Today I will discuss about the various validation control that ASP.NET Hosting provide and benefit of using it over client side validation. ASP.NET validation control provide two ways validation. i.e. both Server side and Client side. They perform client-side validation if after confirming that browser allows client side validation(i.e JavaScript is enabled), thereby reducing the overhead of round trip. If client side validation is disabled, it will perform the server side validation. All this from detection to validation is all taken care by the ASP.NET.

In total ASP.NET provide 5 + 1(ValidationSummary) validation control:

  1. RequiredFieldValidator 
  2. CompareValidator
  3. CustomValidator
  4. RangeValidator
  5. RegularExpressionValidator 
  6. ValidationSummary Control      

will discuss about all the control in detail, but before that i will elaborate the attributes that are common to all the controls. 

1. Display - This attribute is used to display the error message. It takes 3 options

  • None: This will ensure that no error message is displayed. Used when Validation summary is used.
  • Static: This will ensure that space on the  page is reserved even if validation pass. i.e. Real estate area on the page will be allocated.
  • Dynamic: This will ensure that space for error message is reserved only if validation fails.

In short static and dynamic do exactly the same thing. Difference between them is that in case of static Style for the <span> is

style="visibility: hidden; color: red;"

and in case of Dynamic Style for span is

style="display: none; color: red;"

2. ControlToValidate - This attribute is used to get the control on which validation is to applied
3. EnableClientScript - Boolean value to indicate whether client- side validation is enabled or not. Default value is true.
4. IsValid - Boolean value to indicate whether the control mention is ControlToValidate attribute is valid or not. Default value is true.
5. Enabled - Boolean valued to indicate if Validation control is enabled or not. Default value is true.
6. ErrorMessage - This is the text message that will be displayed in the validation summary.

RequiredFieldValidator Control
As the name suggest, this validation control make sure that control mention in ControlToValidate cannot be empty.
<asp:TextBox ID="txtSampleTextBox" runat="server">
<asp:RequiredFieldValidator ID="reqfldValidator" runat="server" ControlToValidate="txtSampleTextBox" 
Enabled="true" Display="Dynamic" ErrorMessage="Required" ToolTip="Required">

CompareValidator Control
This Control is used to compare the value or one control to the value of another control or to a fixed value. One catch here is that validation pass if both the fields are empty. To handle that one require to apply Required field validator along with CompareValidator.
<asp:TextBox ID="TextBox1" runat="server" />
<asp:TextBox ID="txtTextBox2" runat="server" />
<asp:CompareValidator ID="CompareValidator1" runat="server" ControlToValidate="txtTextBox1" ControlToCompare="txtTextBox2" Display="Dynamic" ValidationGroup="MyGroup" ToolTip="No Match">*</asp:CompareValidator>

ControlToCompare - This take the Id of control with which comparison is being done.
Comparison can be made on following data types: Currency, Date, Double, Integer and String

As the name suggest this control is used to make sure that data entered by the user fall within the specified range. Again as for Compare validator validation will pass if input control is empty. Use RequiredFieldValidator to fix this issue.
<asp:TextBox ID="TextBox1" runat="server" ValidationGroup="MyGroup" />
<asp:RangeValidator ID="RangeValidator1" runat="server" ControlToValidate="txtTextBox1" MaximumValue="800"
MinimumValue="5" ValidationGroup="MyGroup" Display="Dynamic" Type="String" ToolTip="Error">*</asp:RangeValidator>

A little explanation for this validator. It has a Type attribute that signifies the datatype for Range. In above example datatype is string with MinimumValue="5" and MaximumValue="100". The validation goes like it will accept all the value that satisfy the regex ^[5-8]+$. A little confusing but will get clear after 2 3 reading.

This is one of my favorite validator control. This control provide maximum level of flexibility to the developer and almost all the validator control function can be achieved using this validator control. RegularExpressionValidator control has attribute ValidationExpression that is used to specify the regular expression that is used to validate the input control.

<asp:TextBox ID="TextBox1" runat="server" ValidationGroup="MyGroup" />
<asp:RegularExpressionValidator ID="RegularExpressionValidator1" runat="server"  

ValidationGroup="MyGroup" Display="Dynamic" ValidationExpression="^[5-8]+$" ToolTip="Error">*</asp:RegularExpressionValidator>

CustomValidator Control: Custom validator control is used to capture the validation that cannot be handled by the validator controls provided by ASP.NET. Here user is at the freedom to define his own custom method, both Client side and Server side. 
<asp:TextBox ID="TextBox1" runat="server" ValidationGroup="MyGroup" />
<asp:CustomValidator runat="server" ClientValidationFunction="YouClientValidationFunction" ControlToValidate="txtTextBox1" ID="cstmValidatorControl" OnServerValidate="ServerSideMethod" ValidateEmptyText="true" ToolTip="Error">*</asp:CustomValidator>

ValidateEmptyText  is a boolean attribute that if set to true, the input control will be validated even if it is empty.
ClientValidationFunction contains name of client validation function.
OnServerValidate contains name of server validation function.

ValidationSummary Control
This control is used to display the list of all the validation error that has occurred on the page. The error message displayed is the one set for the ErrorMessage attribute of the validation control. No error message will be displayed if this attribute is not set.  
<asp:TextBox ID="TextBox1" runat="server" ValidationGroup="MyGroup" />
<asp:RegularExpressionValidator ID="RegularExpressionValidator1" runat="server" ControlToValidate="txtTextBox1" ValidationGroup="MyGroup" Display="Dynamic" ValidationExpression="^[5-8]+$" ErrorMessage="Error" ToolTip="Error">*</asp:RegularExpressionValidator>

<asp:Button runat="server" ID="Button1" ValidationGroup="MyGroup" Text="Submit" />
<asp:ValidationSummary runat="server" ID="ValidationSummary1" ShowMessageBox="true" ValidationGroup="MyGroup" ShowSummary="true" DisplayMode="BulletList" />

DisplayMode has three options List, BulletList and SingleParagraph
ShowMessageBox when set to true will display the error as a alert popup
ShowSummary will display the error on the page. By default it is true.