Wizard Design and State Maintenance

Discussion in 'ASP .Net' started by Jeremy S., Jul 27, 2009.

  1. Jeremy S.

    Jeremy S. Guest

    I need to design a wizard-style UI, where I collect data in several aspx
    pages in a sequence. At any point in the sequence, the user must be able to
    save their work. The data collected in the wizard pages goes into a SQL
    Server database. As users navigate amongst pages (users can navigate amongst
    the pages; back and forth, and directly jump to other pages), the app must
    keep track of the values the user entered in the other pages. I'm wondering
    where I should maintain this "wizard data" as the user navigates amongst the
    pages in the wizard.

    A quick answer would be to maintain the wizard data in Session state. But
    the problem with Session is that it will timeout. I don't want for this app
    to rely on Session as the users may leave their computer and come back to
    finish the wizard - but after their session has timed out. Alternatively, I
    could stick it into the system Cache and key off of user ID, but the Cache
    is volatile. Application state seems like a better choice, except that it's
    generally recommended to minimize use of Application state - that, plus
    application state would get blown away on server restarts or recyclings of
    the app pool. So, what to do?

    Thanks.
     
    Jeremy S., Jul 27, 2009
    #1
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  2. Jeremy S.

    HillBilly Guest

    ASP.NET 2.0 Wizard Control and it takes a long time to learn to use it or
    you can try to build your own using the same MultiView Conttrol which
    provides some of the fundamentals.

    "Jeremy S." <> wrote in message
    news:%...
    >I need to design a wizard-style UI, where I collect data in several aspx
    >pages in a sequence. At any point in the sequence, the user must be able to
    >save their work. The data collected in the wizard pages goes into a SQL
    >Server database. As users navigate amongst pages (users can navigate
    >amongst the pages; back and forth, and directly jump to other pages), the
    >app must keep track of the values the user entered in the other pages. I'm
    >wondering where I should maintain this "wizard data" as the user navigates
    >amongst the pages in the wizard.
    >
    > A quick answer would be to maintain the wizard data in Session state. But
    > the problem with Session is that it will timeout. I don't want for this
    > app to rely on Session as the users may leave their computer and come back
    > to finish the wizard - but after their session has timed out.
    > Alternatively, I could stick it into the system Cache and key off of user
    > ID, but the Cache is volatile. Application state seems like a better
    > choice, except that it's generally recommended to minimize use of
    > Application state - that, plus application state would get blown away on
    > server restarts or recyclings of the app pool. So, what to do?
    >
    > Thanks.
    >
     
    HillBilly, Jul 27, 2009
    #2
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  3. "HillBilly" <> wrote in
    news::

    > ASP.NET 2.0 Wizard Control and it takes a long time to learn to use it
    > or you can try to build your own using the same MultiView Conttrol
    > which provides some of the fundamentals.


    Great point!

    The wizard control, if you are using it "out of the box", like the
    examples, is fairly simple. As soon as you step out of the box at all, the
    multiview is more flexible and easier to learn.


    --
    Gregory A. Beamer
    MVP; MCP: +I, SE, SD, DBA

    Twitter: @gbworld
    Blog: http://gregorybeamer.spaces.live.com

    *******************************************
    | Think outside the box! |
    *******************************************
     
    Gregory A. Beamer, Jul 27, 2009
    #3
  4. Jeremy S.

    Jeremy S. Guest

    >> ASP.NET 2.0 Wizard Control and it takes a long time to learn to use it
    >> or you can try to build your own using the same MultiView Conttrol
    >> which provides some of the fundamentals.

    >
    > Great point!
    >
    > The wizard control, if you are using it "out of the box", like the
    > examples, is fairly simple. As soon as you step out of the box at all, the
    > multiview is more flexible and easier to learn.
    >



    So, I can use the Wizard control or roll my own. The primary; question of
    the OP remains unaddressed: Where can/should I maintain state? Session? etc?
    looking for discussion of the alternatives for state maintenance given the
    concerns as stated in the OP.
     
    Jeremy S., Jul 27, 2009
    #4
  5. Jeremy S.

