Explore Ways to Extend ASP.NET AJAX Client-Side Function
page 5 of 9
by Xianzhong Zhu
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Sample 2

In this sample we will guide you step-by-step through the creation of a client behavior, MyHoverBehavior, which is able to programmatically change the CSS class associated with a DOM element in response to its events. Figure 4 and 5 respectively correspond to the two run-time snapshots of Sample 2.

Figure 4: Snapshot 1 for Sample 2

When you move the mouse over the <DIV> element in yellow background in Figure 4, you will get the snapshot of Figure 5.

Figure 5: Snapshot 2 for Sample 2

Based on what you have learned in the previous sections, our task is to encapsulate the client logic into a behavior. Now let us dissect the logics in programming a behavior piece by piece.

Author's Note:  Here we try to simulate the style (in a separate location) of MS AJAX script library to define the functionality for a property or method rather than in the commonly-used inline style.

Prototype Definition

First, as usual, after registering the namespace and defining constructor, we declare private properties, and specifying all the property related get and set accessors, methods initialize and dispose, and all the related event handlers in the following prototype block.

Listing 4: Prototype block

ZXZSamples.MyHoverBehavior.prototype = {
      _hoverElement : null,
      _unhoverDelay : 0,
      _hoverCount : 0,
      _hoverHandler : null,
      _unHoverHandler : null,
      get_hoverElement: ZXZSamples$MyHoverBehavior$get_hoverElement,
      set_hoverElement: ZXZSamples$MyHoverBehavior$set_hoverElement,
      get_unhoverDelay: ZXZSamples$MyHoverBehavior$get_unhoverDelay,
      set_unhoverDelay: ZXZSamples$MyHoverBehavior$set_unhoverDelay,
      initialize: ZXZSamples$MyHoverBehavior$initialize,
      dispose: ZXZSamples$MyHoverBehavior$dispose,
      add_hover: ZXZSamples$MyHoverBehavior$add_hover,
      remove_hover: ZXZSamples$MyHoverBehavior$remove_hover,
      _onhover: ZXZSamples$MyHoverBehavior$_onhover,
      add_unhover: ZXZSamples$MyHoverBehavior$add_unhover,
      remove_unhover: ZXZSamples$MyHoverBehavior$remove_unhover,
      _onunhover: ZXZSamples$MyHoverBehavior$_onunhover,

Here we defined field _hoverElement to specify the DOM element the behavior would be bound to, field _unhoverDelay to specify the maximum time limit the mouse hover over the target element (i.e. after the _unhoverDelay second the target's style will change acccordingly), and field _hoverCount only to remember the count the mouse hover over the target element.  The two handler fields, _hoverHandler and _unHoverHandler, are to represent delegates used by the behavior that route the mouseover/focus and mouseout/blur events data to two corresponding event handlers, _onhover and _onunhover.

Initialization and Handling Events

Now, let us look into the method initialize.

Listing 5: initialize() method

function ZXZSamples$MyHoverBehavior$initialize() {
      ZXZSamples.MyHoverBehavior.callBaseMethod(this, 'initialize');
      this._hoverHandler = Function.createDelegate(this, this._onhover);
      this._unHoverHandler = Function.createDelegate(this, this._unhoverDelay?
      this._delayedUnhoverHandler :this._onunhover);
      $addHandler(this.get_element(), "mouseover", this._hoverHandler);
      $addHandler(this.get_element(), "focus", this._hoverHandler);
      $addHandler(this.get_element(), "mouseout", this._unHoverHandler);
      $addHandler(this.get_element(), "blur", this._unHoverHandler);
      if (this._hoverElement){
            $addHandler(this._hoverElement, "mouseover", this._hoverHandler);
            $addHandler(this._hoverElement, "focus", this._hoverHandler);
            $addHandler(this._hoverElement, "mouseout", this._unHoverHandler);
            $addHandler(this._hoverElement, "blur", this._unHoverHandler);

Here, we first called method initialize of base class. Next, we invoked the built-in global method Function.createDelegate to bind two delegates, _hoverHandler and _unHoverHandler, to the event handlers _onhover and _onunhover, respectively.  Note if the user specifies the property _unhoverDelay then we call handler _delayedUnhoverHandler which will further wrap handler _onunhover and better deal with the mouseover/focus event delay problem via window.setTimeout method. Once the delegates are created, they can be used to hook the related events directly to the event handlers using MS AJAX $addHandler method. For details about method $addHandler, you can refer to the official website of ASP.NET AJAX.

