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ASP.NET Dynamic Data Unleashed

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ASP.NET Dynamic Data Unleashed


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Dynamic Data is a set of controls that together form a powerful, metadata-driven, run-time code generation framework.

From simple tasks, such as creating robust data entry and search screens, to complex projects, such as building entire

web applications, Dynamic Data gives developers a huge productivity boost and is an extension of ASP.NET Framework initially introduced in version 3.5 SP1. It relies on the new generation of data access frameworks, such as LINQ to SQL and Entity Framework to allow ASP.NET developers generate web pages for common data-oriented tasks, such as searching, display, creation and modification of database records instead of coding these pages manually. Out of the box, Dynamic Data gives developers a fully-functional data-driven web site they can use for the maintenance and administration in their applications, saving weeks or months of coding on a typical project. Dynamic Data can also be used in custom web pages, significantly reducing the amount of time developers have to spend on repetitive tasks.


  • Copyright 2012
  • Edition: 1st
  • Book
  • ISBN-10: 0-672-33565-4
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-672-33565-5

 Using Dynamic Data, ASP.NET developers can create powerful, datadriven sites with amazing speed and efficiency, eliminating massive amounts of manual coding. ASP.NET Dynamic Data Unleashed is the first complete, practical guide to Dynamic Data for every experienced ASP.NET developer.

The author thoroughly demystifies Dynamic Data, helping developers understand exactly what they can do with the framework and make it more accessible than ever before. He provides tested code to solve a wide variety of problems, explains how and why that code works, and identifies key tradeoffs and alternatives.

Packed with breakthrough techniques for improving developer productivity, this book combines a hands-on tutorial, “drill-down” explanations of advanced techniques, and real-world development scenarios.

Detailed information on how to…

  • Use Dynamic Data components to overcome common real-world user interface development challenges
  •   Understand how ASP.NET Dynamic Data builds on strengths of WebForms, Entity Framework, and LINQ
  •   Develop simple custom templates to dramatically reduce code duplication
  •   Generalize templates to leverage metadata and generate user interfaces dynamically
  •   Create web pages for data entry, data filtering, and diverse views of data
  •   Use Data Annotations to implement powerful validation logic
  •   Write simple, yet effective automated tests to systematically verify the business logic
  •   Create complex interaction rules that aren’t limited by single entity objects or types
  •   Optimize I/O-bound business logic by implementing it with T-SQL constraints, stored procedures, and triggers
  •   Implement role-based security with dynamic UI trimming
  •   Generate entire data-driven web applications, complete with CRUD pages, complex business rules, integrated navigation, and security
  •   Extend Dynamic Data to support advanced scenarios
  •   Decide when Dynamic Data should be used instead of or together with ASP.NET MVC



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ASP.NET Dynamic Data Unleashed: Field Templates

