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Tips When Binding to Custom Collections

This topic describes some of the considerations you should keep in mind when designing business object collections to be displayed in RadGrid. Be aware that RadGrid can display those collections as long as they support the ITypedList, IListSource, or IEnumerable interface.

Limiting the fields that the grid fetches

By default, RadGrid fetches all bindable property values from the data source you use for control structure generation. These values can be used in sorting, filtering, grouping or other operations. In some cases, however, you may not need your grid instance to iterate through all the fields in your data source when binding. This can be a requirement when you have custom collection of business objects that you assign as the DataSource property of a RadGrid control to generate its content.

To prevent the grid from traversing all data fields in a collection, set the master table view's RetrieveAllDataFields property to False. In this case, any additional fields that you want to use for sorting, grouping or assigning to DataKeyNames can be included in the AdditionalDataFieldNames array. When you set RetrieveAllDataFields to False, only the properties that are used as column DataFields or those specified in the AdditionalDataFieldNames are extracted from the data source.

Sorting, filtering, and grouping

Currently RadGrid supports sorting, filtering and grouping natively. You can specify the way the grid sorts, groups, and filters its data using the following properties:

  • GridTableView.SortExpressions

  • GridTableView.FilterExpression

  • GridTableView.GroupByExpressions

These features are not tightly coupled with the column declarations of the grid, but rather with the data that the grid is bound to.

To clarify the idea, consider the case of a RadGrid instance with 2 columns: ProductName and ProductCategory. In the DataSource, which is a business object collection describing orders of products, you have several additional fields: ProductID, Units, TotalOrders, TotalCost, and so on.

You can display the grid with two columns and a group by expression: "ProductCategory, ProductID, Sum(TotalCost), Sum (TotalOrders), Group By ProductID, ProductCategory". It is obvious that the columns declaration and the grouping and sorting expressions rely on different sets of fields. (This is the reason for the default behavior where RadGrid extracts all bindable properties of the business object collection.)

Example

The example below has two RadGrid and two GridView controls. These controls are bound to an object data source, with corresponding auto-generated or pre-defined column sets. The business object implements ICustomTypeDescriptor with modified presentation structure using attributes.

The properties that are not visible for presentation have the [PresentationHidden] attribute. Here is the code-behind:

BusinessObject

using System;
using System.Web;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.ComponentModel;
using System.Web.UI;
using BusinessObjects;
public class BusinessObjectList : BindingList<BusinessObject>, ITypedList
{
 public BusinessObjectList()
 {
   Add( new BusinessObject(null, null, new SubObject("Four")));
   Add( new BusinessObject(1, "1", new SubObject("One")));
   Add( new BusinessObject(2, "3", new SubObject("Two")));
   Add( new BusinessObject(3, "2", new SubObject("Three")));
   Add( new BusinessObject(4, "1", new SubObject("Four")));
 }
 public BindingList<BusinessObject> GetList()
 {
   return this;
 }
 public PropertyDescriptorCollection GetItemProperties(PropertyDescriptor[] listAccessors)
 {
   return CustomTypeDescriptorHelper.GetExtendedProperties( typeof(BusinessObject));
 }
 public string GetListName(PropertyDescriptor[] listAccessors)
 {
   return "DefaultView";
 }
}
public class SubObject
{
 private string _name;
 public SubObject(string name)
 {
   this._name = name;
 }
 public string Name
 {
   get { return _name; }
   set { _name = value; }
 }
}
public class BusinessObject: ICustomTypeDescriptor
{
 private long? _objectId;
 private string _stringProperty;
 private SubObject _subObject;
 public BusinessObject(int? objectId, string stringProperty, SubObject subObject)
{
  this._objectId = objectId;
  this._stringProperty = stringProperty;
  this._subObject = subObject;
}
public long? ObjectId
{
  get { return _objectId; }
  set { _objectId = value; }
}
public string StringProperty
{
   get { return _stringProperty; }
   set { _stringProperty = value; }
}
//The PresentationHidden attribute "hides" the property from GridView and RadGrid
[PresentationHidden]
public string ShouldNotBeAccesseed
{
   get
   {
      throw new NotSupportedException();
   }
   set
   {
      throw new NotSupportedException();
   }
}
//using the IntroduceObject attribute the custom type descriptor helper would
//recognize the objects to introduce sub-properties
[IntroduceObject]
public SubObject SubObjectProperty
{
  get { return _subObject; }
  set { _subObject = value; }
 }
//---------------------------------------------------------------
//This implementation of ICustomTypeDescriptor is general for all
//types of objects that can serve as data-items in data-list
//controls, including RadGrid, DataGrid, GridView, DataList, etc.
//Note that the columns should be defined for the propertes of sub objects
//no auto-generated columns can be used, unless the collection of
//objects bound to the data-list control implements the ITypedList
//intereface. The DataField of such columns showing sub-properties
//should be constructed from the name of the property + _ +
//name of the sub-property:
//if sub-property is accessed using "SubProperty.Name", the DataField
// should be "SubProperty_Name".
//Copy-paste the implementation to other business objects
//or implement in their base class.
//Do not forget to mark the object, which contain subproperties as [IntroduceObject].
//-----------------------------------------------------------------

