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Events in UserControls

In a previous chapter, we looked at defining properties for our UserControl, but events can be declared and used as well! This allows you to encapsulate even more functionality inside your controls, and then let your page respond to certain events, triggered by the control, if necessary.

For this chapter, we will create a new and very simple UserControl, to illustrate how to create events. It won't have a real life purpose, but is only meant to show you how to use events in a UserControl. If you don't know how to create and use a UserControl, then please go back a few chapters. This one will focus on the event part.

First, we create a new, simple EventUserControl, with this code in it:

<%@ Control Language="C#" AutoEventWireup="true" CodeFile="EventUserControl.ascx.cs" Inherits="EventUserControl" %>
Page title: 
<asp:TextBox runat="server" ID="txtPageTitle" />
<asp:Button runat="server" ID="btnUpdatePageTitle" OnClick="btnUpdatePageTitle_Click" Text="Update" />

All just text and server controls that we know. In the CodeBehind, it looks a bit like this:

public partial class EventUserControl : System.Web.UI.UserControl
    private string pageTitle;
    public event EventHandler PageTitleUpdated;

    protected void btnUpdatePageTitle_Click(object sender, EventArgs e)
        this.pageTitle = txtPageTitle.Text;
        if(PageTitleUpdated != null)
            PageTitleUpdated(this, EventArgs.Empty);

    public string PageTitle
        get { return pageTitle; }

We have defined a pageTitle container variable and a property for it. Then we have a new thing, an event. As you can see, it's defined much like any other kind of field, but it is a bit different. The theory about is explained in the C# tutorial, so we won't get into that here.

In the Click event of our button, we set the pageTitle field. Then we check if PageTitleUpdated, our event, is null. If it's not, it means that we have subscribed to this event somewhere, and in that case, we send a notification by calling the PageTitleUpdated as a method. As parameters, we send this (a reference to the UserControl it self) as the sender, and an empty EventArgs parameter. This will make sure that all subscribers are notified that the pageTitle has just been updated. Now, in our page, I've declared our UserControl like this:

<%@ Register TagPrefix="My" TagName="EventUserControl" Src="~/EventUserControl.ascx" %>

And inserted it like this:

<My:EventUserControl runat="server" ID="MyEventUserControl" OnPageTitleUpdated="MyEventUserControl_PageTitleUpdated" />

As you can see, we have defined an event handler for the PageTitleUpdated event like if it was any other server control. In the CodeBehind of our page, we define the simple event handler for the UserControl event like this:

protected void MyEventUserControl_PageTitleUpdated(object sender, EventArgs e)
    this.Title = MyEventUserControl.PageTitle;

It's that simple! Now obviously, updating the page title could have been done directly from our UserControl, so it's just to provide a simple example on how to use events, but as you will likely learn later on, this technic will come in handy in lots of situations.

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