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Table of Contents

Preface     xv

PART I Dynamic Data Fundamentals

1 Getting Started     3

Creating a New Dynamic Data Application     4

Creating a Data Model     6

Metadata in Entity Framework and Dynamic Data      12

Field Templates and Dynamic Controls      13

Data Annotations     17

Entity Templates      18

Grid Columns and Dynamic Fields     22

Filter Templates     25

Page Templates and URL Routing     29

Summary      35

2 Entity Framework      37

Understanding Entity Model     38

Creating Entity Model      38

ObjectContext and Simple Queries     43

Associations      43

Querying Across Associations     46

Modifying and Saving Entities      46

LINQ to Entities      47

Query Execution      47

Object Identity     48

Lazy and Eager Loading      49

Projections      49

Sorting     50

Grouping     51

Joins      51

Composing Queries      52

SQL Translation      53

Compiled Queries      55

Extension Methods     57

Entity Lifecycle     60

Tracking Changes      60

Optimistic Concurrency Control      61

Transactions      64

Read-Only ObjectContext      65

Entity Model in Depth     66

Mapping Entity Type to Multiple Tables      71

Entity Type Inheritance     72

Inheritance Mapping     73

Stored Procedures     74

Insert, Update, and Delete Stored Procedures     78

Summary      82

3 Field Templates      85

Read-Only Templates      86

Field Value Display Format     87

Edit and Insert Mode Templates     89

Field Value Edit Format      93

Changing Existing Field Template     93

Data Binding      96

Creating a New Field Template     99

Field Template Lookup Rules     104

Data Annotations      104

Type Names     104

Type Aliases     105

Type Fallback      105

Control Mode      106

Mode Fallback     106

Navigation Columns      107

Field Template Lookup Algorithm      108

Built-in Field Templates      111

Boolean      111

Boolean_Edit      111

Children      111

Children_Insert     111

DateTime      112

DateTime_Edit      112

Decimal_Edit      112

EmailAddress      112

Enumeration      112

Enumeration Edit      113

ForeignKey      114

ForeignKey_Edit      114

Integer_Edit     114

ManyToMany      114

ManyToMany_Edit      115

MultilineText_Edit      115

Text      115

Text_Edit      116

Url      116

Summary      116

4 Entity Templates      117

Creating an Entity Template     120

Composite Entity Templates     122

Generic Entity Templates     123

Dynamic Entity Templates      124

Edit and Insert Entity Templates      129

Entity Template Lookup Rules     131

Template Name     131

Template Mode      132

Entity Template Lookup Algorithm      133

Built-in Entity Templates      134

Summary      135

5 Filter Templates      137

Filtering with LINQ     138

Creating a Filter Template      140

GetQueryable Method      143

OnFilterChanged Method      143

DefaultValue Property      143

Dynamic LINQ Queries     143

Building Search Pages with Filter Templates      145

QueryableFilterRepeater Control     148

Filter Template Lookup Rules      150

Built-in Filter Templates     151

Boolean      151

Enumeration      151

ForeignKey      151

Summary     151

6 Page Templates      153

Built-in Page Templates     154

Details Page Template     155

Edit Page Template      159

List Page Template      163

Insert Page Template     169

Creating a New Page Template      172

Custom Page Templates      174

URL Routing     180

Action Route Parameter     180

Table Route Parameter      180

URL Parameters Versus Query Parameters      181

Dynamic Hyperlinks     182

Route Evaluation and Constraints      183

ViewName Route Parameter     185

Page Template Lookup Rules      185

Summary      186

7 Metadata API      189

Metadata Classes at a Glance     189

Metadata Explorer     191

The MetaModel Class     192

Data Model Registration     192

Accessing MetaTable Objects     193

Global Model Registration     195

Scaffolding Support      196

The MetaTable Class      196

Entity Definition     196

Data Annotations      198

Data Access Support      201

Presentation Logic Support      202

Security Support     203

The MetaColumn Class      203

Property Definition     204

Property Kind     206

Data Annotations      207

The MetaForeignKeyColumn Class      211

Presentation Logic      211

The MetaChildrenColumn Class     213

Summary      214

PART II Dynamic Data in Real-World Applications

8 Implementing Entity Validation     217

Validation Framework      217

Validation Error Messages     219

Validation in Entity Framework     221

Customizing Entity Framework Code Generation     227

Replacing Built-in Code Generator with Text Template     227

Customizing Text Template to Change Context Base Class     228

Customizing Text Template to Generate Static Constructors      229

Automated Testing      230

Creating a Unit Test     231

Test Isolation     234

Testing Validation of Different Properties     235

Integration Testing Versus Unit Testing     237

Declarative Validation     238

RequiredAttribute      238

RangeAttribute     239

StringLengthAttribute     241

