Bogus errors from ASP.NET compiler

by Christoph Herold 18. March 2009 17:43

I just wasted another hour, trying to figure out, what exactly ASP.NET was trying to tell me, when giving me an "ASPNET: Make sure that the class defined in this code file matches the 'inherits' attribute, and that it extends the correct base class (e.g. Page or UserControl)." message on compiling my ascx file.

Ok, so I used a custom namespace, but I've done that hundreds of times, so that shouldn't be the problem. I also had a custom base class inheriting from UserControl. Also, nothing I haven't done before. So what was the issue now?!

I basically retyped everything concerning the namespace and class names in all files, but nothing helped. So I reverted to commenting out my code. This helped me find the issue: I used a

<% if (somethingOrOther) { %> Some code here <% } %>

construct in my ascx-file (Please don't start an argument on whether this is good practice or not. I know it's not the cleanest way to do things, but that is not the concern here :-) ), and actually forgot to put in the closing <% } %>. Ok, my fault, but shouldn't you get a better Compiler message than "ASPNET: Make sure that the class defined in this code file matches the 'inherits' attribute, and that it extends the correct base class (e.g. Page or UserControl)."?!

So, if you encouter this error (and believe me, I've had it more than once due to typos), and are 100% positive you've spelled everything correctly, check for unbalanced parentheses!

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Development

Be careful when reusing ListItems

by Christoph Herold 17. March 2009 12:12

Yesterday, I had one of those WTF moments. I had a page with a form for entering two addresses. Both had the same fields, including a RadioButtonList with identical items. Since the items are resourced, I decided to optimize the performance by reusing the ListItems like so:

ListItem[] items = new ListItem[2];
items[0] = new ListItem(this.GetString("salutation.Mister"), "Mr");
items[1] = new ListItem(this.GetString("salutation.Misses"), "Mrs");
this.salutation.Items.AddRange(items);
this.salutation2.Items.AddRange(items);

Simple eh. Everything seems to be ok. And was I amazed, when I tested it, and I always got the SelectedItem to be the one selected in salutation2. I double-checked every location were I was storing the values, in case I forgot to change the field name after copy/pasting. But everything was correct, as far as I could tell. I even checked the values submitted by the browser, they were also correct.

Finally, it hit me: The ListItem has a Selected property, and it is used to find the RadioButtonLists SelectedItem property. And since I reused the items, the first list parses its items on postback, sets the appropriate ListItem's Selected property to true. Same thing happens with the second RadioButtonList. And since the ListItems are used in both lists, the last one wins.

So, I changed my code to look like this:

ListItem[] items = new ListItem[2];
items[0] = new ListItem(this.GetString("salutation.Mister"), "Mr");
items[1] = new ListItem(this.GetString("salutation.Misses"), "Mrs");
this.salutation.Items.AddRange(items);
items = new ListItem[2];
items[0] = new ListItem(this.GetString("salutation.Mister"), "Mr");
items[1] = new ListItem(this.GetString("salutation.Misses"), "Mrs");
this.salutation2.Items.AddRange(items);

Now everything works as it should. So next time, be careful when reusing your ListItems!

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Development

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Christoph Herold

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