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Generic sorting of customer objects for ObjectDataSource (ASP.NET)

, 23 Oct 2008 GPL3
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Generic sorting of customer objects for ObjectDataSource in ASP.NET.


The class PropertyComparer provides the possibility for data-access-components to enable sorting for customer objects when using an ObjectDataSource.


ASP.NET 2.0 includes the controls GridView and ObjectDataSource. You can define which methods of your data-access-component is used by the ObjectDataSource. If the Select method returns a DataSet or a DataTable, you can use paging and sorting for the GridView out of the box.

If you want to work with collections of business-objects instead of DataSet/DataTable, you have to implement the sorting yourself. I wrote a generic comparer for use with all my business-objects.

Using the code

Use a GridView where you define the DataSourceId, and enable sorting:

<asp:GridView     ID="exampleGridView" runat="server" 
        AllowSorting="True" ... >

Define the ObjectDataSource:

<asp:ObjectDataSource     ID="exampleDataSource" runat="server" 
            SortParameterName="orderBy" ... >

Write your data-access-component implementing the Select method:

public sealed class ActivityDac
    private string myConnectionString;
    private DbProviderFactory myFactory;

    public ActivityDac()
        ConnectionStringSettings cs = 
           ConfigurationManager.ConnectionStrings[" ... "];
        myFactory = DbProviderFactories.GetFactory(cs.ProviderName);
        myConnectionString = cs.ConnectionString;

    [DataObjectMethod(DataObjectMethodType.Select, true)]
    public Activity[] Select(string orderBy)
        List<BusinessClass> list = new List<BusinessClass>();
        using (DbConnection con = myFactory.CreateConnection())
            con.ConnectionString = myConnectionString;
            using (DbCommand cmd = myFactory.CreateCommand())
                cmd.Connection = con;
                cmd.CommandText = " ... ";

                DbParameter p = myFactory.CreateParameter();

                DbDataReader reader = cmd.ExecuteReader(CommandBehavior.SingleResult);

                while (reader.Read())
                    BusinessClass o = new BusinessClass(reader.GetInt32(0));

        if (!String.IsNullOrEmpty(orderBy))
            PropertyComparer<BusinessClass> comparer = 
              new PropertyComparer<BusinessClass>(orderBy);

        return list.ToArray();

Here is the code for the PropertyComparer:

using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Reflection;
using System.Collections;

namespace Example
    public class PropertyComparer<T> : IComparer<T>
        private enum SortType
            Descending = -1,
            Ascending = 1

        private SortType mySortDirecton;
        private string mySortPropertyName;

        public PropertyComparer(string sortString)
            if (sortString == null)
                throw new ArgumentNullException("sortString");
            if (sortString.Length == 0)
                throw new ArgumentOutOfRangeException("sortString");

            if (sortString.ToLower().EndsWith(" desc"))
                mySortPropertyName = sortString.Substring(0, sortString.Length - 5);
                mySortDirecton = SortType.Descending;
                if (sortString.ToLower().EndsWith(" asc"))
                    mySortPropertyName = sortString.Substring(0, sortString.Length - 4);
                    this.mySortPropertyName = sortString;

                this.mySortDirecton = SortType.Ascending;

        #region IComparer<T> Members

        public int Compare(T x, T y)
            if ((x == null) && (y == null))
                return 0;
            if (x == null)
                return -(int)mySortDirecton;
            if (y == null)
                return (int)mySortDirecton;

            PropertyInfo p = x.GetType().GetProperty(mySortPropertyName);
            if (p == null)
                throw new ApplicationException();

            object vX = p.GetValue(x, null);
            object vY = p.GetValue(y, null);

            if ((vX == null) && (vY == null))
                return 0;
            if (vX == null)
                return -(int)mySortDirecton;
            if (vY == null)
                return (int)mySortDirecton;

            return (int)mySortDirecton * Comparer.DefaultInvariant.Compare(vX, vY);



  • Oct. 24, 2008: 9:23 - Corrected typo.


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The GNU General Public License (GPLv3)


About the Author

Andreas Kranister
Software Developer
Austria Austria
No Biography provided

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Comments and Discussions

GeneralSorting should be made on all objects - Pin
tobias42128-Oct-08 23:04
membertobias42128-Oct-08 23:04 
GeneralRe: Sorting should be made on all objects - Pin
Andreas Kranister29-Oct-08 0:08
memberAndreas Kranister29-Oct-08 0:08 

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