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Introduction of ASP.NET AJAX Toolkit - CollapsiblePanel

Posted by James Wu Articles | AJAX January 17, 2007
The ASP.NET AJAX Toolkit is a new and powerful control in ASP.NET 2.0. It is designed for you to develop web applications that are more responsive, faster, and put fewer loads on the network, and in particular took .NET-based Ajax framework. This article will use one of ASP.NET AJAX Toolkit’s controls – CollapsiblePanel to demonstrate the benefit by using it.
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Abstract

The ASP.NET AJAX Toolkit is a new and powerful control in ASP.NET 2.0. It is designed for you to develop web applications that are more responsive, faster, and put fewer loads on the network, while using the .NET-based Ajax framework. This article will use one of ASP.NET AJAX Toolkit's controls - CollapsiblePanel to demonstrate the benefit by using it.

 

Introduction

AJAX!!! You have heard about it all the time. It is the latest buzz term for most of web programmers. AJAX is stands for Asynchronous JavaScript and XML.

 

It is an acronym for a couple of technologies that make it possible for developers to update a web page content at the control level without having to do a complete page refresh. For more details about ASP.NET AJAX please go to (http://ajax.asp.net/). The Codeplex team have made amazing controls that makes the life a lot easier for an ASP.NET programmer (more sleep and spending time with family & friends). These amazing controls are so called "ASP.NET AJAX Toolkit". 

 

System Requirements

The article assumes a familiarity with C#, as well as with using Visual Studio.NET 2005 to create ASP.NET applications. Elementary knowledge of ASP.NET AJAX extension library, Asynchronies Post back, ADO.NET and HTML would be beneficial but not absolutely necessary to fully understand the content of this article.

 

Advantage to use CollapsiblePanel

In the usual design way, if you want to show information between 2 objects. You would usually use Http Post as Figure 1 or Post back as Figure 2

 

Figure 1 HTTP Post between two pages

Figure 1 HTTP Post between two pages

 

Figure 2. Get detail by Post back

Figure 2. Get detail by Post back

 

Of course there is nothing wrong with these two designs, but what if we can make it better and faster?

Now let's see how CollapsiblePanel can make it better, with CollapsiblePanel, you don't have to worry about the table or controls are too long for the page. You can always collapse and expand to save space as Figure 3.

 

Figure 3. Easy to collapse and expand

Figure 3. Easy to collapse and expand

 

There is no page refresh when button click event fire up as Figure 4

 

Figure 4 no page refresh when Employee ID click

Figure 4 no page refresh when Employee ID click

 

Create CollapsiblePanel on ASP.NET page


**Please download the code and walkthrough it with each step


Step 1. Create ASP.NET project

 

Step 2. Ensure toolbox has AJAX Extensions tab.

 

Figure 5. AJAX Extensions in Toolbox

Figure 5. AJAX Extensions in Toolbox

If you dont see the AJAX Extensions in Toolbox, then you need to manually add new registry as below

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\.NETFramework\AssemblyFolders\ASP.NET AJAX 1.0.61025] @="c:\\Program Files\\Microsoft ASP.NET\\ASP.NET 2.0 AJAX Extensions\\v1.0.61025" by regedit

 

Step 3. Import AJAX Control Toolkit

Right click on Toolbox and select Add Tab as Figure 6.

 

Figure 6. Add new tab in Toolbox

Figure 6. Add new tab in Toolbox

 

Type "AJAX Control Toolkit" in the blank tab name as Figure 7.

 

Figure 7. Insert name to the blank new tab

Figure 7. Insert name to the blank new tab

 

Under .NET Framework Components tab, please click Browse to AjaxControlToolkit.dll from the directory you installed before as Figure 8.

 

Figure 8. Browse to AjaxControlToolkit.dll

Figure 8. Browse to AjaxControlToolkit.dll

 

Now you should see all the Ajax controls are display there, and then click OK as Figure 9.
 

