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Json Web Editor in ASP.NET

, 12 Feb 2009
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Easy json text web editor in ASP.NET

Introduction

Recently I found that the Json format is quite useful compared to very complex XML. I use the Json format to save some hierarchical data for which table-based database is hard to handle. I also needed some user interface to manipulate this nested structure Json text data. This could be useful if you deal with a very dynamic object like data structure which gives a lot of trouble to be saved directly to the table in database. This is beginner level in terms of ASP.NET skill.

Using the Code

JsonEditorTable class is extended Table class to dynamically create its table structure when parsing Json text. It creates a child table to display nested structure of the Json data.

    Public Class JsonEditorTable : Inherits Table

        Private _JObject As JObject
        Private _BindingCollection As New Hashtable()

        Public Property JsonContext() As String
            Get
                Me.JsonDataBind()
                Return Me._JObject.ToString()
            End Get
            Set(ByVal value As String)
                Me.Controls.Clear()
                Me.GenerateTable(value)
                Me.ViewState("JsonContext") = value
            End Set
        End Property

        Private Sub GenerateTable(ByVal jsonContext As String)

            Dim str As New System.IO.StringReader(jsonContext)
            Dim jobj As JObject = JObject.Parse(str.ReadToEnd())
            str.Close()

            ' save it to late binding
            Me._JObject = jobj

            str.Close()

            For Each p As JProperty In jobj.Properties
                RenderJProperty(Me, p)
            Next

        End Sub
#Region "Json Implementation"

        Private Sub RenderJProperty(ByVal tb As Table, ByVal jp As JProperty)

            If jp.Value.GetType() Is GetType(JValue) Then
                tb.Rows.Add(Me.CreateJsonRow(jp))
            Else
                'not supporting array now....
                If jp.Value.Type = JsonTokenType.Array Then
                    Exit Sub
                End If

                Dim ctb As Table = CreaeteJsonTable(jp.Name)

                Try
                    For Each p As JProperty In jp.Value.Children
                        RenderJProperty(ctb, p)
                    Next
                Catch ex As Exception
                    Throw New Exception(ex.Message & "::" & jp.Name)
                End Try

                Dim c As New TableCell
                c.ColumnSpan = 2
                c.Style.Add("padding-left", "30px")
                c.Controls.Add(ctb)

                Dim r As New TableRow
                r.Cells.Add(c)

                tb.Rows.Add(r)

            End If

        End Sub

        Private Function CreateJsonRow(ByVal jp As JProperty)
            Dim r As TableRow
            Dim c As TableCell

            r = New TableRow()

            ' put the property name

            c = New TableCell()
            c.Font.Bold = True
            c.Text = jp.Name

            r.Cells.Add(c)

            Dim box As WebControl
            box = JsonEditorBoxFactory.CreateJsonBox(jp.Value, jp.Value.Type)

            Me.Bind(jp, box)
            c = New TableCell()
            c.Font.Bold = True
            c.Controls.Add(box)
            r.Cells.Add(c)

            Return r
        End Function

Create a different type of TextBox using polymorphism such as NumberBox, StringBox, BooleanBox for editing.

    Public Class NumberBox : Inherits TextBox
        Implements IJsonEditorBox

        Sub New(ByVal value As JValue)
            Me.Value = value
        End Sub

        Property Value() As JValue Implements IJsonEditorBox.Value
            Get
                If Me.Text Is Nothing Then
                    Return Nothing
                End If

                Try
                    Return New JValue(Convert.ToInt32(Me.Text))
                Catch ex As Exception
                    Return Nothing
                End Try
            End Get
            Set(ByVal value As JValue)
                If value.Type = JsonTokenType.Null Then
                    Me.Text = Nothing
                Else
                    Me.Text = value.Value.ToString()
                End If
            End Set
        End Property

    End Class

    Public Class StringBox : Inherits TextBox
        Implements IJsonEditorBox

        Sub New(ByVal value As JValue)
            Me.Value = value
        End Sub

        Property Value() As JValue Implements IJsonEditorBox.Value
            Get
                If Me.Text = "" Then
                    Return Nothing
                Else
                    Return New JValue(Me.Text)
                End If
            End Get
            Set(ByVal value As JValue)
                Me.Text = value.Value
            End Set
        End Property

    End Class

    Public Class BooleanBox : Inherits DropDownList
        Implements IJsonEditorBox

        Sub New(ByVal value As JValue)
            Dim item As ListItem

            item = New ListItem("null", "null")
            Me.Items.Add(item)

            item = New ListItem("false", "false")
            Me.Items.Add(item)

            item = New ListItem("true", "true")
            Me.Items.Add(item)

            Me.SelectedValue = value.ToString()
        End Sub

        Property Value() As JValue Implements IJsonEditorBox.Value
            Get
                Return GetValue()
            End Get
            Set(ByVal value As JValue)
                Me.SelectedValue = value.ToString()
            End Set
        End Property

        Function GetValue() As JValue
            If Me.SelectedValue = "true" Then
                Return New JValue(True)
            ElseIf Me.SelectedValue = "false" Then
                Return New JValue(False)
            Else
                Return Nothing
            End If
        End Function

    End Class

Points of Interest

I actually use some schema files to create a more dynamic user interface of this Json text editor. Some property may be read only, or some property can display some useful tooltip and icon to help the user to make the correct change.

History

  • 12th February, 2009: Initial post

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

surine
Software Developer (Senior) NSW Goverment
Australia Australia
1997 Graduated In Eletronics Engineering Degree
1997 Firmware engineer in Eletronics company
2000 Software Enginner as middleware developer for multimedia devices for Windows CE & Embedded Linux
2006~ current ASP.NET Developer for windows media streaming & Senior software engieer for design work in tracking devices project

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