Various technologies have offered programmers the opportunity to bind controls to data so that as the data was modified, the controls responded automatically. Generally speaking, they made for great demos, but were of limited use to real programmers writing commercial applications. They tended to constrain the developer with severe limitations in how the control looked and performed. It came down to this: “If you want to do what we expect, it is wicked easy, but if you want to do anything else, may the Gods be kind.”
The ASP.NET designers set out to provide a suite of robust data-bound controls, which simplify display and modification of data, sacrificing neither performance nor control over the UI. In Version 2.0, they have expanded the list of bindable controls and provided even more out-of-the-box functionality.
In the previous section, you hard-coded radio buttons onto a form, one for each of three shippers in the Northwind database. That can’t be the best way to do it; if you change the shippers in the database, you have to go back and rewire the controls. This section shows you how to create these controls dynamically, binding them to data from the database.
Create a new web site called DisplayShippers and drag a RadioButtonList onto the form. Click on the smart tag, and then click on Choose Data Source .... The Choose Data Source dialog opens, as shown in Figure 19-8.
Figure 19-8. Data Source Configuration Wizard
Drop down the Select a data source menu ...