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Professional ASP.NET 3.5 SP1 Edition: In C# and VB by Devin Rader, Scott Hanselman, Bill Evjen

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Chapter 3. ASP.NET Web Server Controls

Of the two types of server controls, HTML server controls and Web server controls, the latter is considered the more powerful and flexible. The previous chapter looked at how to use HTML server controls in applications. HTML server controls enable you to manipulate HTML elements from your server-side code. On the other hand, Web server controls are powerful because they are not explicitly tied to specific HTML elements; rather, they are more closely aligned to the specific functionality that you want to generate. As you will see throughout this chapter, Web server controls can be very simple or rather complex depending on the control you are working with.

The purpose of the large collection of controls is to make you more productive. These controls give you advanced functionality that, in the past, you would have had to laboriously program or simply omit. In the classic ASP days, for example, few calendars were used on Internet Web sites. With the introduction of the Calendar server control in ASP.NET 1.0, calendar creation on a site became a trivial task. Building an image map on top of an image was another task that was difficult to achieve in ASP.NET 1.x, but this capability was introduced as a new server control in ASP.NET 2.0.

This chapter introduces some of the available Web server controls. The first part of the chapter focuses on the Web server controls that were around during the ASP.NET 1.0/1.1 days. Then the chapter explores the server ...

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