ekkis ekkis - 3 months ago 24
C# Question

'object' does not contain a definition for 'X'

I had this problem once before and didn't resolve it. I have a list (generated in an MVC3 controller):

ViewBag.Languages = db.Languages
.Select(x => new { x.Name, x.EnglishName, x.Id })
.ToList();


and on my page (Razor) I try to iterate through it:

foreach (var o in ViewBag.Languages)
{
string img = "Lang/" + o.EnglishName + ".png";
@* work *@
}


but the reference to
o.EnglishName
fails with the error:


'object' does not contain a definition for 'EnglishName'


though the curious thing is that if I type into the Immediate Window (whilst debugging):


o
{ Name = བོད་སྐད་, EnglishName = Tibetan, Id = 31 }
EnglishName: "Tibetan"
Id: 31
Name: "བོད་སྐད་"



so obviously the field is there. What is my problem here?

Answer

You are using an anonymous object here:

ViewBag.Languages = db.Languages
    .Select(x => new { x.Name, x.EnglishName, x.Id })
    .ToList();

Anonymous objects are emitted as internal by the compiler. The Razor views are automatically compiled into a separate assembly by the ASP.NET runtime. This means that you cannot access any anonymous objects generated in your controllers.

So in order to fix your issue you could define a view model:

public class LanguageViewModel
{
    public int Id { get; set; }
    public string Name { get; set; }
    public string EnglishName { get; set; }
}

and then in your controller use this view model:

ViewBag.Languages = db.Languages
    .Select(x => new LanguageViewModel
    { 
        Name = x.Name, 
        EnglishName = x.EnglishName, 
        Id = x.Id 
     })
    .ToList();

And now that you have a view model the next improvement to your code is of course to get rid of this crap of ViewBag that I am sick of seeing and simply use view models and strong typing:

public ActionResult Foo()
{
    var model = db
        .Languages
        .Select(x => new LanguageViewModel
        { 
            Name = x.Name, 
            EnglishName = x.EnglishName, 
            Id = x.Id 
        })
        .ToList();
    return View(model);
}

and then of course have a strongly typed view:

@model IEnumerable<LanguageViewModel>
@Html.DisplayForModel()

and then define the corresponding display template which will automatically be rendered by the ASP.NET MVC engine for each element of the view model so that you don't even need to write a single foreach in your views (~/Views/Shared/DisplayTemplates/LanguageViewModel.cshtml):

@model LanguageViewModel
... generate the image or whatever you was attempting to do in the first place