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WebMatrix Hosting :: How To Produce a CSHTML with TweetMeme Helper

clock May 17, 2011 06:39 by author Administrator

Microsoft has recently introduced the first beta of its new stack for building great web sites – WebMatrix. One of the key components of WebMatrix is the ASP.Net Web Pages “Razor” Syntax (or simply: CSHTML) that lets you write C# code inside the HTML markup.

Helpers in WebMatrix

Among the new possibilities and simplicity that this approach brings to people who build web sites, there is also the notion of Helper. Helpers are a way to use a single line of code for a common task that originally had taken several lines of code to do. Such helpers can be:

- Sending mails
- Displaying a WebGrid for presenting tabular data
- Adding the Facebook button
- Querying the database
- Displaying a Twitter profile
- Embedding rich media (Silverlight, Flash, WMV)

In this post I will show how to create a custom helper to use in your ASP.Net Web Pages with Razor Syntax inside WebMatrix. For the demo I will build a TweetMeme helper that embeds the familiar TweetMeme button.

There are 2 ways of creating helpers to use in WebMatrix:

1. Create the helper as a Class Library.
2. Create it as a class and distribute the code.

Create CSHTML Helper for WebMatrix as a Class Library in Visual Studio 2010

1. Open Visual Studio 2010, and create a new Class Library that targets .Net Framework 4 called TweetMeme.Helpers.
2. Add a reference to System.Web.dll.
3. Rename the default file (Class1.cs) to a more meaningful name, such as TweetMeme.cs.
4. Rename the class name in that file to TweetMeme, and remove the namespace declaration. You better off without a namespace when using helpers.

In order to implement a custom helper, you should create a method that will render to required HTML for the helper. This method should be public and static method and should return IHtmlString as the following code:

public static IHtmlString Button(... parameters ... )
    // Generate the HTML
    string html = ...
    return new HtmlString(html);

5. Implement the TweetMeme button method:

public static IHtmlString Button(string Url,
    string  Twitter = null,
    bool    Compact = false,
    string  UrlShortenerService = "",
    string  UrlShortenerAPIKey = null)
    // Generate the HTML
    string html = GeneratedCode(Url, Twitter, Compact, UrlShortenerService, UrlShortenerAPIKey);
    return new HtmlString(html);

6. Implement the GenerateCode method, that generates the HTML for TweetMeme:

private static string GeneratedCode(string url, string twitterName = null, bool isCompact = false, string UrlShortenerService = "", string UrlShortenerAPIKey = null)
    if (string.IsNullOrEmpty(url))
        throw new ArgumentException("Url cannot be null or empty", url);

    StringBuilder builder = new StringBuilder();
    builder.Append("<script type=\"text/javascript\"> ");
    if (isCompact)
        builder.Append("tweetmeme_style = 'compact'; ");
    builder.Append(string.Format("tweetmeme_url = '{0}'; ", url));
     if (!String.IsNullOrEmpty(twitterName))
        builder.Append(string.Format("tweetmeme_source = '{0}'; ", twitterName));
    if (!String.IsNullOrEmpty(UrlShortenerService))
        builder.Append(string.Format("tweetmeme_service = '{0}'; ", UrlShortenerService));
        if (!String.IsNullOrEmpty(UrlShortenerAPIKey))
            builder.Append(string.Format("tweetmeme_service_api = '{0}'; ", UrlShortenerAPIKey));
    builder.Append("</script> ");
    builder.Append("<script type=\"text/javascript\" src=\"\"></script>");
    return builder.ToString();}

7. That’s it. The helper is ready to use.

Using a Custom Helper in WebMatrix

To use a custom helper in WebMatrix that is delivered as an assembly, you simply have to copy that .dll into a bin folder in your site.

1. In WebMatrix, add a bin folder to the root of your site.
2. Copy the output assembly of the helper (from the bin\debug\ folder of the class library you have just created) to the bin folder of the site.
3. In your code, simply call the Helper:

@TweetMeme.Button(url: Request.Url.AbsoluteUri,                  
twitter: "bursteg", // replace with your twitter name                 
 compact: false)

Notice: If you now run your site locally, you with receive a TweetMeme button with a question mark in it. This is just because the url that it points to is a localhost address and not something that can be reached from the outside.

Create CSHTML Helper as a Class file inside WebMatrix

The second approach for creating helpers for WebMatrix is just adding a C# file with the helper class.

1. Inside WebMatrix, add a folder called App_Code to your web site.
2. Into the App_Code folder, add a new C# class to your web site.

3. Create the helper in this file using the same code as above

4. Use the helper in your code as shown above.


There are 2 approaches for creating Helpers for CSHTML. Creating helpers in class libraries are probably the better way of doing this in the eyes of professional developers, but my guess is that people who build web sites will prefer copying and pasting code samples for helpers to use in the project, and we will have a great community of helpers around the web.






WebMatrix Hosting with

clock February 11, 2011 08:15 by author Administrator offers the latest WebMatrix based hosting service to all our new and existing customers. This application is pre-installed on the server and it allows you to install several world-class favorites application, such as DotNetNuke, nopCommerce, etc.   

You can always start with our Standard Plan (from @$4.49/month) to have WebMatrix based applications installed on your site. Should your requirement changes in the future, you can always request for an upgrade without causing any downtime. Remember, everything is just one-click away from your mouse! So, why wait longer? Please register your interest here.

What is WebMatrix?
WebMatrix is a bundle of software running on the developer's machine, with the aim of simplifying the process of web application development using Windows. The bundle includes the IIS Express web server, the SQL Server Compact database engine and the ASP.NET Web Pages framework. The ASP.NET Web Pages framework contains the 'Razor' syntax for inline coding of C# and VB within HTML. WebMatrix also integrates the Web Application Gallery and Web Application Installer from Microsoft, enabling developers who use PHP, MySQL or other web development components to download, install and configure these components directly from WebMatrix   

Create, Customise and Publish websites with WebMatrix
WebMatrix is a brand new web development tool from Microsoft that includes everything you need for website development. Start from open source web applications, built-in web templates or just start writing code yourself. It’s all-inclusive, simple and best of all free. Developing websites has never been easier.   

Create your website
To get started creating websites, just download and install WebMatrix using the Microsoft Web Platform Installer. You’ll be up and running less than 5 minutes! Once WebMatrix is installed, we make it simple to get and install the latest version of your favorite free web applications such as WordPress, Joomla!, DotNetNuke and Orchard.   

Customise your website
Once you’re up and running, you will find that WebMatrix provides all the tools features you’ll need in a single unified interface. Say good-bye to switching between multiple applications just to perform common web development tasks. With WebMatrix, you’re always just a click away from easily editing your files, managing your database and modifying your server settings.   

Publish your website
When you’re ready, WebMatrix provides a no-hassle way to show the world your website. Just access our hosting gallery from WebMatrix and you’ll find a hosting provider that is guaranteed to run your site smoothly while also allowing you to publish directly from WebMatrix

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