ASP.NET controls: support for stronger, more flexible validation

29 July 2008

There's a product out there for ASP.NET that's been through a few iterations, but that has gained and maintained an impressive reputation for being the best in its field. I remember evaluating it way back when I first started writing ASP.NET applications. In fact it and its brethren were so successful that its writer, Peter Blum, gave up his day job to create and run a company to sell, improve and market them.

The product I'm referring to here was originally called Professional Validation and More (VAM) and is now part of his Data Entry Suite. VAM took the concept of validators introduced in ASP.NET 1.0 and went wild with them. The most interesting thing for me at this point in time is that these validators are not limited to just the controls Peter provides, but can extend to other ASP.NET controls as well, such as the ones we sell.

I contacted Peter towards the end of last week wondering if there was anything we could do to help him provide support for our ASP.NET controls with his validators. You know, a nice leisurely contact email. This morning I get an email saying that the support is already completed and will be released in version 4.0.4 of his Data Entry Suite (as part of the DES Validation framework -- the new name for VAM). Wow, that was quick.

In detail:

  • Support has been added for these controls: ASPxButtonEdit, ASPxCheckBox, ASPxComboBox, ASPxDateEdit, ASPxListBox, ASPxMemo, ASPxRadioButton, ASPxRadioButtonList, ASPxSpinEdit, ASPxTextBox, and ASPxHtmlEditor. Support not only has been added at run-time (well, duh!, that's the whole point Wink), but also at design-time. Cool.
  • Peter's Web Application Updater utility includes our DXperience ASP.NET in its list of supported third party controls. As the user adds DES to their web app, they merely check off "DevExpress 8" and the utility installs the necessary files to use DevExpress' controls with his validators.
  • Client-side and server-side validation is supported.
  • Full documentation is provided on how to use the validators with our controls.
  • You can continue to use ASPxButton to submit a page. Peter provides easy instructions to enable both client- and server-side validation using that control.

This validates (ho, ho, pun intended) something I've been ruminating on for a while. Much as we'd like to be the only provider of UI controls and frameworks in the world -- cue maniacal laughter à la Dr Evil -- in reality, we have to co-exist with all manner of other third-party products, from databases to controls to frameworks to, as in this case, validators. For those products that don't infringe directly on our specific area of the market, it makes sense for us to support them and to help our customers who are having problems with using both products in the same application. I'll have something more to say about this in the future.

Anyway, many thanks to Peter Blum for providing this valuable support (over the weekend too!) and, if you own his Data Entry Suite as well as DXperience, I'd recommend asking him for version 4.0.4 right away and get validating.

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