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A Hierarchical Repeater and Accessories to Match

, 1 Aug 2006 CPOL
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A hierarchical Repeater control.

Introduction

I was working on a solution where there was a need to render sitemap data purely using DIVs. Upon initial coding, I tried to use the standard TreeView controls such as the ASP.NET TreeView and other third party controls. But none of them would allow for the custom rendering logic this project required. Most treeview or tree controls implement their own rendering logic that will break your design rules. Some times there is no "can't we just use what is available?", and when all else was exhausted, I just coded my way through it!!!! Nesting the Repeater would make sense, but coding this would get ugly since it was unknown how deep each tree was. Traversing the data in the Render method was the final solution taken. (Now try to get your HTML guy to fix the styling on that Smile | :) ).

After the solution was done, I decided to build a HierarchicalRepeater control using ASP.NET 2.0's HierarchicalDataBoundControl base class and allowing for total customization of the HTML styling and layout of hierarchical data, rather than the approach of overriding the Render method of the control used.

So I had my objective, but where to get started?

Here is a listing of problems that I wanted to solve in building this control:

  • Heck write my first CodeProject article.
  • Allow for complete control of the rendering logic in templates.
  • Ability to define multiple templates at each depth within a hierarchical structure.
  • Allow for DataBinding expressions:
  • <%#Eval("SomeProperty")%>
  • Create a hierarchical data structure using Generics that will allow a developer to define any object as a hierarchical using the IHierarchicalEnumerable and IHierarchyData interfaces.

The Structure of the HierarchicalRepeater Control

I started by defining a template infrastructure that will allow for hierarchical data to be iterated:

<asp:SiteMapDataSource ID="SiteMapDataSource1" 
         runat="server" SiteMapProvider="MenuProvider" />
<cc1:HierarchicalRepeater runat="server" ID="repeater">
    <ItemHeaderTemplate><ul></ItemHeaderTemplate>
    <ItemTemplate><li><%#Eval("Title") %></li></ItemTemplate>
    <ItemFooterTemplate></ul></ItemFooterTemplate>
</cc1:HierarchicalRepeater>

Using this structure, I was able to create the following HTML:

Rendered output:
  • Home
    • Node1
      • Node1 1
      • Node1 2
      • Node1 3
    • Node2
      • Node2 1
      • Node2 2
      • Node2 3
    • Node3
      • Node3 1
      • Node3 2
      • Node3 3
      • Node3 4
        • Node3 4 1

The core function that allows this to happen is the CreateControlHierarchyRecursive method:

protected virtual void CreateControlHierarchyRecursive(IHierarchicalEnumerable dataItems)

Hierarchical data sources rely on being able to iterate its nodes recursively. The HierarchicalRepeater achieves this by calling CreateControlHierarchyRecursive if there is a detection that the current data item has child items. This means that a full traversal of the data source is achievable.

But then I got to thinking, "Great, I have a HierarchicalRepeater control, but what about custom rendering styles per node depth?" With a little help from article's by Danny Chen, I followed his solution for creating a CustomTemplate and then wrapped that into a collection for use within the Repeater control. The ItemTemplate control allows you to specify at which depth and which ListItemType you would like to override. This helps when each depth has its own rendering logic, or the filtering renders specific depths when it is necessary to omit rendering of deep child nodes past a certain depth.

Hierarchical Repeater Control Using TemplateCollection

The following code renders a different color for each depth in a SiteMap. If you notice I have only one item footer template that will be used for all corresponding item templates.

Page code:
<cc1:HierarchicalRepeater runat="server" 
                          ID="repeater" Width="231px">
    <TemplateCollection>
        <cc1:ItemTemplate Depth="0" ListItemType="ItemTemplate">
            <Template>
                <div style="padding-left:10px;border: 1px solid blue; background: blue;">
                <%#Eval("Item.Value") %>
            </Template>
        </cc1:ItemTemplate>
        <cc1:ItemTemplate Depth="1" ListItemType="ItemTemplate">
            <Template>
                <div style="padding-left:10px;border: 1px solid red; background: red;">
                <%#Eval("Item.Value") %>
            </Template>
        </cc1:ItemTemplate>
        <cc1:ItemTemplate Depth="2" ListItemType="ItemTemplate">
            <Template>
                <div style="padding-left:10px;border: 1px solid red; background: green;">
                <%#Eval("Item.Value") %>
            </Template>
        </cc1:ItemTemplate>
    </TemplateCollection>
    //Default ItemFooterTemplate used for all
    <ItemFooterTemplate>
        </div>
    </ItemFooterTemplate>
</cc1:HierarchicalRepeater>
Code-behind:
HierarchyData<ListItem> root = 
         new HierarchyData<ListItem>(new ListItem("Root", "Root"), null);
HierarchyData<ListItem> child1 = 
         new HierarchyData<ListItem>(new ListItem("Child1", "child1"),root);
HierarchyData<ListItem> child2 = 
         new HierarchyData<ListItem>(new ListItem("Child2", "child2"),root);
HierarchyData<ListItem> child2_1 = 
         new HierarchyData<ListItem>(new ListItem("Child2_1", "child2_1"),child2);
HierarchyDataCollection<HierarchyData<ListItem>> coll = 
         new HierarchyDataCollection<HierarchyData<ListItem>>();
coll.Add(root);
repeater.DataSource = coll;
repeater.DataBind();

