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  • Asp.Net MVC Conditional TextBox

    So I’m really enjoying working with the new Asp.Net MVC framework its refreshing to not be fighting the Asp.Net page life cycle for a change.

    One of the things that I don’t like about the MVC Framework is it love affair with strings.  Jeremy Miller puts it far more eloquently than I ever could so I definitely recommend you read that article on his approach with working with the MVC framework even if it is a few months old now.

    So like Jeremy I’m a big fan of passing strongly typed objects between my view and my controller.  The other day I was working on a page where I wanted to send an email.  Before the email had been sent I wanted to render out a series of TextBoxes to capture the email information. Once it had been  sent I then wanted to make the textbox read-only.  I thought it  would be good to write an HtmlHelper extension method with a fluent interface so that I could pass a condition (as a Lambda) into it so that I could make a declaration something like code below.

    This code example uses the MVC Futures assembly which you can utilize by referencing the Microsoft.Web.Mvc assembly in your solution.

     <%= Html.ConditionalTextBoxFor(model => model.FromEmail)
          .MakeReadOnlyIf(() => Model.Sent) %>

    So how did I implement this. First of all I had to write the HtmlHelper extension method which looks like this.

     public static IControlForOptions ConditionalTextBoxFor<TModel, TProperty>(this HtmlHelper<TModel> helper, Expression<Func<TModel, TProperty>> action)
               where TModel : class
       return new TextBoxForOptions<TModel, TProperty>(helper, action);


    This method returns an IControlForOptions interface which looks like this. Using an interface means we can provide different concrete implementations for different controls.

    public interface IControlForOptions{
    string MakeReadOnlyIf(Func<bool> predicate);}

    Our concrete implementation of  our IControlForOptions for our TextBox looks like this:

     public class TextBoxForOptions<VIEWMODEL, TProperty> : IControlForOptions where VIEWMODEL : class
    private readonly Expression<Func<VIEWMODEL, TProperty>> _expression;
    private readonly HtmlHelper<VIEWMODEL> _helper;
    /// <summary>
    /// Initializes a new instance of the <see cref="TextBoxForOptions&lt;VIEWMODEL, TProperty&gt;"/> class.
    /// </summary>
    /// <param name="helper">The helper.</param>
    /// <param name="expression">The action we will use </param>
     public TextBoxForOptions(HtmlHelper<VIEWMODEL> helper, Expression<Func<VIEWMODEL, TProperty>> expression)
         _helper = helper;
     _expression = expression;
    /// <summary>
    /// Based upon our predicate condition we will either render out a textbox or a readonly textbox
    /// </summary>
    /// <param name="predicate">The condition we wish to test.</param>
    /// <returns>Either a normal textbox or an readonly textbox</returns>
    public string MakeReadOnlyIf(Func<bool> predicate)
    var makeReadOnly = predicate();
    if (makeReadOnly)
    return _helper.TextBoxFor(_expression, new { ReadOnly = true });
    return _helper.TextBoxFor(_expression, null);

    In this example I have created a fluent interface that can conditionally out put a Textbox which is readonly. Using this approach you could easily extend this to any HTML control and modify any attribute you wanted to.

    kick it on

    5 Responses to “Asp.Net MVC Conditional TextBox”

    1. JessicaBoma says:

      I am very interested in this

    2. Arianafecy says:

      Your site displays incorrectly in Firefox, but content excellent! Thank you for your wise words:)

    3. Stuart C says:

      Hey thanks. Our blog is fairly new so they’re a few teething problems at the moment. We’re hoping to launch a new look site in a couple of weeks.

    4. Dom G says:

      Hi @Arianafecy,

      Thanks for visiting and for the kind works regarding the excellent content :) .

      Is there any chance you can confirm what is not rendering correctly in FF and which version of FF you are using for our testing purposes.

      I am looking at the site in FF 3.0.10 and all seems fine.

      A screenshot sent to nospam at planbsoftware dot co dot nz would also be great in trying to spotlight the issue :)

    5. Hello, it really interesting, thanks

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