System.ComponentModel.AttributeCollection CustomTypeDescriptor.GetAttributes()
{
  return new System.ComponentModel.AttributeCollection(null);
}
string ICustomTypeDescriptor.GetClassName()
{
  return null;
}
string ICustomTypeDescriptor.GetComponentName()
{
  return null;
}
TypeConverter ICustomTypeDescriptor.GetConverter()
{
  return null;
}
EventDescriptor ICustomTypeDescriptor.GetDefaultEvent()
{
  return null;
}
PropertyDescriptor ICustomTypeDescriptor.GetDefaultProperty()
{
  return null;
}
object ICustomTypeDescriptor.GetEditor(Type editorBaseType)
{
  return null;
}
EventDescriptorCollection ICustomTypeDescriptor.GetEvents()
{
  return new EventDescriptorCollection(null);
}
EventDescriptorCollection ICustomTypeDescriptor.GetEvents(Attribute[] attributes)
{
  return new EventDescriptorCollection(null);
}
PropertyDescriptorCollection ICustomTypeDescriptor.GetProperties()
{
 return ((ICustomTypeDescriptor)this).GetProperties(null);
}
PropertyDescriptorCollection ICustomTypeDescriptor.GetProperties(Attribute[] attributes)
{
  return CustomTypeDescriptorHelper.GetExtendedProperties( TypeDescriptor.GetProperties(this, true) );
}
object ICustomTypeDescriptor.GetPropertyOwner(PropertyDescriptor pd)
{
  return this;
}
}       
Imports System
Imports System.ComponentModel
Imports System.Web.UI

Namespace BusinessObjects

        Friend Class IntroduceObjectAttribute
            Inherits Attribute
        End Class 'IntroduceObjectAttribute

        Friend Class PresentationHidden
            Inherits Attribute
        End Class 'PresentationHidden

        Friend Class CustomTypeDescriptorHelper
            Public Overloads Shared Function GetExtendedProperties(ByVal originalProperties As PropertyDescriptorCollection) As PropertyDescriptorCollection
                Dim originalArray(originalProperties.Count) As PropertyDescriptor
                originalProperties.CopyTo(originalArray, 0)
                Dim res As New PropertyDescriptorCollection(originalArray, False)
                Dim aggObjectDescriptor As PropertyDescriptor
                For Each aggObjectDescriptor In originalProperties
                    If Not (aggObjectDescriptor.Attributes(GetType(IntroduceObjectAttribute)) Is Nothing) Then
                        Try
                            'This can be a recursive method to extract property values even deeper.
                            Dim subObjectType As Type = aggObjectDescriptor.PropertyType
                            Dim desc As PropertyDescriptor
                            For Each desc In TypeDescriptor.GetProperties(subObjectType)
                                If Telerik.Web.UI.RadGrid.IsBindableType(desc.PropertyType) Then
                                    Dim descriptor As New AggregatedObjectPropertyDescriptor(aggObjectDescriptor.Name, desc)
                                    res.Add(descriptor)
                                End If
                            Next desc
               Catch Else
                        End Try
                        'Is object's getter throws, just ignore
                    ElseIf Not (aggObjectDescriptor.Attributes(GetType(PresentationHidden)) Is Nothing) Then
                        res.Remove(aggObjectDescriptor)
                    End If
                Next aggObjectDescriptor
                Return res
            End Function 'GetExtendedProperties

            Public Overloads Shared Function GetExtendedProperties(ByVal sourceType As Type) As PropertyDescriptorCollection
                Dim originalProperties As PropertyDescriptorCollection = TypeDescriptor.GetProperties(sourceType)
                Return GetExtendedProperties(originalProperties)
            End Function 'GetExtendedProperties
        End Class 'CustomTypeDescriptorHelper

        Friend Class AggregatedObjectPropertyDescriptor
            Inherits PropertyDescriptor
            Private parentPropertyName As String
            Private subPropertyDesc As PropertyDescriptor
            Private Const SubPropertySplitter As String = "_"

