Sharing my knowledge

MVC - Rendering view elements in a specified order

In my current project, I had to render elements in the view based on a setting provided by the model(basically it is a configurable thing). Few clients need view element to be rendered in a particular order and few others in a different way. What we did was, saved this elements order in a settings file which could be changed based on the clients. Then created an extension to render this based on the order.

This is what was I was trying to explain. for  Client 1 the “Login section” to be displayed first followed by “Password reminder section


For Client 2 , these sections needs be ordered differently


In order to achieve this, I came up with an HtmlHelper extension

/// <summary>
/// Renders the render items in the provided sequence order.
/// </summary>
/// <param name="htmlHelper">The HTML helper which is extended.</param>
/// <param name="sequenceOrder">The order in which items to be rendered. Sequence starts at an index of 0.</param>
/// <param name="renderItems">The items to be rendered in order.</param>
/// <remarks>
/// Values in the sequence order should match with the total number of render items. 
/// Invalid sequnce numbers are ignored.
/// </remarks>
public static void OrderBy(this HtmlHelper htmlHelper, int[] sequenceOrder, params Action<HtmlHelper>[] renderItems)
    if (sequenceOrder != null && renderItems != null)
        foreach (var sequnce in sequenceOrder)
            // CHeck whether the sequence is with inthe bounds
            if (sequnce < renderItems.Length && sequnce >= 0)
    else if (renderItems != null)
        // If the sequence order is not provided, render it in normal order in which items are declared.
        foreach (var renderItem in renderItems)
        // Do Nothing

In the view, you could do

<% Html.OrderBy(this.Model.LoginDisplayOrder, (html) => { %>
    <div class="container"></div>                
    <% Html.RenderPartial("LoginSection", this.Model); %>
<% }, (html) => { %>
    <div class="container"></div>
    <% Html.RenderPartial("ReminderPassword", this.Model); %>
<% }); %>

Here Model.LoginDisplayOrder is just an array of integers in which the items to be rendered. Hope this will help.

It’s better to automate, instead of checklists

In my day to day activities I have seen many checklists like

  1. Code review checklist
  2. Source control check-in checklist
  3. Developer checklist
All these are good because it helps to reduce failures but does everyone follow these all the time???. Sometimes I(or any developer) forgot to go through the checklist due to many reasons like time constraints, lack of concentration etc… and I don’t think we should blame anyone for missing this because - “We all are humans and we tends to forget”. Only way we could reduce these mistakes is to automate!!! wherever possible. In my current project, all the aspx page should have direction(dir) attribute in the html tag as part of the localization work. As usual an email checklist for localizing an aspx page was sent to all the developers, out of that one item was to include “dir” attribute whenever they add new aspx file. Everybody followed this in the initial stages but later everybody forgot about this requirement, which caused extra hours of effort to fix it in all the pages. It could have been avoided if we had a automated process which verifies this. In order to automate one way is to write a custom MSBuild task which could verify whether a aspx file has “dir” attribute, if it doesn’t fails build (this whole idea came from http://blogs.msdn.com/b/simonince/archive/2009/07/10/enforcing-unobtrusive-javascript.aspx). If you want to learn about writing a custom MSBuild task, I suggest  - http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/t9883dzc.aspx So below the code which creates this custom MS Build task


Asp.Net MVC - Fluent Html helper for FlexiGrid

There are so many free JQuery Grid plugins out there, in that I liked FlexiGrid just because of it’s look and style. In order to use it in your MVC application you may have to put the Javascript code into your view, which requires the property names of your model in order to generates the Grid columns as well the search options etc… as everybody knows when you deal with hard coded string as the property names in any code, it is error prone.

In order to avoid this problem I thought of creating a html extension which is tightly coupled with your data that is going to bound to the Grid. Which helps the developer from writing any javascript codes(I know those who hates(not me! :)) writing Javascript code like this extension).

This project has been uploaded to - http://code.google.com/p/mvc-fluent-jquery-plugin-controls/. You could find more details from there.

JQueryUI Datepicker in ASP.Net MVC

Datepicker is nice and cool plugin for displaying the calendar with ease. It is very easy to use JQuery plugin, it comes as part of JQueryUI library, so if you want to use this – first download JQueryUI from http://jqueryui.com/download and also download JQuery(http://docs.jquery.com/Downloading_jQuery) if you haven’t done yet. For e.g. if you have a form like one below

<% using(Html.BeginForm()){%>
    <legend>Event Information</legend>
        <label for="EventName">Event Name:</label>
        <%= Html.TextBox("EventName")%>
            <label for="StartDate">Start Date:</label>
            <%= Html.TextBox("StartDate")%>
            <label for="EndDate">End Date:</label>
            <%= Html.TextBox("EndDate")%>
                <input type="submit" value="Save" />
<% }%>

and you want to attach datepicker to “StartDate” and “EndDate” input fields,


Logging execution time using AOP

Download the source code for this tutorial from  - http://www.rajeeshcv.com/download/ProfilingSample.zip

What happens if your client complains that your application is running very slow!!! or in your load/stress testing you found that some functionalities are very slow in executing than expected. This is the time where you go for profiling the execution, to analyse the root cause of these issues.

So how we could develop a profiler, where we don’t have to wrap our normal code in a profiling code.

Before going to create the profiler, we have to decide where to put the profiled information. In this tutorial, I am making use of Log4Net as underlying layer to store this information. If you have not used Log4Net before, I suggest you to read http://www.beefycode.com/post/Log4Net-Tutorial-pt-1-Getting-Started.aspx as a starting point.

With the help of AOP (Aspect-Oriented Programming) we could do the profiling task without interrupting the actual code.

AOP is a programming paradigm in which secondary or supporting functions are isolated from the main program's business logic

Source : Wikipedia

So in order bring the AOP functionality into this application, I am going to use a third party library PostSharp  which I believe this is one of the best that is available in the market. Please download it from http://www.sharpcrafters.com/postsharp/download.

So, now we have got the basic things to start with and now let’s start coding….

Start a new solution in visual studio and add a new console application project to it. Then add the below references to the newly created project

  1. Add reference to the Log4Net.dll
  2. Add reference to PostSharp.Laos.dll and PostSharp.Public.dll (Please read http://www.sharpcrafters.com/postsharp/documentation/getting-started to get the basic installation procedure)

Next, create a new attribute class called “ProfileMethodAttribute” – this class is responsible for doing the profiling work. Make sure that you have decorated this class with “Serializable” attribute