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Installing CobaltMVC

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Got an interesting piece of anonymous feedback today reminding me of something rather obvious…

How exactly do you install CobaltMVC?

Oh yeah… That would be handy information… and it probably should have already been released. That said, lets get right to it.

Download CobaltMVC

The new CobaltMVC site is still in beta (like the rest of the framework) but you can still download the libraries you need to get started.

Add CobaltMVC To Your Project

Unpack the files to an easy to reach location and then add them as references to your project. You don’t need to add both, the Cobalt.dll is good enough.

‘Initialize’ CobaltMVC

Next, open up the Global.asax file and include the Cobalt.CobaltConfiguration.Initialize(); call to the Application_Start method. This makes sure that CobaltMVC is set up fully before it begins processing requests.

Update Web.config (sorta optional)

This step can be skipped but it will make coding your pages less convenient since you’ll have to add the namespaces all over the rest of your project. Add the Cobalt and the Cobalt.Web namespaces to your system.web/pages/namespaces section. This opens up the extension methods used to start Cobalt commands from your views.

You’re Done!

At this point we can test CobaltMVC to see if it is working. For example, here is a command you can run on the default MVC Index view.

And you’ll get the following results…

Not bad, huh?

It is worth mentioning that CobaltMVC might have unexpected results if you use .browser files with your project. Why?

Well, part of the Initialize() call actually creates a .browser file that is used to capture rendering for content on the page.

So, if you see this file floating around in your project, don’t delete it.

Who knows what happens when too many .browser files are fighting for the same thing but I doubt it will be a good thing.

Good luck!

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Written by hugoware

August 20, 2010 at 12:09 am

CobaltMVC and Custom Selectors

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CobaltMVC is a server side templating framework that behaves just like jQuery for your Views. CobaltMVC also works in WebForms.

CobaltMVC supports a variety of CSS selectors including pseudo and attribute matching. To keep things flexible, I’ve made it so that you can create or overwrite anything built-in. This post we discuss how to create your own for your project.

Right now, if you wanted to select all of the even rows in a table then you could use the pseudo selector…

this.Find("table > :even");

Cool, but what if we wanted to create our own? Here is an example of a selector that finds ‘numeric’ HTML elements.


//called once to add it to the project
CobaltManagement.RegisterCustomPseudoSelector(
    "numeric", //the name of the selector :numeric
    (nodes, argument) => { //the comparison to use
        decimal container = 0;
        return nodes.Where(node => decimal.TryParse(node.InnerText.Trim(), out container));
    });

//then used from our pages like...
this.Find(":numeric");

You’ll notice there are two arguments for the method you provide – First is a list of the available nodes to compare against. The second is an optional ‘argument’ string. The method should return a list of nodes that should be kept in the selection.

And the argument? That is an optional value in case you want it included in your selector. A good example of using the argument is the nth pseudo selector which returns every x number item.

//Everything within the parens is included as part of the argument
this.Find(":nth(4)");

Note: The argument is passed as a string so you’ll need to perform any parsing before you begin using the value.

Attribute selectors match against the attributes of the HTML elements. CobaltMVC checks the values and makes sure that two string are passed (even if they are empty), but any additional parsing needs to be done as part of the method.

That said, the method you use to perform the comparison is slightly different.

CobaltManagement.RegisterCustomAttributeSelector(
    "%", //the prefix to use for the selector @attr%='value'
    (argument, value) => argument.Equals(value, StringComparison.Ordinal)); //the comparison

The special character is what you want to prefix the attribute selector with (if you plan to override the default = selector then you just pass in an empty string). This needs to be a special character so not to be confused with the name of the attribute.

The comparison method itself is just a pair of strings, the first being the argument provided by the user and the second being the value found on the attribute. If the element doesn’t have the matching attribute then it is skipped entirely.

So, we could use the method we created in the example above by using…

this.Find("[@title%='Hugoware']");

Pretty neat!

If you haven’t downloaded Cobalt then head out to GitHub and download the code!

Written by hugoware

June 6, 2010 at 11:08 pm

CobaltMVC – Custom Controls and Dynamic HTML

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CobaltMVC is a server side templating frameworks that works a lot like jQuery. You can use it with both ASP.NET MVC and WebForms – (Watch the introduction video)

So far all of the CobaltMVC examples that have been posted have involved selecting existing elements on the page and making changes to them. However, there are times you’d like to generate new elements or wrap the same markup in a reusable control and attach it to the page.

Controls in CobaltMVC are just CobaltElements with properties and methods that you can use to define the behavior of an element. Because of this, a control can be selected against and modified by external selectors. This means that any control can be adjusted and tweaked for your individual needs.

Want to learn more? Check out the screen cast below that explains some of the interesting things you can do with custom controls and dynamically generated HTML elements.

[Watch The Screencast!]

Written by hugoware

June 4, 2010 at 9:52 am

Cobalt Progress

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CobaltMVC is coming along really well. I’ve been dog fooding it myself for the past few weeks in some projects and it fits nicely. I’ve discovered (and fixed) a lot of flaws and bugs along the way, so overall it has been a good experience.

I started a new site to be the dedicated home for CobaltMVC, which also happens to be on the same domain as my new website, at cobaltmvc.hugoware.com.

The site isn’t complete yet – I have a lot of documentation to write along with getting additional work done on my ‘personal’ part of the website, but overall it is a good example of what the finished site will look like.

Additionally, the site itself is powered by CobaltMVC… what a coincidence!

Written by hugoware

July 28, 2010 at 7:41 pm