ASP.NET provides a new paradigm for
developing Web-based applications. This includes a set of
server-based controls that are analogous to HTML form elements such
as text boxes, buttons, and so forth. The problem with these
controls is the need to call the server. JavaScript provides an
alternative for many tasks that negates the need to go to the
server. Let’s take a closer look at combining the power of
JavaScript with ASP.NET.

Performance is a must

Making calls to the server requires bandwidth
and server processing time. This may not be a problem with an
intranet application, which has the advantage of a high-speed LAN,
but an Internet application is a different story. An Internet
user’s connection speed varies depending on whether the user has a
dial-up modem, DSL, or a cable modem. Utilizing client-side
JavaScript negates the need for a server round-trip.

The traditional approach

A standard Web form includes numerous standard
areas such as the head, body, and form. JavaScript functions are
traditionally placed in the head portion of the Web form. This
allows the functions to be loaded and be available to the rest of
the page. Once loaded, the functions may be called from HTML

Let’s take a look at a simple JavaScript

function valSubmit() {
var doc = document.forms[0];
var msg = “”;
if (doc.firstName.value == “”) {

msg += “- Please enter a first name.\n”;

if (doc.lastName.value == “”) {
msg += “- Please enter a last name.\n”;

if (msg == “”) {
} else {
alert(“The following errors were encountered.\n\n” + msg);
} }

This function verifies that values are entered
into two HTML fields on the form. If either field is empty, an
error message displays and execution stops. If both fields are
populated, the form is submitted. You may call this function from
an HTML button with the following code:

<input type=”button” value=”submit”
name=”btnSubmit” onClick=”valSubmit();”>

With this relationship, the form isn’t
submitted to the server until the fields are populated. The code
may be simple, but it doesn’t have any adverse effect on
performance since no extra server calls are necessary; and the
JavaScript code is short and sweet, which means the form doesn’t
require additional load time. This solution utilizes normal HTML
form elements, but using it with an ASP.NET Web form isn’t as

Combining JavaScript with ASP.NET

ASP.NET Web forms allow the use of standard
HTML, so you can easily use the previous example–but it negates
the power ASP.NET offers. ASP.NET User Controls allow you to call
server code easily to process the Web form. Fortunately, it’s
possible to combine the power of the User Controls and JavaScript.
I’ll demonstrate this with an ASP.NET Button control.

The Button control’s Attributes property
provides a way to tie JavaScript to the control. First, the
JavaScript function is placed on the ASP.NET Web form, but it’s
altered in a particular way: A return value is added. The function
returns true if the validation is successful; this signals that the
form may be submitted to the server. The submission to the server
signals that the server function associated with the button is
called. A return value of false signals the function failed, so the
form isn’t submitted.

<%@ Page language=”c#” %>
<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC “-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN”
<script language=”javascript”>
function valSubmit() {
var doc = document.forms[0];
var msg = “”;
if (doc.firstName.value == “”) {
msg += “- Please enter a first name.\n”;
if (doc.lastName.value == “”) {
msg += “- Please enter a last name.\n”;
if (msg == “”) {
return true;
} else {
alert(“The following errors were encountered.\n\n” + msg);
return false;
} }
<script language=”C#” runat=”server”>
private void btnSearch_Click(object sender, System.EventArgs
e)    {
private void Page_Load(object sender, System.EventArgs e) {
btnSubmit.Attributes.Add(“onClick”, “return valSubmit();”);
<form id=”frmBuilderTest” method=”post”
<label style=”Z-INDEX: 101; LEFT: 10px; POSITION: absolute;
TOP: 48px”>
First Name:</label>
<input style=”Z-INDEX: 102; LEFT: 88px; POSITION: absolute;
TOP: 48px”
type=”text” name=”firstName” id=”firstName”>
<label style=”Z-INDEX: 103; LEFT: 10px; POSITION: absolute;
TOP: 88px”>
Last Name:</label>
<input style=”Z-INDEX: 104; LEFT: 88px; POSITION: absolute;
TOP: 88px”
type=”text” name=”lastName” id=”lastName”><br /><br
<asp:Button id=”btnSubmit” style=”Z-INDEX: 105; LEFT: 64px;
POSITION: absolute;
TOP: 128px” runat=”server” Text=”Submit” Width=”136px”

This is the key line in the code:

btnSubmit.Attributes.Add(“onClick”, “return

The elements are placed on the HTML form using
CSS via their style attribute. The form ties the JavaScript
function to the ASP.NET Button (btnSubmit) and to its HTML onClick
event. The OnClick attribute of the ASP.NET Button tells the system
what function is called when the form is submitted to the

If you’re a VB.NET developer, the only change
to the previous code is the C# block of code. The VB.NET version

<script language=”vb” runat=”server”>
Private btnSearch_Click (sender As Object, e As
End Sub
Private Page_Load(sender As Object, e As System.EventArgs)
btnSubmit.Attributes.Add(“onClick”, “return valSubmit();”)
End Sub

A powerful combination

JavaScript is the de facto standard for
client-side Web development. Combining it with ASP.NET Web forms
provides the developer with a powerful set of tools for building
robust applications that consider performance a key ingredient.

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