            Friend Sub New(ByVal parentPropertyName As String, ByVal subPropertyDesc As PropertyDescriptor)
                MyBase.New(parentPropertyName + SubPropertySplitter + subPropertyDesc.Name, CType(Nothing, Attribute()))
                Me.subPropertyDesc = subPropertyDesc
                Me.parentPropertyName = parentPropertyName
            End Sub 'New

            Public Overrides Function CanResetValue(ByVal component As Object) As Boolean
                Throw New Exception("The method or operation is not implemented.")
            End Function 'CanResetValue

            Public Overrides ReadOnly Property ComponentType() As Type
                Get
                    Throw New Exception("The method or operation is not implemented.")
                End Get
            End Property
            Public Overrides Function GetValue(ByVal component As Object) As Object
                Return subPropertyDesc.GetValue(DataBinder.GetPropertyValue(component, parentPropertyName))
            End Function 'GetValue

            Public Overrides ReadOnly Property IsReadOnly() As Boolean
                Get
                    Return subPropertyDesc.IsReadOnly
                End Get
            End Property

            Public Overrides ReadOnly Property PropertyType() As Type
                Get
                    Return subPropertyDesc.PropertyType
                End Get
            End Property

            Public Overrides Sub ResetValue(ByVal component As Object)
                Throw New Exception("The method or operation is not implemented.")
            End Sub 'ResetValue

            Public Overrides Sub SetValue(ByVal component As Object, ByVal value As Object)
                subPropertyDesc.SetValue(DataBinder.GetPropertyValue(component, parentPropertyName), value)
            End Sub 'SetValue

            Public Overrides Function ShouldSerializeValue(ByVal component As Object) As Boolean
                Throw New Exception("The method or operation is not implemented.")
            End Function 'ShouldSerializeValue
        End Class 'AggregatedObjectPropertyDescriptor
    End Namespace 'BusinessObjects 

CustomTypeDescriptorHelper

using System;
using System.ComponentModel;
using System.Web.UI;

namespace BusinessObjects
{
internal class IntroduceObjectAttribute : Attribute
{
}
   internal class PresentationHidden : Attribute
   {
   }
internal class CustomTypeDescriptorHelper
{
 public static PropertyDescriptorCollection GetExtendedProperties(PropertyDescriptorCollection originalProperties)
 {
  PropertyDescriptor[] originalArray = new PropertyDescriptor[originalProperties.Count];
  originalProperties.CopyTo(originalArray, 0);
  PropertyDescriptorCollection res = new PropertyDescriptorCollection(originalArray, false);
  foreach (PropertyDescriptor aggObjectDescriptor in originalProperties)
  {
   if (aggObjectDescriptor.Attributes[typeof(IntroduceObjectAttribute)] != null)
   {
    try
    {
                       //This can be a recursive method to extract property values even deeper.
     Type subObjectType = aggObjectDescriptor.PropertyType;
     foreach (PropertyDescriptor desc in TypeDescriptor.GetProperties(subObjectType))
     {
       if (Telerik.Web.UI.RadGrid.IsBindableType(desc.PropertyType))
      {
       AggregatedObjectPropertyDescriptor descriptor = new AggregatedObjectPropertyDescriptor(aggObjectDescriptor.Name, desc);
       res.Add(descriptor);
      }
     }
    }
    catch
    {
     //Is object's getter throws, just ignore
    }
   }
                else
                    if (aggObjectDescriptor.Attributes[typeof(PresentationHidden)] != null)
               {
                   res.Remove(aggObjectDescriptor);
               }
  }
  return res;
 }
 public static PropertyDescriptorCollection GetExtendedProperties(Type sourceType)
 {
  PropertyDescriptorCollection originalProperties = TypeDescriptor.GetProperties(sourceType);
  return GetExtendedProperties(originalProperties);
 }
}
internal class AggregatedObjectPropertyDescriptor : PropertyDescriptor
{
 private string parentPropertyName;
 private PropertyDescriptor subPropertyDesc;
        private const string SubPropertySplitter = "_";
 internal AggregatedObjectPropertyDescriptor( string parentPropertyName, PropertyDescriptor subPropertyDesc)
           : base(parentPropertyName + SubPropertySplitter + subPropertyDesc.Name, (Attribute[])null)
 {
  this.subPropertyDesc = subPropertyDesc;
  this.parentPropertyName = parentPropertyName;
 }
 public override bool CanResetValue(object component)
 {
  throw new Exception("The method or operation is not implemented.");
 }
 public override Type ComponentType
 {
  get { throw new Exception("The method or operation is not implemented."); }
 }
 public override object GetValue(object component)
 {
  return subPropertyDesc.GetValue(DataBinder.GetPropertyValue(component, parentPropertyName));
 }
 public override bool IsReadOnly
 {
  get
  {
   return subPropertyDesc.IsReadOnly;
  }
 }
 public override Type PropertyType
 {
  get
  {
   return subPropertyDesc.PropertyType;
  }
 }
 public override void ResetValue(object component)
 {
  throw new Exception("The method or operation is not implemented.");
 }
 public override void SetValue(object component, object value)
 {
  subPropertyDesc.SetValue(DataBinder.GetPropertyValue(component, parentPropertyName), value);
 }
 public override bool ShouldSerializeValue(object component)
 {
  throw new Exception("The method or operation is not implemented.");
 }
}
}   
Imports System
Imports System.ComponentModel
Imports System.Web.UI