    HillBilly Guest

    OT for here but getting censored when trying to ask you elsewhere if
    Expression 3 remains an unusable p.o.s. with the all black low-contrast user
    interface. yea or nay?

    "Gregory A. Beamer" <> wrote in message
    news:Xns9C556EC1929B4gbworld@207.46.248.16...
    > "HillBilly" <> wrote in
    > news::
    >
    >> ASP.NET 2.0 Wizard Control and it takes a long time to learn to use it
    >> or you can try to build your own using the same MultiView Conttrol
    >> which provides some of the fundamentals.

    >
    > Great point!
    >
    > The wizard control, if you are using it "out of the box", like the
    > examples, is fairly simple. As soon as you step out of the box at all, the
    > multiview is more flexible and easier to learn.
    >
    >
    > --
    > Gregory A. Beamer
    > MVP; MCP: +I, SE, SD, DBA
    >
    > Twitter: @gbworld
    > Blog: http://gregorybeamer.spaces.live.com
    >
    > *******************************************
    > | Think outside the box! |
    > *******************************************
     
    HillBilly, Jul 27, 2009
    #5
  6. Jeremy S.

    HillBilly Guest

    Every control supports ViewState including the Wizard and MultiView controls
    or again you write your own state management.

    "Jeremy S." <> wrote in message
    news:...
    >>> ASP.NET 2.0 Wizard Control and it takes a long time to learn to use it
    >>> or you can try to build your own using the same MultiView Conttrol
    >>> which provides some of the fundamentals.

    >>
    >> Great point!
    >>
    >> The wizard control, if you are using it "out of the box", like the
    >> examples, is fairly simple. As soon as you step out of the box at all,
    >> the
    >> multiview is more flexible and easier to learn.
    >>

    >
    >
    > So, I can use the Wizard control or roll my own. The primary; question of
    > the OP remains unaddressed: Where can/should I maintain state? Session?
    > etc? looking for discussion of the alternatives for state maintenance
    > given the concerns as stated in the OP.
    >
    >
    >
     
    HillBilly, Jul 27, 2009
    #6
  7. Jeremy S.

    Jeremy S. Guest

    "HillBilly" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > OT for here but getting censored when trying to ask you elsewhere if
    > Expression 3 remains an unusable p.o.s. with the all black low-contrast
    > user interface. yea or nay?



    Hrm... you seem to have my post here confused with someone else and their
    post. I know nothing of the Expression 3 deal of which you refer.

    In any case I read your other post about ViewState - and yes, that works,
    but not when the wizard is comprised of multiple aspx pages. But maybe that
    is actually the ultiamte answer to my concerns... to implement the wizard in
    a single aspx page and create the perception of multiple pages via MultiView
    or Wizard controls. Naturally, then viewstate would take care of the state
    management. That's good, and actually simplifies a bunch of things. Thanks!
     
    Jeremy S., Jul 27, 2009
    #7
  8. "Jeremy S." <> wrote in
    news::

    > So, I can use the Wizard control or roll my own. The primary; question
    > of the OP remains unaddressed: Where can/should I maintain state?
    > Session? etc? looking for discussion of the alternatives for state
    > maintenance given the concerns as stated in the OP.



    When you use the controls (wizard or multiview), the full state of the
    control is held in ViewState. Provided you are not turning it off, you
    can pull from here.

    If you want to customize this further, you certainly can create your own
    state mechanism, but I would be wary of doing that if you do not have
    to. One example where you might change this is when you need a very
    "light" page, as viewstate adds weight (encoded field).

    The point here is state is already maintained as long as you are not
    leaving the page. Each click on the wizard, multipage will save the
    state of all of the controls, including those currently hidden.



    --
    Gregory A. Beamer
    MVP; MCP: +I, SE, SD, DBA

    Twitter: @gbworld
    Blog: http://gregorybeamer.spaces.live.com

    *******************************************
    | Think outside the box! |
    *******************************************
     
    Gregory A. Beamer, Jul 27, 2009
    #8
  9. "HillBilly" <> wrote in
    news::

    > OT for here but getting censored when trying to ask you elsewhere if
    > Expression 3 remains an unusable p.o.s. with the all black
    > low-contrast user interface. yea or nay?


    Censored? Where?

