Type safer databinding in legacy asp.net forms projects

22. February 2013 10:56 by admin in .net, vs2010 vs2012
I love compilers. I love ReSharper. And that's why i hate statements like this:

<%# DataBinder.Eval(Container.DataItem,"FirstName") %>
If I was to change the name of the FirstName property or would try to find all references to this property this would not work! In asp.net 4.5 there is a ItemType property on databinding controls which you can use so the dataitem gets a proper type. See http://brijbhushan.net/2012/07/01/strongly-typed-data-controls-and-modal-binding-in-asp-net-4-5-part-1/ for an explanation about this. Unfortunately not all code is asp.net 4.5 and we can not use this feature everywhere. 

In pre asp.net 4.5 projects we can use a different construct. On the container of the databinding control we expose a type-safe version on the current dataitem like this:
public Person CurrentDataItem
get { return (Person) Page.GetDataItem(); }
Now in our binding control we can use:
 <%# CurrentDataItem.FirstName %>
No strings involved :) See the attached vs2008 sample project for an example.

TypeSafeBindingExample.zip (27,75 KB)
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