The suite includes several collections of controls, organized into separately purchasable modules. Full descriptions of these modules are available on the Professional Validation and More home page, but they are briefly summarized here:
- VAM: Essential Validators includes 14 validator controls to cover most common scenarios, with extensive cross-browser support.
- VAM: Specialized Validators includes 11 specialized validator controls for advanced scenarios like validating credit card numbers.
- VAM: Data Entry Controls includes 5 TextBox controls with client-side features to greatly enhance user experience.
- VAM: Client-Side Toolkit provides a number of valuable client-side features.
- VAM: Visual Input SecurityTM protects your web application from hackers by guarding user input methods against many attacks, including SQL Injection and Cross-Site Scripting.
Probably the best way to see all of these pieces in action is to visit the all-inclusive Fancy Form Demo on PeterBlum.com. It shows off many of the features unique to these controls, with a great deal of built-in documentation to help call out these features as you interact with the demo.
A good way to see these features in action yourself, after installing everything, is to open up the Tutorials PDF and go through a few of them. The 49 page document includes 15 step-by-step walkthroughs which are very helpful in getting you quickly up to speed with using these controls. Several common (frequently asked questions) issues with validation are covered within these tutorials, including these:
In addition to these commonly requested techniques, the VAM suite addresses many other limitations of the built-in ASP.NET validation controls, including:
- Conditionally disabling validators
- Combining validation rules, such as making a field required only when another form element has a particular value
- Providing a single error message if any of several validators fail
- Using graphics within error messages
- Dynamic values within error messages (e.g. "The value you entered, foo', is not an Integer.")
- Inability to evaluate an empty TextBox with a RegularExpressionValidator
- Clicking a Reset button does not remove validator messages
More limitations of the built-in ASP.NET validation controls addressed by VAM are described here: http://peterblum.com/VAM/ValMain.aspx.
One suggestion I'll make for users of the VAM Suite is to break up the controls into several tabs in the toolbox; 49 or so controls in one tab is just a bit much. I would split them up into VAM: Validators and VAM: Data Entry, which makes it easier to find what you're after, in my opinion. You can do this in VS.NET (all versions) by clicking Add Tab in the Toolbox, naming the new tab, and then simply dragging and dropping the appropriate controls into this new tab.
Feature-wise, I've only scratched the surface in this overview (and in my own use). The suite includes a *ton* of functionality and usability enhancements. Just by skimming the "Whats New in Version 3" document, which is 7 pages long, I find dozens of features and enhancements that have been made to this already mature set of controls.