Dynamic Data Website Wizard

Included in this pre-release drop is a “Dynamic Data Website Wizard” template for easily creating Dynamic Data Web sites. Although this wizard is not yet feature-complete, it is reasonably functional in its current form, so we have included it with this drop in order gather your feedback. The final release timeframe for this wizard has not been determined.

Feature Overview

The Dynamic Data Wizard is a work-in-progress, but many of the currently implemented features are of immediate value for building Dynamic Data Web sites. As new features are implemented, you can expect to see them appear in future drops on this site. Please note that the Proposed Additional Features list below is only an estimation of the additional features that will be included in future drops, and is subject to change at any time.

Currently Implemented Features of the Dynamic Data Website Wizard
  • The wizard is launched automatically when you create a new Dynamic Data Web site.
  • It can connect to a SQL Server database and create a LINQ-to-SQL data model from a selection of objects in the database.
  • It automatically generates partial classes for the data model, which can be annotated with metadata attributes for validation and display hints.
  • It can create custom data pages (for example, to override the default scaffold page templates), containing List or Details forms that are implemented with the ListView and FormView controls.
  • It provides customization options for the List and Details forms, such as choosing specific columns/fields, and enabling edit, insert, and delete operations.
  • It automatically links List and Details forms according to the schema of the data model, and allows customization (or disabling) of these links.
  • 4/23 Update: It is supported for both C# and Visual Basic languages.
Proposed Additional Features (not yet implemented in this drop)
  • Ability to launch the wizard for an existing project.
  • Ability to launch the wizard multiple times, where the wizard remembers previous selections made for a given data model.
  • Ability to choose an existing data model instead of creating a new one.
  • Ability to enable scaffolding on the data model and optionally override and customize scaffolded pages.
  • Additional Edit and Insert data forms that can be added to custom pages
  • Additional ListView and FormView control template options (for example, to create layouts based not just on tables, but on <div> and <ul> elements).
  • Support for custom master pages and CSS styles.
  • Support for LINQ-to-Entities data models.
  • Support for Visual Web Developer Express Edition.
  • Support for Web Application Projects.
  • Support for Microsoft SQL Server Express Edition databases.

Known Issues

For a list of known issues in the current drop, please refer to the Dynamic Data Wizard Known Issues page on this site. This list of issues will be kept up-to-date with the known bugs and issues for the most recent release. For known issues in a specific release, refer to the included README document in the release zip package.

Release Changes

For a list of changes since the previous release, please refer to the Release Changes page on this site.

Video Screencast

To see the wizard in action, check out this Dynamic Data Website Wizard Screencast

Walkthrough: Using Dynamic Data Wizard

Follow these steps to get started using the Dynamic Data wizard.
  1. Launch Visual Studio 2008 and choose File > New Website.
  2. Select .NET Framework 3.5 in the target version drop-down list.
  3. Choose either the Visual C# or Visual Basic language, depending on your preference.
  4. Select the Dynamic Data Website Wizard template and then click OK.

NewWebSite.gif
  1. Click the New Connection button to create a connection to a Microsoft SQL Server database. Note that creating a connection to a SQL Server File (*.MDF) will not copy the file to the project and will create a hard-coded path in the Web.config connection strings section. You can fix this by copying the MDF and changing the connection string manually after finishing the wizard.
  2. Click Next.

ChooseConnection.gif
  1. Select database tables, views, stored procedures, or functions to include in the data model.
  2. Click Next. It will take a few moments while the data model is created and added to the project.

ChooseTables.gif
  1. Click the Add All link to add custom pages for the selected database tables or views. (Pages are not generated for stored procedures or functions.) By default, pages are created under the DynamicData\CustomPages folder of the Web site, and will override the equivalent scaffolded page when scaffolding is enabled.
  2. Click Next.

AddPages.gif
  1. Select List and Details nodes in the Website tree and choose any customization options in the Properties area.
  2. Click Finish.

CustomizePages.gif
  1. When prompted to overwrite App_Code, select the Apply to all items option and then click Yes.

AppCodePrompt.gif

Result: The wizard will add a data model, a partial-class file for the data model, and custom pages to the project that render lists and details forms using the ListView data control. The data model is registered in the Global.asax file and scaffolding is enabled for all tables in the data model.

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Last edited Jun 18, 2008 at 12:19 AM by ScottGal, version 2

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