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ASP.NET Splitter Bar - Resize panels, table cells, and controls

, 10 Mar 2008
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VwdCms.SplitterBar is a server control that allows you to easily add resizing to your web page layout, now supports both vertical and horizontal resizing.

Screenshot - VwdCmsSplitterBar.gif

  • Try out the SplitterBar online: SplitterBar Online Demo
  • The VwdCms.SplitterBar now supports both vertical and horizontal orientations

Introduction

The VwdCms.SplitterBar control is designed to give you column resizing in a two-column page layout. Use the splitter bar to resize a panel, div, table cell, or just about any control.

This control is ideal for pages that have a tree or a list of data items that vary in width.

The screenshots at the top of this article are an example of the VwdCms.SplitterBar in use, with a TreeView control in the left column of a table and a TextArea control in the right column. See the demo project (Example 1) for information on the TextArea sizing, scrolling, and text wrapping issue in IE 6 and IE 7, and how to overcome it.

Using the Control

Suggestion: Download the demo project rather than only the code for the control, as the demo project has many examples of how to use the control and how not to use it. The demo project has lots of descriptions and explanations of how to do things, so I won't bother repeating all of that information in this article.

To add the VwdCms.SplitterBar control to your project, just follow these steps:

Step 1: Copy these files into your project directory:

  1. /App_Code/SplitterBar.cs
  2. /VwdCmsSplitterBar.js
  3. /vsplitter.gif

Step 2: Add the VwdCmsSplitterBar.js file to the HEAD section of your Web Form:

<head runat="server">
    <title>VwdCms SplitterBar Web Form</title>
    <script src="VwdCmsSplitterBar.js" type="text/javascript"></script> 
</head>

Step 3: Update your web.config file's Controls section (inside the system.web section):

    <pages>
        <controls>
            <add tagPrefix="VwdCms" namespace="VwdCms"/> 
        </controls>
    </pages>

Step 4: Add a VwdCms.SplitterBar control to your Web Form:

    <VwdCms:SplitterBar runat="server" ID="vsbSplitter1" 
        LeftResizeTargets="tdTree1;divTree1" 
        MinWidth="100" 
        MaxWidth="700"
        BackgroundColor="lightsteelblue" 
        BackgroundColorLimit="firebrick"
        BackgroundColorHilite="steelblue"
        BackgroundColorResizing="purple"
        SaveWidthToElement="txtWidth1"
        OnResizeFunction="splitterOnResize"
        style="background-image:url(vsplitter.gif);
            background-position:center center;
            background-repeat:no-repeat;"/>

An example of the OnResizeFunction:

<script language="javascript" type="text/javascript"><!--

    function splitterOnResize(width)
    {
        // do any other work that needs to happen when the 
        // splitter resizes. this is a good place to handle 
        // any complex resizing rules, etc.

        // make sure the width is in number format
        if (typeof width == "string")
        {
            width = new Number(width.replace("px",""));
        }

        // now do something...
    }
    
// -->
</script>

An example of the table that this VwdCms.SplitterBar is connected to:

    <div style="margin:0px;padding:0px;
    width:800px:overflow:hidden;">
    <table border="0" cellpadding="0" 
        cellspacing="0" 
        style="width:800px;height:200px;
        border:solid 1px #6699CC;">
        <tr style="height:200px;">
            <td id="tdTree1" 
            style="width:250px;height:200px;" 
            align="left" valign="top"> 
              <div id="divTree1" 
                style="width:100%;height:100%;overflow:auto;
                padding:0px;margin:0px;">
                <asp:TreeView ID="tvwFramework1" 
                runat="server" ShowLines="True"
                style="width:100%;height:100%;
                padding:0px;margin:0px;">
                <Nodes>
                <asp:TreeNode Text=".NET Framework" 
                Value=".NET Framework">
                <asp:TreeNode 
                Text="System.Diagnostics" 
                Value="System.Diagnostics">
                <asp:TreeNode 
                Text="Debug Class" 
                Value="Debug"></asp:TreeNode>
                <asp:TreeNode 
                Text="DebuggableAttribute.DebuggingModes 
                Enumeration" 
                Value="DebuggableAttribute.DebuggingModes 
                Enumeration"></asp:TreeNode>
                <asp:TreeNode 
                Text="EventLogPermissionEntryCollection 
                Class" 
                Value="EventLogPermissionEntryCollection 
                Class"></asp:TreeNode>
                </asp:TreeNode>
                </asp:TreeNode>
                </Nodes>
                </asp:TreeView>    
              </div>            
            </td>
            <td id="tdMid1" 
            style="height:200px;width:6px;
            background-color:lightsteelblue;"></td>
            <td id="tdEdit1" 
            align="left" valign="top" 
            style="height:200px;"> 
                    <textarea runat="server" 
                    id="txtEdit1" 
                    style="margin:0px;height:100%;width:100%;
                    padding:0px 0px 0px 5px;
                    border:none;"></textarea>
            </td>
        
        </tr>
    </table>
    <span style="font-family:Verdana:font-size:10pt;">
    Current Width: 
    </span>
    <input type="text" id="txtWidth1" 
    value="250px" 
    style="width:70px;font-family:Verdana:font-size:10pt;"/>
    </div>

More Usage Examples

You can download many other examples of how to use the SplitterBar by clicking the 'Download demo' link at the top of this article.