Rendered output of the control:

What is that Generic HierarchyData<T> in your code you ask?

There are only a few HierarchicalDatabound controls or classes that implement IHierarchicalEnumerable. Two notable controls are XMLDataSource and SiteMapDatasource, and a handful of classes that are used in conjunction with both datasource controls. Of course, since I am trying to sell you my HierarchicaRepeater control, it is only natural that I provide you with a mechanism for using your own objects to create hierarchical data, instead of you writing all the plumbing code for IHierarchyData and IHierarchicalEnumerable. Only after using Generics heavily for collections and lists did I realize how amazing Generics are. My attempt with the HierarchyData<T> is all the plumbing you need to start creating your own hierarchical datasources. So with HierarchicalRepeater and HierarchyData<T>, you are now ready to create and render complex hierarchical data sources with full control over the rendering of your data.

References

License

This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)

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About the Author

Gary Vidal
Web Developer
United States United States
No Biography provided

Comments and Discussions

 
GeneralDatabinding HierarchyDataCollection to Treeview PinmemberLarry R3-Jul-07 7:48 
Generalrepaired recursion and viewstate Pinmemberjwessel25-Jun-07 15:00 
GeneralRe: repaired recursion and viewstate PinmemberGary Vidal25-Jun-07 16:14 
GeneralRe: repaired recursion and viewstate PinmemberAndreas Kranister26-Jun-07 7:11 
GeneralRe: repaired recursion and viewstate Pinmemberjwessel26-Jun-07 7:53 
GeneralRe: repaired recursion and viewstate PinmemberAndreas Kranister27-Jun-07 5:01 
GeneralRe: repaired recursion and viewstate PinmemberAndreas Kranister27-Jun-07 5:12 
GeneralRe: repaired recursion and viewstate Pinmemberacl12323-Oct-08 15:12 
QuestionViewState does not work? PinmemberAndreas Kranister19-Jun-07 2:20 
AnswerRe: ViewState does not work? PinmemberGary Vidal21-Jun-07 17:14 
GeneralRe: ViewState does not work? [modified] PinmemberAndreas Kranister21-Jun-07 21:22 
AnswerRe: ViewState does not work? PinmemberGary Vidal21-Jun-07 17:27 
NewsRe: ViewState does not work? PinmemberAndreas Kranister21-Jun-07 21:12 
AnswerRe: ViewState does not work? Pinmemberjwessel25-Jun-07 10:57 
GeneralRe: ViewState does not work? PinmemberMember 11601363-Jul-08 9:29 
GeneralQuestion: PinmemberEarlLocker6-May-07 7:32 
QuestionItemHeaderTemplate and ItemFooterTemplate Pinmemberrsenna17-Sep-06 13:30 
AnswerRe: ItemHeaderTemplate and ItemFooterTemplate [modified] PinmemberGary Vidal17-Sep-06 20:02 
GeneralRe: ItemHeaderTemplate and ItemFooterTemplate Pinmemberrsenna18-Sep-06 5:59 
GeneralRe: ItemHeaderTemplate and ItemFooterTemplate Pinmemberjwessel25-Jun-07 12:22 
GeneralRe: ItemHeaderTemplate and ItemFooterTemplate Pinmemberjwessel25-Jun-07 12:30 
GeneralThanks Pinmemberwduros12-Aug-06 11:12 
GeneralRe: Thanks PinmemberGary Vidal2-Aug-06 15:07 
GeneralDLinq and your control [modified] PinmemberOrizz26-Jul-06 6:17 
GeneralRe: DLinq and your control PinmemberGary Vidal26-Jul-06 13:24 

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