Nick Nick - 1 month ago 8
ASP.NET (C#) Question

Dropdownlist control with <optgroup>s for asp.net (webforms)?

Can anyone recommend a dropdownlist control for asp.net (3.5) that can render option groups? Thanks

Answer

I've used the standard control in the past, and just added a simple ControlAdapter for it that would override the default behavior so it could render <optgroup>s in certain places. This works great even if you have controls that don't need the special behavior, because the additional feature doesn't get in the way.

Note that this was for a specific purpose and written in .Net 2.0, so it may not suit you as well, but it should at least give you a starting point. Also, you have to hook it up using a .browserfile in your project (see the end of the post for an example).

'This codes makes the dropdownlist control recognize items with "--"
'for the label or items with an OptionGroup attribute and render them
'as <optgroup> instead of <option>.
Public Class DropDownListAdapter
    Inherits System.Web.UI.WebControls.Adapters.WebControlAdapter

    Protected Overrides Sub RenderContents(ByVal writer As HtmlTextWriter)
        Dim list As DropDownList = Me.Control
        Dim currentOptionGroup As String
        Dim renderedOptionGroups As New Generic.List(Of String)

        For Each item As ListItem In list.Items
            Page.ClientScript.RegisterForEventValidation(list.UniqueID, item.Value)
            If item.Attributes("OptionGroup") IsNot Nothing Then
                'The item is part of an option group
                currentOptionGroup = item.Attributes("OptionGroup")
                If Not renderedOptionGroups.Contains(currentOptionGroup) Then
                    'the header was not written- do that first
                    'TODO: make this stack-based, so the same option group can be used more than once in longer select element (check the most-recent stack item instead of anything in the list)
                    If (renderedOptionGroups.Count > 0) Then
                        RenderOptionGroupEndTag(writer) 'need to close previous group
                    End If
                    RenderOptionGroupBeginTag(currentOptionGroup, writer)
                    renderedOptionGroups.Add(currentOptionGroup)
                End If
                RenderListItem(item, writer)
            ElseIf item.Text = "--" Then 'simple separator
                RenderOptionGroupBeginTag("--", writer)
                RenderOptionGroupEndTag(writer)
            Else
                'default behavior: render the list item as normal
                RenderListItem(item, writer)
            End If
        Next item

        If renderedOptionGroups.Count > 0 Then
            RenderOptionGroupEndTag(writer)
        End If
    End Sub

    Private Sub RenderOptionGroupBeginTag(ByVal name As String, ByVal writer As HtmlTextWriter)
        writer.WriteBeginTag("optgroup")
        writer.WriteAttribute("label", name)
        writer.Write(HtmlTextWriter.TagRightChar)
        writer.WriteLine()
    End Sub

    Private Sub RenderOptionGroupEndTag(ByVal writer As HtmlTextWriter)
        writer.WriteEndTag("optgroup")
        writer.WriteLine()
    End Sub

    Private Sub RenderListItem(ByVal item As ListItem, ByVal writer As HtmlTextWriter)
        writer.WriteBeginTag("option")
        writer.WriteAttribute("value", item.Value, True)
        If item.Selected Then
            writer.WriteAttribute("selected", "selected", False)
        End If

        For Each key As String In item.Attributes.Keys
            writer.WriteAttribute(key, item.Attributes(key))
        Next key

        writer.Write(HtmlTextWriter.TagRightChar)
        HttpUtility.HtmlEncode(item.Text, writer)
        writer.WriteEndTag("option")
        writer.WriteLine()
    End Sub
End Class

Here's a C# implementation of the same Class:

/* This codes makes the dropdownlist control recognize items with "--"
 * for the label or items with an OptionGroup attribute and render them
 * as <optgroup> instead of <option>.
 */
public class DropDownListAdapter : WebControlAdapter
{
    protected override void RenderContents(HtmlTextWriter writer)
    {
        //System.Web.HttpContext.Current.Response.Write("here");
        var list = (DropDownList)this.Control;
        string currentOptionGroup;
        var renderedOptionGroups = new List<string>();

        foreach (ListItem item in list.Items)
        {
            Page.ClientScript.RegisterForEventValidation(list.UniqueID, item.Value);
            //Is the item part of an option group?
            if (item.Attributes["OptionGroup"] != null)
            {
                currentOptionGroup = item.Attributes["OptionGroup"];
                //Was the option header already written, then just render the list item
                if (renderedOptionGroups.Contains(currentOptionGroup))
                    RenderListItem(item, writer);
                //The header was not written,do that first
                else
                {
                    //Close previous group
                    if (renderedOptionGroups.Count > 0)
                        RenderOptionGroupEndTag(writer);

                    RenderOptionGroupBeginTag(currentOptionGroup, writer);
                    renderedOptionGroups.Add(currentOptionGroup);
                    RenderListItem(item, writer);
                }
            }
            //Simple separator
            else if (item.Text == "--")
            {
                RenderOptionGroupBeginTag("--", writer);
                RenderOptionGroupEndTag(writer);
            }
            //Default behavior, render the list item as normal
            else
                RenderListItem(item, writer);
        }

        if (renderedOptionGroups.Count > 0)
            RenderOptionGroupEndTag(writer);
    }

    private void RenderOptionGroupBeginTag(string name, HtmlTextWriter writer)
    {
        writer.WriteBeginTag("optgroup");
        writer.WriteAttribute("label", name);
        writer.Write(HtmlTextWriter.TagRightChar);
        writer.WriteLine();
    }
    private void RenderOptionGroupEndTag(HtmlTextWriter writer)
    {
        writer.WriteEndTag("optgroup");
        writer.WriteLine();
    }
    private void RenderListItem(ListItem item, HtmlTextWriter writer)
    {
        writer.WriteBeginTag("option");
        writer.WriteAttribute("value", item.Value, true);
        if (item.Selected)
            writer.WriteAttribute("selected", "selected", false);

        foreach (string key in item.Attributes.Keys)
            writer.WriteAttribute(key, item.Attributes[key]);

        writer.Write(HtmlTextWriter.TagRightChar);
        HttpUtility.HtmlEncode(item.Text, writer);
        writer.WriteEndTag("option");
        writer.WriteLine();
    }
}

My browser file was named "App_Browsers\BrowserFile.browser" and looked like this:

<!--
    You can find existing browser definitions at
    <windir>\Microsoft.NET\Framework\<ver>\CONFIG\Browsers
-->
<browsers>
   <browser refID="Default">
      <controlAdapters>
        <adapter controlType="System.Web.UI.WebControls.DropDownList" 
               adapterType="DropDownListAdapter" />
      </controlAdapters>
   </browser>
</browsers>