Namespace BusinessObjects
    _
        Friend Class IntroduceObjectAttribute
            Inherits Attribute
        End Class 'IntroduceObjectAttribute
    _
        Friend Class PresentationHidden
            Inherits Attribute
        End Class 'PresentationHidden
    _
        Friend Class CustomTypeDescriptorHelper
            Public Overloads Shared Function GetExtendedProperties(ByVal originalProperties As PropertyDescriptorCollection) As PropertyDescriptorCollection
                Dim originalArray(originalProperties.Count) As PropertyDescriptor
                originalProperties.CopyTo(originalArray, 0)
                Dim res As New PropertyDescriptorCollection(originalArray, False)
                Dim aggObjectDescriptor As PropertyDescriptor
                For Each aggObjectDescriptor In originalProperties
                    If Not (aggObjectDescriptor.Attributes(GetType(IntroduceObjectAttribute)) Is Nothing) Then
                        Try
                            'This can be a recursive method to extract property values even deeper.
                            Dim subObjectType As Type = aggObjectDescriptor.PropertyType
                            Dim desc As PropertyDescriptor
                            For Each desc In TypeDescriptor.GetProperties(subObjectType)
                                If Telerik.Web.UI.RadGrid.IsBindableType(desc.PropertyType) Then
                                    Dim descriptor As New AggregatedObjectPropertyDescriptor(aggObjectDescriptor.Name, desc)
                                    res.Add(descriptor)
                                End If
                            Next desc
                        Catch
                        End Try
                        'Is object's getter throws, just ignore
                    Else
                        If Not (aggObjectDescriptor.Attributes(GetType(PresentationHidden)) Is Nothing) Then
                            res.Remove(aggObjectDescriptor)
                        End If
                    End If
                Next aggObjectDescriptor
                Return res
            End Function 'GetExtendedProperties

            Public Overloads Shared Function GetExtendedProperties(ByVal sourceType As Type) As PropertyDescriptorCollection
                Dim originalProperties As PropertyDescriptorCollection = TypeDescriptor.GetProperties(sourceType)
                Return GetExtendedProperties(originalProperties)
            End Function 'GetExtendedProperties
        End Class 'CustomTypeDescriptorHelper
    _
        Friend Class AggregatedObjectPropertyDescriptor
            Inherits PropertyDescriptor
            Private parentPropertyName As String
            Private subPropertyDesc As PropertyDescriptor
            Private SubPropertySplitter As String = "_"

            Friend Sub New(ByVal parentPropertyName As String, ByVal subPropertyDesc As PropertyDescriptor)
                MyBase.New(parentPropertyName + SubPropertySplitter + subPropertyDesc.Name, CType(Nothing, Attribute()))
                Me.subPropertyDesc = subPropertyDesc
                Me.parentPropertyName = parentPropertyName
            End Sub 'New

            Public Overrides Function CanResetValue(ByVal component As Object) As Boolean
                Throw New Exception("The method or operation is not implemented.")
            End Function 'CanResetValue

            Public Overrides ReadOnly Property ComponentType() As Type
                Get
                    Throw New Exception("The method or operation is not implemented.")
                End Get
            End Property
            Public Overrides Function GetValue(ByVal component As Object) As Object
                Return subPropertyDesc.GetValue(DataBinder.GetPropertyValue(component, parentPropertyName))
            End Function 'GetValue

            Public Overrides ReadOnly Property IsReadOnly() As Boolean
                Get
                    Return subPropertyDesc.IsReadOnly
                End Get
            End Property

            Public Overrides ReadOnly Property PropertyType() As Type
                Get
                    Return subPropertyDesc.PropertyType
                End Get
            End Property

            Public Overrides Sub ResetValue(ByVal component As Object)
                Throw New Exception("The method or operation is not implemented.")
            End Sub 'ResetValue