Next, let us discuss the two event handlers, whose codes are listed as below.

Listing 6:  _onhover handler

function ZXZSamples$MyHoverBehavior$_onhover(){
      var handler = this.get_events().getHandler("hover");
      if (handler) {
      handler(this, Sys.EventArgs.Empty);
function ZXZSamples$MyHoverBehavior$_onunhover(){
      if (this._hoverCount ==0){
            var handler = this.get_events().getHandler("unhover");
            if (handler) {
                  handler(this, Sys.EventArgs.Empty);

In the first handler function, we added 1 to the hover time counter _hoverCount. Then we got the special handler associated with event "unhover" from the Sys.EventHandlerList instance that was maintained by parent Component. Finally, we fired the special event. (Note, stored here in the handler variable is a function that, when called, executes all the related handlers for the specific event "unhover.")

In the second handler function, however, things were nearly the opposite with those in the first.  Here, only when the time counter equals to 0 can we fire the special event "unhover."

The Descriptor Block

Listing 7: Descriptor block definition

ZXZSamples.MyHoverBehavior.descriptor  ={
      properties: [ 
            { name: 'hoverElement', type: Object,isDomElement:true,readOnly:true},
            { name: 'unhoverDelay', type: Number}
      events: [ 
            {name: 'hover'} ,
            {name: 'unhover'} 

Note that the MS AJAX XML-script engine needs a type descriptor to parse the markup code into an instance of a client component, therefore only those client components that provide a type descriptor can be used in XML-script code. Here, in behavior MyHoverBehavior, we exposed two properties, hoverElement and unhoverDelay, and two events, hover and unhover.

Using Behavior MyHoverBehavior

Note, in order to use the custom behavior, we would better create the sample website (named MyHoverBehavior) using the "ASP.NET CTP-enabled Website" template.  For brevity, we only listed the xml-script block.

Listing 8: Descriptor block definition

<script type="text/xml-script">
<span lang=FR><page xmlns:script="http://schemas.microsoft.com/xml-script/2005"</span>
    <span lang=FRxmlns:cc="javascript:ZXZSamples"></span>
            <control id="panel1">
                        <cc:MyHoverBehavior unhoverDelay="300"  >
                              <setPropertyAction target="panel1" 
                                  propertyKey="className" value="hover"/>
                              <setPropertyAction target="panel1" 
                                  propertyKey="className" value="start"/>
                        <setPropertyAction target="panel1" property="element" 
                                  propertyKey="className" value="start"/>

Here, we first declared a custom XML namespace named ZXZSamples. Next, we attached our custom behavior MyHoverBehavior to an HTML DIV element (with ID being 'panel1"). When the object Application was loaded, we initialized the CSS style of the DIV element "panel1."  Next, we defined two events, hover and unhover, of the custom behavior. With each of the two events fired, the CSS style of the DIV element "panel1" would change accordingly. 

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User Comments

Title: ZK@Web Marketing Blog   
Name: zk5182@yahoo.com
Date: 2009-06-03 1:35:51 AM
I downloaded the ASP.NET 2.0 PayPal Commerce Starter Kit (CSK) today for kicks and ended up creating a new provider, called InventoryProvider, that provides the basis for a more functional and feature-rich inventory management system. I say "provides the basis," because my immediate intentions were to do the minimal amount of work possible to have CSK use the provider and then add new features in increments later.

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