Points of Interest

The most challenging part about building this control was the JavaScript and DHTML, because I wanted it to work in both IE and Firefox. At first, it seemed like the task would be pretty straightforward, but as I started testing and building the demo project examples, I kept finding little bugs that needed to be addressed. It can become pretty time consuming to hunt down all of these little issues, and I did my best to try to deal with most of them. If you find bugs, feel free to fix them and reply to this article with your suggestions for improvements.

When you try to implement the SplitterBar, you may find that your page is not behaving as you expected. I would like to warn you in advance about this - most of the issues that I found after I completed the control could be addressed by adjusting the CSS styles on the table or controls that I was applying the SplitterBar onto. Many times, our initial reaction is to think that a problem with the column resizing means that there is something wrong with the SplitterBar, and that is certainly possible, but I found that not to be the case most of the time.

The DOCTYPE (markup format specification) that you choose will have a profound impact on how your content is rendered by the browser. If you are having trouble getting styles to work as you expect, you may want to try using a different DOCTYPE. If you are getting strange results or it seems like the browser is ignoring your style settings, it it is interesting and worth the time to try rendering the page with no DOCTYPE at all. Completely remove it from the document, as some browsers, like IE 7, will still pick up the DOCTYPE even if it is commented out.

The demo project Web Forms are using the following DOCTYPE:

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN"
    "http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/loose.dtd">

History

I have updated the VwdCms.SplitterBar based on some of the suggestions that you have made. Here is a list of the what has been added or changed:

  • Built in persistence of column width after a postback.
  • Better support for dealing with IFrames.
  • Clean-up of the JavaScript code in VwdCmsSplitterBar.js.
  • More code examples in the demo project including postbacks.
  • Ability to specify how the SplitterBar will handle IFrames.
  • An entire demo page dedicated to IFrames.
  • Double-clicking to minimize and maximize the column width.
  • Changed the OnResizeFunction event to OnResize.
  • Added the OnResizeStart event.
  • Added the OnResizeComplete event.
  • Added the OnDoubleClick event.
  • Added code examples for using the OnResizeStart, OnResize, and OnResizeComplete event handlers in the demo project.
  • Updated to support Master Pages and Container Controls (Naming Containers):
    • C# and JavaScript code work together to determine the ClientID of an element.
    • SplitterBar checks to see if it is in a NamingContainer so it can find the controls during the postback.
    • Added a new example (#7) to the demo project to demonstrate the use of the SplitterBar with Master Pages.
  • Added the link to the SplitterBar online demo.
  • Added a GridView Column Resizing example to the demo project.
  • Added a Horizontal Row Resizing functionality to the SplitterBar, and a new example to the demo project.
  • Added code to account for the window/document scrollLeft and scrollTop so the SplitterBar will continue to work properly when the page has been scrolled down or to the right.
  • Added Example 10 to the demo project - this is an example of using the Vertical and Horizontal Splitter Bars together to create a table with a resizable left column, and in the right column there are two rows which are resizable.
  • Added persistence during postbacks for the MinWidth, MaxWidth, MinHeight, and MaxHeight properties.
  • Updated Example 10 in the demo project to demonstrate setting the MinWidth, MaxWidth, MinHeight, and MaxHeight properties.
  • Added better support for server side resizing. Now, setting the SplitterBar.LeftColumnWidth or SplitterBar.TopRowHeight will automatically resize the target controls during a postback.

License

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

About the Author

Jeff Bazinet
Web Developer
United States United States
VWD-CMS is an ASP.NET content management system designed and developed by Jeff Bazinet.

While VWD-CMS has been developed entirely in Visual Web Developer, it will power any ASP.NET 2.0 website.

VWD-CMS is a file based content management system that has been built with developers in mind -

one of the primary design requirements is that the CMS does not constrain or limit a developer.

Try the online demo and learn more about VWD-CMS at www.vwd-cms.com

Comments and Discussions

 
GeneralProblem with "splitter bar" being offset out of table PinmemberHubman12-Sep-10 14:05 
GeneralRe: Problem with "splitter bar" being offset out of table PinmemberHubman12-Sep-10 15:41 
GeneralRe: Problem with "splitter bar" being offset out of table PinmemberCloudCasts22-Jan-12 11:11 

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