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Traditionally, .NET developers using Web controls enjoyed increased productivity but at the cost of control over the rendered markup. For instance, many ASP.NET controls automatically wrap their content in <TABLE> for layout or styling purposes. This behavior runs counter to the web standards that have evolved over the past several years, which favor cleaner, terser HTML; sparing use of tables; and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) for layout and styling. Furthermore, the <TABLE> elements and other automatically-added content makes it harder to both style the Web controls using CSS and to work with the controls from client-side script.
One of the aims of ASP.NET version 4.0 is to give Web Form developers greater control over the markup rendered by Web controls. Last week's article, Take Control Of Web Control ClientID Values in ASP.NET 4.0, highlighted how new properties in ASP.NET 4.0 give the developer more say over how a Web control's ID property is translated into a client-side id attribute. In addition to these ClientID-related properties, many Web controls in ASP.NET 4.0 include properties that allow the page developer to instruct the control to not emit extraneous markup, or to use an HTML element other than <table>.
This article explores a number of enhancements made to the data Web controls in ASP.NET 4.0. As you'll see, most of these enhancements give the ASP.NET developer greater control over the rendered markup. Read the full article, Data Web Controls Enhancements in ASP.NET 4.0!