CSS Friendly CheckboxList

There have been several times when a designer has come to me with a grumpy face and said “Hey Naveed!, this <asp:CheckBoxList runat=”server” ID=”myCheckBoxList”/> spits out <span> or <table> tags instead of <ul> and <li> tags for list items.  It doesn’t match my templated HTML/CSS and is not going to pass W3C validation, can you fix it please?”

This issue is actually fixed in .NET 4 (why it took Microsoft so long, don’t know), but if you are not using .NET 4 then here is a simple server side control which you can use to render items as unordered list

Step 1: Add a new class file from VS and name it as ULCheckBoxList

Step 2: Inherit the class from standard .NET CheckBoxList

Step 3: Overwrite the Render() method of the control

Complete code snippet is given below

[ToolboxData("<{0}:ULCheckBoxList runat=server></{0}:ULCheckBoxList>")]  public class ULCheckBoxList : CheckBoxList
 protected override void Render(HtmlTextWriter writer)
 // We start our un-ordered list tag.
 // If the CssClass property has been assigned, we will add // the attribute here in our <ul> tag.
 if (this.CssClass.Length > 0)
 writer.WriteAttribute("class", this.CssClass);
 // We need to close off the <ul> tag, but we are not ready // to add the closing </ul> tag yet.
 // Now we will render each child item, which in this case // would be our checkboxes.
 for (int i = 0; i < this.Items.Count; i++)
 // We start the <li> (list item) tag.
 this.RenderItem(ListItemType.Item, i, new RepeatInfo(), writer);
 // Close the list item tag. 
 // We finish off by closing our un-ordered list tag.

In your web.config or in your control’s .ascx add the reference to the control something like

<%@ Register Assembly="Web.Helper" TagPrefix="myControls" Namespace="Web.Helper.WebControls" %>

and use it as

<myControls:ULCheckBoxList runat="server"  CssClass="list" ID="myCheckBoxList" /> 

Set the DataSource for the control in code behind and bind the data something like

myCheckBoxList.DataSource = myItems; myCheckBoxList.DataBind(); 


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