Figure 9. AjaxControlToolkit controls

Figure 9. AjaxControlToolkit controls

 

You should have Ajax controls list in the toolbox ready to use.

 

Figure 10. AJAX Control Toolkit in Toolbox

Figure 10. AJAX Control Toolkit in Toolbox

 

Step 4. Drag and Drop ScriptManager to aspx page

To use most of ASP.NET AJAX Control, you need ScriptManager in the page as Figure 11.

  

Figure 11. Drag ScriptManager to asp.net page

Figure 11 Drag ScriptManager to asp,net page

 

Step 5. Create panel for Introduction title and panel for Introduction content

<asp:Panel ID="panelTitleIntroduction" runat="server" Height="25px" Width="405px">

<img id="imgBackgroundIntroduction" src="App_Themes/CollapsiblePanel/images/BackgroundIntroduction.png" />

</asp:Panel>

<asp:Panel ID="panelContentIntroduction" runat="server" Height="160px" Width="415px">

.....

<span style="font: 18px 'Lucida Grande', LucidaGrande, Verdana, sans-serif; color: #2d4c78;">The CollapsiblePanel is one of AJAX control in ASP.NET AJAX Control Toolkit. This tutorial combines CollapisblePanel and ASP.NET AJAX RC 1.0 to make amazing web application. It shows you how powerful in AJAX technology and what's advantage to use it. Hope you will like it</span>

.....

</asp:Panel>

 

Step 6. Create panel for Employee List title and panel for Employee List content

<asp:Panel ID="panelTitleEmployeeList" runat="server" Height="25px" Width="405px">

<img id="imgBackgroundEmployeeList" src="App_Themes/CollapsiblePanel/images/BackgroundEmployeeList.png" />

</asp:Panel>

<asp:Panel ID="panelContentEmployeeList" runat="server" Height="310px" Width="415px">

.....                   

<asp:DataGrid ID="dgNew" runat="server" CellPadding="4" ForeColor="#333333" GridLines="None" AutoGenerateColumns="False" oneditcommand="dgNew_EditCommand" Width=100% >

.....

</asp:DataGrid>

</asp:Panel>

 

Step 7. Create panel for Employee Detail title and panel for Employee Detail content

 

<asp:Panel ID="panelTitleEmployeeDetail" runat="server" Height="25px" Width="405px">

<img id="imgBackgroundEmployeeDetail" src="App_Themes/CollapsiblePanel/images/BackgroundEmployeeDetail.png" />

</asp:Panel>

<asp:Panel ID="panelContentEmployeeDetail" runat="server" Height="300px" Width="415px">

.....

<table id="tblInformation" align="center" border="1" bordercolor="graytext" cellpadding="2" cellspacing="0" height="160" style="width: 300px; height: 170px" width="710" runat=server>

.....

</table>

</asp:Panel>


Step 8.  Drag 3 CollapsiblePanelExtenders to the form page


Figure 12. 3 CollapsiblePanelExtenders in the page.

Figure 12. 3 CollapsiblePanelExtenders in the page.

 

Step 9. Apply each CollapiblePanelExtender control with panels

<cc1:CollapsiblePanelExtender ID="cpeIntroduction" runat="server" TargetControlID="panelContentIntroduction" ExpandControlID="panelTitleIntroduction" CollapseControlID="panelTitleIntroduction" Collapsed="false"

ImageControlID="imgBackgroundIntroduction" ExpandedImage="App_Themes/CollapsiblePanel/images/HightLightIntroduction.png"

CollapsedImage="App_Themes/CollapsiblePanel/images/BackgroundIntroduction.png" SuppressPostBack="True" ScrollContents=true ></cc1:CollapsiblePanelExtender>

<cc1:CollapsiblePanelExtender ID="cpeEmployeeList" runat="server" TargetControlID="panelContentEmployeeList"

ExpandControlID="panelTitleEmployeeList" CollapseControlID="panelTitleEmployeeList" Collapsed="true"

ImageControlID="imgBackgroundEmployeeList" ExpandedImage="App_Themes/CollapsiblePanel/images/HightLightEmployeeList.png"

