Creating Multi-Language Custom Control
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by Abdulla Hussein AbdelHaq
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Embedding JavaScript Files and Blocks Rendering

If you download the source code, you will find two embedded JavaScript files that support client-side functionality for the control.

Using embedded JavaScript files has many benefits; this allows the client browser to cache the script which should lead to faster page loads especially if the script is large. By embedding the JavaScript file as a resource rather than putting it in the control’s code, the overall code base is also much easier to maintain.

Let us overview the JavaScript file "animatedcollapse.js." This is the part that is responsible for sliding contents. If you take a look through the JavaScript code, you will find "slidedown" and "slideup" functions, these two JavaScript functions are responsible for sliding down the content to hide it and sliding up the content to show it.

We will render a JavaScript block at render time using ScriptManager.RegisterStartupScript method for each Textbox- for slide it up and slide it down. By using ScriptManager rather than writer.write(the script block), the custom control will be worked under Ajax environment. So if you are trying to render the script block using writer.write, it will not work under Ajax environment.

Sliding mechanism occurs by placing each textbox control inside a separate html div, and these html div's will appear/disappear using the two JavaScript functions that I talked about.

As I mentioned, we have three languages (English, Arabic, and French), so we have to put the English textbox control inside html div, the Arabic textbox control should be inside another html div, and the same thing with the French textbox control.

Take a look at the code below, registering startup script at render time for English language. This code will be repeated three times for English, Arabic and French with a little change for each language to make it unique.

Listing 2

'//Ajax Enabled
ScriptManager.RegisterStartupScript(Page, Me.GetType, Me.ID & "_EnBlock", _
"var " & Me.ClientID & "_collapseEn = new animatedcollapse('" & _
Me.ClientID & "_dvEn', 400, false"IIf(DefaultLanguage = _
ControlLanguages.English, ",'block'", "") & ");"True)

As you see in listing 2, we are registering startup script at render time for English content. Note that we are declaring a variable from the animatedcollapse JavaScript Class. Assume that our custom control ClientID is MutliLang1 so the variable will be like this (MultiLang1_collapseEn). This will be a unique object for our custom control, so it does not matter now how many times you drag/drop or how many times you created an instance from this custom control in the page, each custom control will be worked separately with its own JavaScript functions by using its own JavaScript object. Take this advice; if you want to create your own custom control, use the previous technique when you are dealing with JavaScript, which makes your custom control more reusable.

To collapse the English content, the MultiLang1_collapseEn.slideup() function will take care of that, and to expand it again, use MultiLang1_collapseEn.slidedown().  Use the same thing in the left languages, but remember that each language has its own JavaScript object.

Back again to the downloaded source code, open the JavaScript file "MultiLangJS.js.” It contains two JavaScript functions: "MultiLangClass" function which is the main function, and "HideShowLang" function which is responsible for calling Slideup/Slidedown functions. "MultiLangClass" function receives many arguments; each argument will be assigned to a JavaScript variable. These variables will be a global through the JavaScript file.

As you saw in figure 1, we are passing the ClientID's for controls to be assigned in the JavaScript file.

Using the same technique which we have used, we will register another JavaScript block at render time for the whole control. This script block will be the JavaScript controller for the whole control.

Figure 1

In the above code, we declare a JavaScript variable during render time, which is an instance from the MultiLangClass JavaScript class. This variable will be the key for calling all JavaScript functions from the embedded "MultiLangJS.js" file. Again, by using this technique (i.e. creating instance variable from JavaScript file), it allows us to drag and drop my custom control many times in the page without worrying about confliction between these instances. Assume that my control ID is MultiLang1 so the JavaScript variable will be like this: (ObjJS_MultiLang1). I will use this JavaScript object in the onclick event, when the end-user clicks on the image of the language he wants to display. I will give more examples about how to call this variable later in this article.

Embedding the JavaScript files will be done by using the WebResource attribute typically over the namespace declaration in the class file for your custom control as you see in the code below.

Listing 3

<Assembly: TagPrefix("MyCustomsControls.CustomsControls""asp")> 
<Assembly: WebResource("MyCustomsControls.MultiLangJS.js", "text/javascript")>

And we have to tell the Page that our custom control has javascript files needed to be registered when the final HTML is generated for that page. So we need to write a bit of code in the OnInit sub as in Listing 4. 

Listing 4

Protected Overrides Sub OnInit(ByVal e As EventArgs)
    MyBase.OnInit(e)
    Me.Page.ClientScript.RegisterClientScriptInclude(Me.GetType(), "MultiLangJS", _
      Page.ClientScript.GetWebResourceUrl(Me.GetType(), _
      "MyCustomsControls.MultiLangJS.js"))
 
    Me.Page.ClientScript.RegisterClientScriptInclude(Me.GetType(), _
      "animatedcollapse", Page.ClientScript.GetWebResourceUrl(Me.GetType(), _
      "MyCustomsControls.animatedcollapse.js"))
 
End Sub

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User Comments

Title: Good Article   
Name: Vagueraz
Date: 2008-07-04 5:03:31 AM
Comment:
Very Good and Strong Article , and it's not only useful for devlopers also for end-users ....
Title: Outstanding Work   
Name: Jean-Pierre Jamous
Date: 2008-07-02 10:01:11 PM
Comment:
Extremely nice. It comes handy for developers. You've done a tremendous job at it. Keep up the great work.
Title: Very good article   
Name: Anas al-qudah
Date: 2008-07-02 4:03:52 AM
Comment:
It's realy Very good article and help me.
Thanks thanks alot.

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