Extended Functionality in graspx

To fine-tune the steps to automatically build a Visual Studio solution, I needed to implement some long-planned features: One of the targets in writing graspx was to extract all displayed text from the various controls on each ASP.Net form.

UI texts can be stored in a wide array of different controls and their attributes: label Text, hyperlink innerText, page Title, gridview EmptyDataText, validators ErrorMessage, and so on.

To make things more complicated, a control may not be found differently by its ID, but rather one needs to walk the form’s control hierarchy, if a control is placed within a FormView or GridView. Some texts may even be stored in a tag without an identifier, as is the case with ListItems in a DropDownList, or Columns within a GridView.

The new functionality in graspx covers these cases:

The LL command lists the value of all tag/attribute combinations listed in a separate parameter file, and thus equals the sequential execution of single L commands (uppercase “L” is used here for clarity).

The option -nc allows to define naming containers. If a control is found, the ID of the control is composed of the IDs of the parent controls. As an example from the setup files:

asp:GridView    .id
Columns         ix
asp:FormView    .id
ItemTemplate    tag
asp:Content     .ContentPlaceHolderID

For a GridView, the value of the ID attribute is used as naming ID, whereas for the Content (masterpage mechanism), it is ContentPlaceHolderID. Columns within a GridView are addressed by their index. A FormView may hold 3 different templates which are distinguished by their tag.

The working directory, which was the current directory in previous versions, can be set using the -d option; -r allows recursive searches through subdirectories.

The -nodyn option excludes all dynamic expressions ( < % # … % > ) from the search result.

The -utf8 option forces output in UTF8 encoding, which is not the default even for .Net console applications.

graspx is available for download here.

One Response to Extended Functionality in graspx

  1. AlexM says:

    I found your site on technorati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you down the road!

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