Andrea Azzola

Tips and Techniques for Lifestyle Design

Handle Multiple Columns as One with Dynamic Data

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I need to schedule some tasks with ASP .NET and save a "Start date" and an "Interval", stored respectively as date (DateTime) and long (TimeSpan.Ticks) in my database.

Editing ticks values is not exactly what I define good UX, so I binded the proper MetaColumn, to the proper UIHint. After a few tests, I noticed how my GUI was - working, but not easy to understand as I was expecting.

I decided to deeply customize the FieldTemplateUserControl of Dynamic Data, to display and save multiple Columns I needed (Start Date, Start Time, Occours - Daily, Weekly, Monthly.., etc...). The solution is really simple, but there are few points you may need to bear in mind:

How to retrieve values (Schedule_EditField.ascx.cs)

protected override void OnDataBinding(EventArgs e)
    DateTime? startFrom = (DateTime?)Eval("StartFrom");
    long? timeIntervalTicks = (long?)Eval("TimeInterval");
    DateTime? lastExecution = (DateTime?)Eval("LastExecution");

How to store values

protected override void ExtractValues(IOrderedDictionary dictionary)
    dictionary["StartFrom"] = …; //logic here
    dictionary["TimeInterval"] = …;  //logic here