RegularExpressionAttribute      242

EnumDataTypeAttribute     244

DataTypeAttribute      245

Imperative Validation      245

CustomValidationAttribute      245

Validating Multiple Rules      250

Reporting Multiple Errors     252

Validating Entity State Changes      256

Accessing Original Property Values with ObjectStateManager     256

Accessing Original Property Values in Validation Methods      257

Handling DBNull Values      259

Summary      261

9 Implementing Business Logic     263

Entity Design     264

Measure Impact of Inheritance on Query Performance      264

Keep the Conceptual and Storage Models as Close as Possible     268

Default Property Values      269

Property Interaction Rules      272

OnPropertyChanging Partial Methods     273

ISavableObject Interface      273

Entity Interaction Rules      275

Implementing Entity Interaction Rules in BeforeSave Methods      276

Implementing Entity Interaction Rules as Entity Methods     277

Implementing Entity Interaction Rules as Context Methods      278

Validation Rules      280

Validation Rule Design      281

Validation of Related Entities     287

Entity Deletion Rules     289

Reusing Entity Validation in Business Rule Methods     290

Saving Changes     292

Managing Transactions     293

Invoking Business Rules in Web Applications      294

Error Handling     296

Business Rules in the Database     298

Integrating Database Validation in Dynamic Data Applications      299

Implementing Validation Rules in Triggers      304

Implementing Business Rules in Stored Procedures      306

Summary      308

10 Building Custom Forms      309

Multimode Entity Templates      310

Custom Templates      310

Dynamic Templates      312

Creating Dynamic Label Control      315

Extending DynamicControl      319

Configuring Field Templates     321

Specifying a Field Template Explicitly      321

Configuring Field Templates Declaratively      322

Configuring Field Templates Programmatically      323

Creating Custom Field Templates     324

Implementing Interaction Between Field Templates      327

Accessing Initial Field Values of Other Columns     330

Accessing Modified Field Values of Other Columns     331

Initial Implementation of the Region_Edit Field Template     332

Improving Encapsulation of Field Templates     334

FieldValue Property     336

FieldValueChanged Event     337

AutoPostBack Property      337

Extending Existing Field Templates      337

Using Entity Templates to Control Field Templates      341

Extending DynamicControl (Again)      343

Taking Advantage of the UnleashedControl in Entity Templates     345

Summary      347

11 Building Dynamic Forms      349

Basic Form Layout     350

Configuring Appearance of Labels      352

Prompt Annotation      354

Description Annotation     356

Configuring Field Templates     357

Making Properties Read-Only     357

Overriding Default Field Templates      359

Configuring Appearance of Values     360

Enum Properties and Enumeration Templates     361

Extending the Enumeration Field Templates     362

Custom Data Types and UI Hints     368

Specifying Field Template Parameters      370

Extending Dynamic Data to Support Control Parameters      372

Field Template Interaction in Dynamic Forms      378

Fixing the FindOtherFieldTemplate Method      381

Creating Additional Dynamic Entity Templates      383

Extending Metadata to Support Entity UI Hints      384

Extending Page Templates to Support EntityUIHintAttribute     386

UnleashedEntity Control     386

Building a Dynamic Two-Column Entity Template      388

Summary      393

12 Building Custom Search Pages     395

Displaying Information from Related Entities      396

Column Sorting Across Related Entities      400

Building Custom Search Pages      401

Overcoming Limitations of Dynamic Filters      403

Using Replacement Filter Controls      405

Filtering Based on Related Entities      407

Initializing Nested Filter Control      409

Implementing Query Logic      411

Using the Parent Filter Template     419

Summary      420

13 Building Dynamic List Pages     421

Extending Filter Lookup Rules     422

Extending the FilterFactory Class     423

Extending the MetaTable Class      427

Extending the MetaModel Class      429

Building Dynamic UI with Custom Properties      432

Implementing Support for Custom Properties     433

Model Providers     434

Sorting of Custom Properties     446

Specifying Sort Expression for Custom Properties in Entity Model     446

Extending Dynamic Data to Support Sort Expression Metadata      447

Generating Metadata Attributes      450

Summary      452

14 Implementing Security     455

Table Scaffolding      456

Route Constraints      457

Web.Config Authorization Rules     458

Limitations of Configuration-Based Rules     461

Metadata Security API     462

Modifying Dynamic Templates to Support the Security API     464

Implementing Row-Level Security     472

Security Annotations      476

AuthorizationAttribute      477

CustomQueryAttribute      487

Summary      493

Index      495


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