ASP .NET 4 Core Services
ASP.NET 4 introduces many features that improve core ASP.NET services such as output caching and session state storage.
Extensible Output Caching
Since ASP.NET 1.0 was released, output caching has enabled developers to store the generated output of pages, controls, and HTTP responses in memory. On subsequent Web requests, ASP.NET can serve content more quickly by retrieving the generated output from memory instead of regenerating the output from scratch. However, this approach has a limitation — generated content always has to be stored in memory. On servers that experience heavy traffic, the memory requirements for output caching can compete with memory requirements for other parts of a Web application.
ASP.NET 4 adds extensibility to output caching that enables you to configure one or more custom output-cache providers. Output-cache providers can use any storage mechanism to persist HTML content. These storage options can include local or remote disks, cloud storage, and distributed cache engines.
Output-cache provider extensibility in ASP.NET 4 lets you design more aggressive and more intelligent output-caching strategies for Web sites. For example, you can create an output-cache provider that caches the "Top 10" pages of a site in memory, while caching pages that get lower traffic on disk. Alternatively, you can cache every vary-by combination for a rendered page, but use a distributed cache so that the memory consumption is offloaded from front-end Web servers.
Prealoading Web Applications
Some Web applications must load large amounts of data or must perform expensive initialization processing before serving the first request. In earlier versions of ASP.NET, for these situations you had to devise custom approaches to "wake up" an ASP.NET application and then run initialization code during the Application_Load method in the Global.asax file.
To address this scenario, a new application preload manager (autostart feature) is available when ASP.NET 4 runs on IIS 7.5 on Windows Server 2008 R2. The preload feature provides a controlled approach for starting up an application pool, initializing an ASP.NET application, and then accepting HTTP requests. It lets you perform expensive application initialization prior to processing the first HTTP request. For example, you can use the application preload manager to initialize an application and then signal a load-balancer that the application was initialized and ready to accept HTTP traffic.
Permanently Redirecting a Page
Content in Web applications is often moved over the lifetime of the application. This can lead to links to be out of date, such as the links that are returned by search engines.
In ASP.NET, developers have traditionally handled requests to old URLs by using the Redirect method to forward a request to the new URL. However, the Redirect method issues an HTTP 302 (Found) response (which is used for a temporary redirect). This results in an extra HTTP round trip.
Session State Compression
By default, ASP.NET provides two options for storing session state across a Web farm. The first option is a session state provider that invokes an out-of-process session state server. The second option is a session state provider that stores data in a Microsoft SQL Server database.
Because both options store state information outside a Web application's worker process, session state has to be serialized before it is sent to remote storage. If a large amount of data is saved in session state, the size of the serialized data can become very large.
ASP.NET 4 introduces a new compression option for both kinds of out-of-process session state providers. By using this option, applications that have spare CPU cycles on Web servers can achieve substantial reductions in the size of serialized session state data.
You can set this option using the new compressionEnabled attribute of the sessionState element in the configuration file. When the compressionEnabled configuration option is set to true, ASP.NET compresses (and decompresses) serialized session state by using the .NET Framework GZipStream class.
ASP .NET 4 Web Forms
Web Forms has been a core feature in ASP.NET since the release of ASP.NET 1.0. Many enhancements have been in this area for ASP.NET 4, such as the following:
- The ability to set meta tags.
- More control over view state.
- Support for recently introduced browsers and devices.
- Easier ways to work with browser capabilities.
- Support for using ASP.NET routing with Web Forms.
- More control over generated IDs.
- The ability to persist selected rows in data controls.
- More control over rendered HTML in the FormView and ListView controls.
- Filtering support for data source controls.
- Enhanced support for Web standards and accessibility
Setting Meta Tags with the Page.MetaKeywords and Page.MetaDescription Propperties
Two properties have been added to the Page class: MetaKeywords and MetaDescription. These two properties work like the Title property does, and they can be set in the @ Page directive.
Enabling View State for Individual Controls
A new property has been added to the Control class: ViewStateMode. You can use this property to disable view state for all controls on a page except those for which you explicitly enable view state.
View state data is included in a page's HTML and increases the amount of time it takes to send a page to the client and post it back. Storing more view state than is necessary can cause significant decrease in performance. In earlier versions of ASP.NET, you could reduce the impact of view state on a page's performance by disabling view state for specific controls. But sometimes it is easier to enable view state for a few controls that need it instead of disabling it for many that do not need it.
Support for Recently Introduced Browsers and Devices
ASP.NET includes a feature that is named browser capabilities that lets you determine the capabilities of the browser that a user is using. Browser capabilities are represented by the HttpBrowserCapabilities object which is stored in the HttpRequest..::.Browser property. Information about a particular browser's capabilities is defined by a browser definition file. In ASP.NET 4, these browser definition files have been updated to contain information about recently introduced browsers and devices such as Google Chrome, Research in Motion BlackBerry smart phones, and Apple iPhone. Existing browser definition files have also been updated.
