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Posted 5 Aug 2008

Efficient Server-Side View State Persistence

, 8 Aug 2008 Ms-PL
Increasing the performance of your ASP.NET website by reducing the download footprint of your pages.
using System;
using System.IO;
using System.Web.Caching;
using System.Web.UI;
using System.Web.UI.Adapters;

/// <summary>
/// Summary description for PageStateAdapter
/// </summary>
public class PageStateAdapter : PageAdapter

    public enum StateStorageTypes { Default, Cache, Session, InPage }

    /// <summary>
    /// Returns an object that is used by the Web page to maintain the control and view states.
    /// </summary>
    /// <returns>
    /// An object derived from <see cref="T:System.Web.UI.PageStatePersister"/> that supports creating and extracting the 
    /// combined control and view states for the <see cref="T:System.Web.UI.Page"/>.
    /// </returns>
    public override PageStatePersister GetStatePersister()
        PageViewStateStorageAttribute psa =
            Attribute.GetCustomAttribute(Page.GetType(), typeof(PageViewStateStorageAttribute), true) as PageViewStateStorageAttribute ??
            new PageViewStateStorageAttribute(StateStorageTypes.Default);

        PageStatePersister psp;
        switch (psa.StorageType)
            case StateStorageTypes.Session:
                psp = new SessionPageStatePersister(Page);
            case StateStorageTypes.InPage:
                psp = new HiddenFieldPageStatePersister(Page);
            //case StateStorageTypes.Cache:         // Redundant.. but left in for clarity
            //case StateStorageTypes.Default:
                psp = new CachePageStatePersister(Page);
        return psp;

    /// <summary>
    /// Attribute to be applied to a page object.  When applied, determins how the viewstate storage is treated for that individual page.
    /// </summary>
    [AttributeUsage(AttributeTargets.Class, AllowMultiple = false, Inherited = true)]
    public class PageViewStateStorageAttribute : Attribute
        private readonly StateStorageTypes storageType = StateStorageTypes.Default;

        /// <summary>
        /// Initializes a new instance of the <see cref="PageViewStateStorageAttribute"/> class.
        /// </summary>
        /// <param name="stateStorageType">Type of the state storage.</param>
        public PageViewStateStorageAttribute(StateStorageTypes stateStorageType)
            storageType = stateStorageType;

        internal StateStorageTypes StorageType
            get { return storageType; }


public class CachePageStatePersister : PageStatePersister

    private const string VSKEY = "__VSKEY";
    private const string VSPREFIX = "VIEWSTATE_";
    private const string CACHEFOLDER = "~/App_Data/Cache";

    public CachePageStatePersister(Page page) : base(page) {}

    /// <summary>
    /// Overridden by derived classes to deserialize and load persisted state information when 
    /// a <see cref="T:System.Web.UI.Page" /> object initializes its control hierarchy.
    /// <para>
    /// 1. Get the viewstate key from the hidden form field
    /// 2. Retrieved the serialized viewstate object from the physical cache
    /// 3. deserialize the vs into a pair object
    /// 4. populate our viewstate and control state objects in the page
    /// </para>
    /// </summary>
    public override void Load()
        if (!Page.IsPostBack) return;   // We don't want to load up anything if this is an inital request

        string vsKey = Page.Request.Form[VSKEY];

        // Sanity Checks
        if (string.IsNullOrEmpty(vsKey)) throw new ViewStateException();
        if (!vsKey.StartsWith(VSPREFIX)) throw new ViewStateException();

        IStateFormatter frmt = StateFormatter;
        string state = string.Empty;

        string fileName = Page.Cache[vsKey] as string;
        if (!string.IsNullOrEmpty(fileName))
            if (File.Exists(fileName))
                using (StreamReader sr = File.OpenText(fileName))
                    state = sr.ReadToEnd();

        if (string.IsNullOrEmpty(state)) return;

        Pair statePair = frmt.Deserialize(state) as Pair;

        if (statePair == null) return;

        ViewState = statePair.First;
        ControlState = statePair.Second;

    /// <summary>
    /// Overridden by derived classes to serialize persisted state information when 
    /// a <see cref="T:System.Web.UI.Page" /> object is unloaded from memory.
    /// <para>
    /// 1. Save our viewstate and controlstate to a new pair object
    /// 2. Serialize the pair object to a string
    /// 3. Save the string to persistant storage (cache folder)
    /// 4. save the pointer to the file in Page Cache
    /// 5. Save the cache pointer to a hidden field object on the page
    /// </para>
    /// </summary>
    public override void Save()
        if (ViewState != null || ControlState != null)
            if (Page.Session == null)
                throw new InvalidOperationException("Session is required for CachePageStatePersister (SessionID -> Key)");

            string vsKey;
            string cacheFile;

            if (!Page.IsPostBack) // create a unique cache file and key based on this user's session and page instance (time)
                string sessionId = Page.Session.SessionID;
                string pageUrl = Page.Request.Path;
                vsKey = string.Format("{0}{1}_{2}_{3}", VSPREFIX, pageUrl, sessionId, DateTime.Now.Ticks);

                string cachePath = Page.MapPath(CACHEFOLDER);
                if (!Directory.Exists(cachePath))
                cacheFile = Path.Combine(cachePath, BuildFileName());
            else    // get our vs key from the page, re use it, and the cache file (pulled from page.cache)
                vsKey = Page.Request.Form[VSKEY];
                if (string.IsNullOrEmpty(vsKey)) throw new ViewStateException();
                cacheFile = Page.Cache[vsKey] as string;
                if (string.IsNullOrEmpty(cacheFile)) throw new ViewStateException();

            IStateFormatter frmt = StateFormatter;
            string state = frmt.Serialize(new Pair(ViewState, ControlState));
            using (StreamWriter sw = File.CreateText(cacheFile))

            Page.Cache.Add(vsKey, cacheFile, null, DateTime.Now.AddMinutes(Page.Session.Timeout),
                           Cache.NoSlidingExpiration, CacheItemPriority.Low, ViewStateCacheRemoveCallback);
            Page.ClientScript.RegisterHiddenField(VSKEY, vsKey);

    /// <summary>
    /// Call back method for Page.Cache to remove the persisted storage of the cache object from the cache folder
    /// </summary>
    /// <param name="key"></param>
    /// <param name="value"></param>
    /// <param name="reason"></param>
    public static void ViewStateCacheRemoveCallback(string key, object value, CacheItemRemovedReason reason)
        string cacheFile = value as string;
        if (!string.IsNullOrEmpty(cacheFile))
            if (File.Exists(cacheFile))

    /// <summary>
    /// Builds a valid file name for our persistant cache storage based on sessionid and requested path
    /// </summary>
    /// <returns><see cref="T:System.String" /></returns>
    private string BuildFileName()
        string fileName = string.Format("{0}{1}__{2}__{3}", VSPREFIX, Page.Session.SessionID, Page.Request.Path, DateTime.Now.Ticks);
        char[] badChars = Path.GetInvalidPathChars();
        foreach (char c in badChars)
            fileName = fileName.Replace(c, '-');
        badChars = Path.GetInvalidFileNameChars();
        foreach (char c in badChars)
            fileName = fileName.Replace(c, '_');
        fileName = string.Concat(fileName, ".cache");
        return fileName;

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This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Microsoft Public License (Ms-PL)


About the Author

Team Leader ICAN
United States United States
Jason Monroe is a Project Manager / Architect with the ICAN grant for the Indiana Department of Education. He has been a professional software developer for 13 years, with the last 8 years focusing on Microsoft technologies.

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