Sunday, January 13, 2013

Navigating to New page in ASP.NET

In the currency converter example, everything took place in a single page. In a more typical website, the user will need to surf from one page to another to perform different tasks or complete a single  operation.

There are several ways to transfer a user from one page to another. One of the simplest is to use an ordinary <a> anchor element, which turns a portion of text into a hyperlink. In this example, the word here is a link to another page:

Click <a href="newpage.aspx">here</a> to go to newpage.aspx.

Another option is to send the user to a new page using code. This approach is useful if you want to use your code to perform some other work before you redirect the user. It’s also handy if you need to use code to decide where to send the user. For example, if you create a sequence of pages for placing an order, you might send existing customers straight to the checkout while new visitors are redirected to a registration page. To perform redirection in code, you first need a control that causes the page to be posted back. In other words, you need an event handler that reacts to the ServerClick event of a control such as HtmlInputButton or HtmlAnchor. When the page is posted back and your event handler runs, you can use the HttpResponse.Redirect() method to send the user to the new page. Remember, you can get access to the current HttpResponse object through the Page.Response property. Here’s an example that sends the user to a different page in the same website directory:


When you use the Redirect() method, ASP.NET immediately stops processing the page and sends a  redirect message back to the browser. Any code that occurs after the Redirect() call won’t be executed. When the browser receives the redirect message, it sends a request for the new page. You can use the Redirect() method to send the user to any type of page. You can even send the user to another website using an absolute URL (a URL that starts with http://), as shown here:


ASP.NET gives you one other option for sending the user to a new page. You can use the HttpServerUtility.Transfer() method instead of Response.Redirect(). An HttpServerUtility object is provided through the Page.Server property, so your redirection code would look like this:


The advantage of using the Transfer() method is the fact that it doesn’t involve the browser. Instead of sending a redirect message back to the browser, ASP.NET simply starts processing the new page as though the user had originally requested that page. This behavior saves a bit of time, but it also introduces some significant limitations. You can’t use Transfer() to send the user to another website or to a non-ASP.NET page (such as an HTML page). The Transfer() method only allows you to jump from one ASP.NET page to another, in the same web application. Furthermore, when you use Transfer() the user won’t have any idea that another page has taken over, because the browser will still show the original URL. This can cause a problem if you want to support browser bookmarks. On the whole, it’s much more common to use HttpResponse.Redirect() than HttpServerUtility.Transfer().

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