28th, 2008, 03:09 AM
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Default Creating a Downloads Section

Hello,

Let me start off by saying that I'm an 18 year old that is relatively new at ASP.NET, C#, and VB. I know HTML and CSS pretty strongly, but as I'm moving into college, I wanted to create a database style site for my companies, so that if I cannot make the updates, someone else easily can. I love the TBH design for this reason, because it allows me to do that, while adding many other awesome features (RSS, ecommerce, you all know the deal).

Right now I'm working on a project for one of my companies. It has hundreds of products and wants a mixture between an informational and e-commerce site. Now, I've followed TBH pretty much to the end, and have made some decent progress with understanding the code and the application, but I've hit somewhat of a roadblock. I'm trying to create a downloads section that is adaptable for each product (some products have one download, some have 0, some have 4 or 5). Now, I've created a simple Downloads section to the site, which is linked to the products section, but not as thoroughly as I would like.

The URL for the site is http://www.lawsonhemphill.com/lakotooldatabase/Web/

It is still in the developmental stage, and I'm actually working on a complete visual reconstruction now. If you want to log in, admin/admin works as username/password (like I said, its all developmental, and nothing thats on the site is valid or important, so I'm not afraid of anyone changing anything.) I'm also working on URL remapping, SEO, and sitemap/breadcrumb work, but I'm trying to take everything one step at a time, so Downloads comes first.

If you look under "Get Brochures & Technical Info", its very sloppy. (a little more than the rest of the site). The download links all work, but as you can see, some of the products don't fit all of the download slots. I linked the two sections using the "add/edit product" page, and an example can be seen here:

http://www.lawsonhemphill.com/lakoto...duct.aspx?ID=4

So (if you've survived reading this long), my question is, how would I go about making a "Downloads" section that is less rigid, and more like a "Manage Categories" section?



 
Old July 28th, 2008, 03:54 PM
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First of all, congratulations for taking on such a big project at your age. Hell, when I was 18, the PC hadn't even been invented yet! (That's okay, I was more into motorcycles back then anyway :))

If I may say, your problem is that you're "flattening" the structure far, far too much. It appears that you have your Downloads (texts and URLs) as fields of the Product table. This is not the way to go.

Instead, you need to have a separate Downloads table, and link it to the Products table with a foreign key.

Then, in your business layer, instead of having this:
Product.BrochureDownloadPDFText (string)
Product.BrochureDownloadPDFUrl (string)
Product.BrochureDownloadZIPText (string)
Product.BrochureDownloadZIPUrl (string)

etc...

You'd have this:
Product.Downloads ( List<Download> )

Each row in the Download table would have a field that links it to the Product row it belongs to. And the Download class would have it's own properties:

Download.Text
Download.Url
Download.Type

etc...

This way, each Product could have any number of downloads, and each download could be defined in any way you want. Of course, you'll need a separate Admin page to manage Downloads.

The book has a perfect example of this in the Articles section.

Look at the structure of this module. The articles object doesn't have properties like Comment1, Comment2, Comment3, etc. Instead, it has a property of List<Comment>, which is linked to the tbh_Comments table in the database.
 
Old July 29th, 2008, 03:25 AM
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As per Lee's post a separate table is certainly the way to go.

I wrote a "Resources" provider that integrates with the CMS to allow product documentation downloads (you can see it in action at: http://www.channelpumps.com/a27_Single_Disc_Pumps.aspx

This seems more or less what you want to achieve (although using the Products table instead - which will work in exactly same way).

My Resources table is structured as below:

ResourceID int
AddedDate datetime
AddedBy nvarchar(256)
ArticleID int
FileName nvarchar(256)
Description nvarchar(4000)
Title nvarchar(256)

You could probably work out all the necessarily CRUD methods by looking at how the comments work on the CMS (as the structure is very similar).

If you need to provide a number of different formats you could probably just interrogate the file extension of the uploaded file or a more structured way could be to have an additional field "FileType".

If you went for the second option you could use a gridview to display the Title/Description and then use a couple of BoundFields or HyperLink fields with a .pdf / .zip icon. This will then give your users the choice of format and just pass this back as a querystring:

http://myweb.com/Products/Downloads....fileformat=zip

Hope that helps you

Retro
 
Old September 19th, 2008, 12:47 AM
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alright thanks guys! i got it working. I actually took your advice and created a related links section too hahaha






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