            Public Overrides Sub SetValue(ByVal component As Object, ByVal value As Object)
                subPropertyDesc.SetValue(DataBinder.GetPropertyValue(component, parentPropertyName), value)
            End Sub 'SetValue

            Public Overrides Function ShouldSerializeValue(ByVal component As Object) As Boolean
                Throw New Exception("The method or operation is not implemented.")
            End Function 'ShouldSerializeValue
        End Class 'AggregatedObjectPropertyDescriptor
    End Namespace 'BusinessObjects 

This implementation also allows RadGrid and GridView (and other similar) controls to bind to properties of "sub-objects", which appear as properties of the business object, by just specifying the [IntroduceObject] attribute. The implementation of the ICustomTypeDescriptor interface for the business object programmatically constructs a new set of properties for the type, containing the properties of the sub-objects in a "flat" manner. This is similar to what the DataRowView does, for instance.

The implementation of ITypedList for the business-objects collection allows RadGrid and GridView to enumerate the properties of the business objects in the collection. This also allows RadGrid to automatically sort, group-by and filter these extended properties.

Binding to a collections of dynamic objects

When you need to bind the grid control to a collection of dynamic objects it is important to know that only template columns are supported. In addition you should take in mind that the DataItem should be cast as a dynamic type and the dynamic object property name should be referenced in order for the binding expressions to work.

caution

Sorting , Grouping and Filtering are not supported when the grid is bound to a collection of dynamic objects.

<telerik:RadGrid RenderMode="Lightweight" ID="RadGrid1" runat="server" OnNeedDataSource="RadGrid1_NeedDataSource" AutoGenerateColumns="false">
        <MasterTableView>
            <Columns>
                <telerik:GridTemplateColumn>
                    <ItemTemplate>
                        <%# (Container.DataItem as dynamic).RecordNumber %>
                    </ItemTemplate>
                </telerik:GridTemplateColumn>
            </Columns>
        </MasterTableView>
    </telerik:RadGrid>
protected void RadGrid1_NeedDataSource(object sender, Telerik.Web.UI.GridNeedDataSourceEventArgs e)
    {
        RadGrid1.DataSource = GetData();
    }

    private List<dynamic> GetData()
    {
        List<dynamic> dynList = new List<dynamic>();
        Enumerable.Range(1, 10).ToList().ForEach(delegate(int p)
        {
            dynamic currentItem = new DynamicObj();
            currentItem.RecordNumber = p;
            dynList.Add(currentItem);
        });
        return dynList;
    }

    public class DynamicObj : DynamicObject
    {
        Dictionary<string, object> internalData;

        public DynamicObj()
        {
            internalData = new Dictionary<string, object>();
        }

        public override bool TrySetMember(SetMemberBinder binder, object value)
        {
            if (!internalData.ContainsKey(binder.Name))
            {
                internalData.Add(binder.Name, value);
            }
            else
            {
                internalData[binder.Name] = value;
            }
            return true;
        }

        public override bool TryGetMember(GetMemberBinder binder, out object result)
        {
            if (internalData.ContainsKey(binder.Name))
            {
                result = internalData[binder.Name];
                return true;
            }
            result = null;
            return false;
        }
    }
Protected Sub RadGrid1_NeedDataSource(sender As Object, e As Telerik.Web.UI.GridNeedDataSourceEventArgs)
    RadGrid1.DataSource = GetData()
End Sub

Private Function GetData() As List(Of Object)
    Dim dynList As New List(Of Object)()
    Enumerable.Range(1, 10).ToList().ForEach(Sub(p As Integer)
                                                 Dim currentItem As Object = New DynamicObj()
                                                 currentItem.RecordNumber = p
                                                 dynList.Add(currentItem)
                                             End Sub)
    Return dynList
End Function

Public Class DynamicObj
    Inherits DynamicObject
    Private internalData As Dictionary(Of String, Object)

    Public Sub New()
        internalData = New Dictionary(Of String, Object)()
    End Sub

    Public Overrides Function TrySetMember(binder As SetMemberBinder, value As Object) As Boolean
        If Not internalData.ContainsKey(binder.Name) Then
            internalData.Add(binder.Name, value)
        Else
            internalData(binder.Name) = value
        End If
        Return True
    End Function

    Public Overrides Function TryGetMember(binder As GetMemberBinder, ByRef result As Object) As Boolean
        If internalData.ContainsKey(binder.Name) Then
            result = internalData(binder.Name)
            Return True
        End If
        result = Nothing
        Return False
    End Function
End Class