CollapsedImage="App_Themes/CollapsiblePanel/images/BackgroundEmployeeList.png" SuppressPostBack="True" ></cc1:CollapsiblePanelExtender>

<cc1:CollapsiblePanelExtender ID="cpeEmployeeDetail" runat="server" TargetControlID="panelContentEmployeeDetail"

ExpandControlID="panelTitleEmployeeDetail" CollapseControlID="panelTitleEmployeeDetail" Collapsed="true"

ImageControlID="imgBackgroundEmployeeDetail" ExpandedImage="App_Themes/CollapsiblePanel/images/HightLightEmployeeDetail.png"

CollapsedImage="App_Themes/CollapsiblePanel/images/BackgroundEmployeeDetail.png" SuppressPostBack="True"></cc1:CollapsiblePanelExtender>

 

In the Design View you should see those Ajax control as Figure 13

 

Figure 13. ScriptManager and 3 CollapsiblePanelExtenders on Design View

Figure 13. ScriptManager and 3 CollapsiblePanelExtenders on Design View

 

Now you should able to collapse and expand on those title panels as Figure 14. The only thing still need to modify is to avoid page refresh when click Employee ID hyper link.

 

Figure 14. The panels can be collapse and expand

Figure 14. The panels can be collapse and expand

 

Step 10. Add UpdatePanel to avoid page refresh

 

Figure 15 UpdatePanel in the page


Figure 15 UpdatePanel in the page

 

Step 11. Add ContentTemplate tag within UpdatePanel

 

Figure 16. Add ContentTemplate

Figure 16. Add ContentTemplate

 

Step 12. Wrap all 3 CollapsiblePanelExtender controls, 3 title panels and 3 content panels inside of <asp: UpdatePanel><ContentTemplate>

<asp:UpdatePanel ID="upEmployeeDetail" runat="server">

<ContentTemplate>...

<cc1:CollapsiblePanelExtender ID="cpeIntroduction" runat="server" >...

</cc1:CollapsiblePanelExtender>

<cc1:CollapsiblePanelExtender ID="cpeEmployeeList" runat="server">...

</cc1:CollapsiblePanelExtender>

<cc1:CollapsiblePanelExtender ID="cpeEmployeeDetail" runat="server">...

</cc1:CollapsiblePanelExtender>

<asp:Panel ID="panelTitleIntroduction" runat="server" Height="25px" Width="405px">...

</asp:Panel>

<asp:Panel ID="panelContentIntroduction" runat="server" Height="160px" Width="415px">..

</asp:Panel>

<asp:Panel ID="panelTitleEmployeeList" runat="server" Height="25px" Width="405px">..

</asp:Panel>

<asp:Panel ID="panelContentEmployeeList" runat="server" Height="310px" Width="415px">..

</asp:Panel>

<asp:Panel ID="panelTitleEmployeeDetail" runat="server" Height="25px" Width="405px">..

</asp:Panel>

<asp:Panel ID="panelContentEmployeeDetail" runat="server" Height="300px" Width="415px">.

</asp:Panel>...

</ContentTemplate>

</asp:UpdatePanel>

 

Another cool property in CollapsiblePanel - ScrollContents

If you set ScrollContents to true, you can see the scroll bar in the content panel as Figure 17

<cc1:CollapsiblePanelExtender ID="cpeIntroduction" runat="server" TargetControlID="panelContentIntroduction"

ExpandControlID="panelTitleIntroduction" CollapseControlID="panelTitleIntroduction" Collapsed="false"

ImageControlID="imgBackgroundIntroduction" ExpandedImage="App_Themes/CollapsiblePanel/images/HightLightIntroduction.png"

CollapsedImage="App_Themes/CollapsiblePanel/images/BackgroundIntroduction.png" SuppressPostBack="True" ScrollContents=true ></cc1:CollapsiblePanelExtender> 

 

Figure 17 scroll bars in content panel

Figure 17 scroll bars in content panel

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