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by Scott Guthrie
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Adding and Customizing Scaffold Templates

ASP.NET MVC’s scaffolding infrastructure is implemented using Visual Studio’s built-in T4 templating architecture (Scott Hanselman has a nice blog post on T4 here). 

You can customize/override any of the built-in ASP.NET MVC scaffold template implementations.  You can also create additional scaffold templates (for example: the “ScottGu Crazy Look” scaffold option) and have them be displayed as options within the “Add View” dialog.

To customize/add scaffold templates at the machine-wide level, open the “C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio 9.0\Common7\IDE\ItemTemplates\CSharp\Web\MVC\CodeTemplates” folder:

Figure 14

The “AddController” sub-folder contains the scaffold template for the “Add Controller” dialog.  The “AddView” sub-folder contains the scaffold templates for the “Add View” dialog:

Figure 15

The scaffold templates populated within the “Add View” dialog are simply text files that have the “.tt” file-name extension.  These “.tt” text files contain inline C# or VB code that executes when the template is selected. 

You can open and edit any of the existing files to customize the default scaffolding behavior.  You can also add new “.tt” template files – like I have above with the “Scott Crazy Look.tt” file.  When you add a new template file the “Add View” dialog will be updated to automatically include it in the list of available scaffold options:

Figure 16

In addition to customizing/adding template files at the machine level, you can also add/override them at the individual project level.  This also enables you to check-in the templates under source control and easily use them across a team.

You can customize the scaffold templates at a project level by adding a “CodeTemplates” folder underneath your project.  You can then have “AddController” and “AddView” sub-folders within it:

Figure 17

You can override any of the default machine-wide templates simply be adding a “.tt” file with the same name to the project.  For example, above we are overriding the default “Controller.tt” scaffold template used in “Add Controller” scenarios. 

You can add new view-template scaffold files to the list by placing them within the “AddView” folder.  For example, above we added a “Yet Another Crazy Look.tt” view template to our project.  When we use the “Add View” dialog we’ll now see a union of the templates defined at the machine and project level:

Figure 18

Note: When you add “.tt” templates under the \CodeTemplates folder make sure to set the “Custom Tool” property of each of the “.tt” template files to an empty string value within the property grid (otherwise you’ll get an error trying to run it).  You might also need to close and reopen the project to clear a spurious error from the error list.  We’ll be publishing more blog posts that cover creating/customizing scaffolding templates shortly.


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User Comments

Title: Awesome article, great work!   
Name: George Loew
Date: 3/25/2009 12:20:05 AM
Comment:
excellent article, scott! It is very useful and contain excellent information about ASP.NET MVC framework. I have had a chance to try this ASP.NET MVC technology with my current host (asphostcentral.com) and everything works beautifully.

I am rating 5 stars for this article and I am looking forward to your next articles.
Title: Cache Photo   
Name: Meysam
Date: 3/5/2009 2:14:50 AM
Comment:
Hi,
Is it possible to send cache status (304) in response to subsequent requests for a photo?

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