The browser definition files that are included with ASP.NET 4 are shown in the following list:
A New Way to Define Browser Capabilitie
ASP.NET 4 includes a new feature referred to as browser capabilities providers. As the name suggests, this lets you build a provider that in turn lets you write custom code to determine browser capabilities.
In ASP.NET version 3.5 Service Pack 1, you define browser capabilities in an XML file. This file resides in a machine-level folder or an application-level folder. Most developers do not need to customize these files, but for those who do, the provider approach can be easier than dealing with complex XML syntax. The provider approach makes it possible to simplify the process by implementing a common browser definition syntax, or a database that contains up-to-date browser definitions, or even a Web service for such a database.
Routing in ASP .NET 4
ASP.NET 4 adds built-in support for routing with Web Forms. Routing is a feature that was introduced with ASP.NET 3.5 SP1 and lets you configure an application to use URLs that are meaningful to users and to search engines because they do not have to specify physical file names. This can make your site more user-friendly and your site content more discoverable by search engines.
Setting Client IDs
The new ClientIDMode property makes it easier to write client script that references HTML elements rendered for server controls. Increasing use of Microsoft Ajax makes the need to do this more common. For example, you may have a data control that renders a long list of products with prices and you want to use client script to make a Web service call and update individual prices in the list as they change without refreshing the entire page.
Typically you get a reference to an HTML element in client script by using the document.GetElementById method. You pass to this method the value of the id attribute of the HTML element you want to reference. In the case of elements that are rendered for ASP.NET server controls earlier versions of ASP.NET could make this difficult or impossible. You were not always able to predict what id values ASP.NET would generate, or ASP.NET could generate very long id values. The problem was especially difficult for data controls that would generate multiple rows for a single instance of the control in your markup.
Persisting Row Selection in Data Controls
The GridView and ListView controls enable users to select a row. In previous versions of ASP.NET, row selection was based on the row index on the page. For example, if you select the third item on page 1 and then move to page 2, the third item on page 2 is selected. In most cases, is more desirable not to select any rows on page 2. ASP.NET 4 supports Persisted Selection, a new feature that was initially supported only in Dynamic Data projects in the .NET Framework 3.5 SP1. When this feature is enabled, the selected item is based on the row data key. This means that if you select the third row on page 1 and move to page 2, nothing is selected on page 2. When you move back to page 1, the third row is still selected. This is a much more natural behavior than the behavior in earlier versions of ASP.NET. Persisted selection is now supported for the GridView and ListView controls in all projects.
FormView Control Enhancements
The ListView control, which was introduced in ASP.NET 3.5, has all the functionality of the GridView control while giving you complete control over the output. This control has been made easier to use in ASP.NET 4. The earlier version of the control required that you specify a layout template that contained a server control with a known ID.
Filtering Data with the QueryExtender Control
A very common task for developers who create data-driven Web pages is to filter data. This traditionally has been performed by building Where clauses in data source controls. This approach can be complicated, and in some cases the Where syntax does not let you take advantage of the full functionality of the underlying database.
To make filtering easier, a new QueryExtender control has been added in ASP.NET 4. This control can be added to EntityDataSource or LinqDataSource controls in order to filter the data returned by these controls. Because the QueryExtender control relies on LINQ, but you do not to need to know how to write LINQ queries to use the query extender.
Enhanced Support for Web Standards and Accessibility
Earlier versions of ASP.NET controls sometimes render markup that does not conform to HTML, XHTML, or accessibility standards. ASP.NET 4 eliminates most of these exceptions.
CSS for Controls that Can be Disabled
In ASP.NET 3.5, when a control is disabled (see WebControl..::.Enabled), a disabled attribute is added to the rendered HTML element.
CSS for Validation Controls
In ASP.NET 3.5, validation controls render a default color of red as an inline style. Therefore, ASP.NET 4 does not automatically show error messages in red.
CSS for Hidden Fields Div Element
ASP.NET uses hidden fields to store state information such as view state and control state. These hidden fields are contained by a div element. In ASP.NET 3.5, this div element does not have a class attribute or an id attribute. Therefore, CSS rules that affect all div elements could unintentionally cause this div to be visible. To avoid this problem, ASP.NET 4 renders the div element for hidden fields with a CSS class that you can use to differentiate the hidden fields div from others.
CSS for Table, Image, and ImageButton Controls
By default, in ASP.NET 3.5, some controls set the border attribute of rendered HTML to zero (0).
CSS for UpdatePanel and UpdateProgress Controls
In ASP.NET 3.5, the UpdatePanel and UpdateProgress controls do not support expando attributes. This makes it impossible to set a CSS class on the HTML elements that they render.
Eliminating Unnecessary Outer Tables
In ASP.NET 3.5, the HTML that is rendered for the following controls is wrapped in a table element whose purpose is to apply inline styles to the entire control:
- Password Recovery
If you use templates to customize the appearance of these controls, you can specify CSS styles in the markup that you provide in the templates. In that case, no extra outer table is required. In ASP.NET 4, you can prevent the table from being rendered by setting the new RenderOuterTable property to false.
TO BE CONTINUED
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