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Creating Master Detail Pages using GridView


Many months ago I wrote an article title that demonstrated the use of DataList and DataGrid controls to create master detail pages. ASP.NET 2.0 introduced GridView control supersedes the older DataGrid control and adds many enhancements.  In this article I am going to show how master detail pages can be developed using GridView control and SQL Data Source control.

Creating the web site

In order to begin developing our sample you need to create a new ASP.NET web site in Visual Studio. Also, ensure that you have access to Northwind database of SQL Server 2005.

Configuring SQL Data Source Control Supplying Master Records

Now drag and drop an SQL data source control on the default web form. Configure it to select CustomerID, CompanyName, ContactName and Country columns from the Customers table of Northwind database.

Creating Parent GridView

Next, drag and drop a GridView control on the web form. Set its DataSourceID property to SqlDataSource1 (the one that we just configures) and DataKeyNames property to CustomerID. Add two TemplateField columns to the GridView.

Design the second template field as shown below:

The second template field consists of a Button control. Set Text property of the Button control to Show and CommandText property to Show. We will use the CommandText property later in our code.

Now design the first TemplateField as shown below:

The ItemTemplate region consists of two Label controls, one GridView control and one SQL data source control. Open the data bindings editor of the first Label control and bind its Text property with CustomerID column.

Similarly bind the Text property of other label to CompanyName column. 

Configuring SQL Data Source Control Supplying Detail Records

Now comes the important part viz. configure the SQL data source control that supplies detail records. Remember that this SDS must be placed inside the ItemTemplate and not on the web form. This way each row can fetch required detail records. Configure this SDS as shown below:

Notice the SELECT query carefully. We fetch all orders from Orders table for a specific CustomerID. It contains a parameter @CustoemrID that we will be supplying via code. Set the parameter source for this parameter to None in the final dialog of the SDS configuration wizard.

This completes configuration of the second SDS.

Creating Child GridView

Now select the GridView control that we placed inside the template field and set its DataSourceID property to SqlDataSource2 i.e. the SDS inside the template field. Add three BoundFields to the GridView as shown in the following figure:

Set their HeaderText property to Customer ID, Company Name and Contact Name respectively. Similarly, set their DataField property to CustomerID, CompanyName and ContactName respectively.

This completes the design part of our sample. Let's add some code that makes our sample live.

Handling RowDataBound Event

Recollect that we have added a template field to the parent GridView that contains a Button control. Later in our code we need to somehow identify that Button from which row was clicked by the user. We achieve this by setting CommandArgument property of the Button from each row to the row number. To set this property we need to handle RowDataBound event of the GridView. The RowDataBound event is raised when each and every row of the GridView including header and footer is data bound. The following piece of code shows the RowDataBound event handler of the GridView.

private int index = 0;

protected void GridView1_RowDataBound(object sender, 
GridViewRowEventArgs e)
if (e.Row.RowType == DataControlRowType.DataRow)
Button b = (Button)e.Row.Cells[1].FindControl("Button1");
b.CommandArgument = index.ToString();

The code declares a class level variable called index that keeps counter of row number. The RowDataBound event handler first checks the RowType of the row being data bound. This way we execute our code only for rows and not for header and footer. We get hold of the button from each row using FindControl method of second row cell (indexing starts from zero). We then set CommandArgument property of the button to the row index.

Handling RowCommand Event

Now comes the final task. When users click on the Show button we should show detail records belonging to the current master row. This is accomplished by handling RowCommand event of the GridView as shown below:

protected void GridView1_RowCommand(object sender, 
GridViewCommandEventArgs e)
if (e.CommandName == "Show")
Button b = (Button)GridView1.Rows[int.Parse
if (b.Text == "Show")
string custid = GridView1.DataKeys[int.Parse
SqlDataSource sds = (SqlDataSource)GridView1.
GridView gv = (GridView)GridView1.Rows[int.Parse
sds.SelectParameters[0].DefaultValue = custid;
gv.Visible = true;
b.Text = "Hide";
GridView gv = (GridView)GridView1.Rows[int.Parse
gv.Visible = false;
b.Text = "Show";

The code checks the CommandName property of GridViewCommandEventArgs object supplied to the event handler. This property will be Show when user clicks on the Show button. The code then retrieves reference to the button that was clicked. If the Text property of the button reads Show we retrieve CustomerID for that row from DataKeys collection. The @CustomerID parameter of SQL data source control is then supplied. Then the Visible property of details GridView is set to true. Finally, Text property of the Button is changed to Hide.

The code in the "else" block simply hides the detail GridView and sets the Text property of Button to Show.

That's it! We just completed developing a master detail page. Run the web form and you should see something similar to the following figure:

Notice that you can hide or show the detail grid for individual master rows. This is handy and often desired if your master grid contains many records.



Bipin Joshi is a software consultant, an author and a yoga mentor having 22+ years of experience in software development. He also conducts online courses in ASP.NET MVC / Core and Design Patterns. He is a published author and has authored or co-authored books for Apress and Wrox press. Having embraced the Yoga way of life he also teaches Meditation and Mindfulness to interested individuals. To know more about him click here.

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Posted On : 10 June 2007

Tags : ASP.NET Web Forms Server Controls Data Controls