One of the many strengths of ASP.NET is that it
provides a framework for common Web applications through structured
interfacing. Most business applications involve data input,
validation, and some form of output. Web applications are no
HTML forms are created for users to enter data;
however, data validation can occur through some combination of
client-side scripts or server-side validation. The drawback to this
is that putting that responsibility on an unknown client tool, the
browser, can produce less than exemplary results.
Therefore, data should be validated on the
server where you have full control of the outcome. This used to be
handled by parsing individual request elements and running them
through a validation mechanism. Without much direction, this
validation mechanism can run amuck. However, ASP.NET’s validation
mechanism gives even amateurs the ability to validate data through
a structured approach. This is done through validators. In this
article, I’ll describe ASP.NET’s validators and explain how you can
incorporate them in your pages.
There are five validators for user input:
CompareValidator, RangeValidator, and CustomValidator.
- RequiredFieldValidator checks to see if data
was entered or selected for the input control.
- RegularExpressionValidator uses a regular
expression to validate the value of the input control.
- CompareValidator checks the input control’s
value against a fixed value or another input control’s value.
- RangeValidator checks to ensure that the
value of an input control is between two fixed values.
- CustomValidator uses a custom routine to
validate the input.
It’s simple to use these validators in your
page. Simply add one or more validator for each corresponding form
element whose input you want to validate. You can also add output
text to each validator that will display when an invalid condition
has occurred. Once all the data has been validated against the
validators, any invalid conditions can be reported back through the
ValidationSummary control. This is a simple developer-defined list
of invalid conditions. Here’s the code that will accomplish all
ErrorMessage=”The value is
ErrorMessage=”The value must be 2
ErrorMessage=”The value does not match the
ErrorMessage=”The value is not between 10
<asp:CustomValidator runat=”server” id=”CustomValidator1″
ErrorMessage=”13 is a very unlucky number;
pick another one.”
Enter a 2-digit value between 10 and 20: <input type=”text”
Value will be compared to: <input type=”text” runat=”server”
<input type=”submit” id=”cmdSubmit” runat=”server”
And on your code-behind within your page class,
add these two methods:
private void cmdSubmit_ServerClick(object sender,
private void CustomValidator1_ServerValidate(object source,
args.IsValid = Convert.ToInt32(args.Value)
client-side validation before submission. However, the final test
for validity is done on the server. During the
cmdSubmit_ServerClick() event, the IsValid property of the Page
instance is checked. If all the validators pass their tests, then
the Page is marked as valid and the event is carried out. In this
case, “Success!” is simply written to the Response buffer and the
Response is ended.
For each validator, a red asterisk will be
placed beside the input if the value does not satisfy the
validation attempt. Each validator’s error message will be
displayed in the ValidationSummary area. The CustomValidator is a
bit different. If all the other validation attempts are successful,
then the CustomValidator1_ServerValidate() event occurs. The input
control’s value is then checked to see if it equals 13. If so, the
IsValid property is set to false. In order to test this event on
this example, you need to set the compare text’s value to 13;
otherwise, the CompareValidator will exit and the _ServerValidate()
event will not occur.
With a little crafty coding, a more complex
validation mechanism can be constructed using ASP.NET’s validators
as a foundation. For more information on these validators,
visit the MSDN Web site.
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