Chapter 15. Working with Data — Advanced Topics

WHAT YOU WILL LEARN IN THIS CHAPTER:

  • How to change the formatting of the various data-bound controls using styles, themes, and skins

  • How to handle the various events that are fired by the data controls to change their appearance conditionally

  • How to hand-code the UI of data access pages to get complete freedom over the page's structure and markup

  • How to use the built-in caching mechanisms to improve the performance of your web site

The previous three chapters introduced you to a lot of new concepts. Chapter 12 discussed databases in general and SQL Server 2008 Express edition in particular. That chapter also covered the basic operations to create, read, update, and delete data. Chapter 13 focused mostly on working with the SqlDataSource control and the different data-bound controls that you have at your disposal. Finally, the preceding chapter explored the world of the ADO.NET Entity Framework, Microsoft's latest data access strategy designed to speed up the way you write data access code.

To help you really understand the core concepts of data access, those three chapters focused mainly on the data source controls and the principles behind them, and much less on the presentation of data with the data-bound controls. Obviously, in a real-world application this is not enough and you need a way to present data in a clear and attractive way.

The data-bound controls that ship with ASP.NET 4 provide many options to change the way data is presented. ...

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