    Short answer: yes and no ;-)

    Here is my long-winded two cents.

    If you are unhappy with Expression Web 2 as it pertains to ASP.NET, you
    are not likely to be happy with Expression Web 3. In fact, with the
    color choices, you might find it even less appealing. The ASP.NET story
    has NOT improved in the new version. Microsoft is a bit schizo on this
    story, IMO, as they sell the idea of a designer (Expression) working
    hand in hand with a developer (Visual Studio).

    I am not sure I would completely classify it as a p.o.s., however, as
    there are some improvements. You have to figure if the following
    improvements mean anything to you.

    Site Management: Greatly improved. Considering the publish features blew
    chunks in EW2, anything would have been an improvement here. From what I
    understand, the team threw away the clunky FTP and wrote a new multi-
    threaded client that supports SFTP. This means faster, less problematic
    uploads. I have not published with it yet, so I will have to take Cheryl
    Wise's word on the greatness of the improvement.

    Media: While I disagree with the placement on the toolbox (under HTML
    controls), the media bits work very well and actually simplify adding
    media, unlike the half-baked Silverlight bits in EW2. I will likely use
    these, as anything that simplifies my life is good.

    CSS: Still the same basic story, but I like the story. I use EW
    primarily for the CSS bits (which were the shining story in EW2, if you
    ask me). This is a preference thing, however. If you have another CSS
    editor you use religiously, it might not be compelling for you.

    Additional tools: Expression Encoder and Expression Design are now
    included with Web 3. The encoder can even be pulled open by dragging
    media onto the design surface, which is nice. I have found that there
    are a few things that glitch for me with .MOV files, but I found the
    experience of embedding a WMV as a Silverlight movie to be excellent. I
    am not sure about Expression Design, as I am a heavy PhotoShop user
    (from years as a graphic designer), so I am not sure I am the most
    unbiased person to ask about Design.

    There are also some improvements in menu docking and hiding which are
    nice (more like Visual Studio). I am not sure these are an even trade
    off for the color choice. ;-)

    Based on the way you framed your question, unless you like the Media and
    Site management tools, or really want to glom onto Encoder or Design,
    that you will find anything to get you to move to EW3.

    --
    Gregory A. Beamer
    MVP; MCP: +I, SE, SD, DBA

    Twitter: @gbworld
    Blog: http://gregorybeamer.spaces.live.com

    *******************************************
    | Think outside the box! |
    *******************************************
     
    Gregory A. Beamer, Jul 27, 2009
    #9
  10. Jeremy S.

    HillBilly Guest

    Its a matter that I literally cannot read the user interface and cannot use
    this p.o.s. software at all because I literally cannot read the user
    interface.


    "Gregory A. Beamer" <> wrote in message
    news:Xns9C55A2DA9B407gbworld@207.46.248.16...
    > "HillBilly" <> wrote in
    > news::
    >
    >> OT for here but getting censored when trying to ask you elsewhere if
    >> Expression 3 remains an unusable p.o.s. with the all black
    >> low-contrast user interface. yea or nay?

    >
    > Censored? Where?
    >
    > Short answer: yes and no ;-)
    >
    > Here is my long-winded two cents.
    >
    > If you are unhappy with Expression Web 2 as it pertains to ASP.NET, you
    > are not likely to be happy with Expression Web 3. In fact, with the
    > color choices, you might find it even less appealing. The ASP.NET story
    > has NOT improved in the new version. Microsoft is a bit schizo on this
    > story, IMO, as they sell the idea of a designer (Expression) working
    > hand in hand with a developer (Visual Studio).
    >
    > I am not sure I would completely classify it as a p.o.s., however, as
    > there are some improvements. You have to figure if the following
    > improvements mean anything to you.
    >
    > Site Management: Greatly improved. Considering the publish features blew
    > chunks in EW2, anything would have been an improvement here. From what I
    > understand, the team threw away the clunky FTP and wrote a new multi-
    > threaded client that supports SFTP. This means faster, less problematic
    > uploads. I have not published with it yet, so I will have to take Cheryl
    > Wise's word on the greatness of the improvement.
    >
    > Media: While I disagree with the placement on the toolbox (under HTML
    > controls), the media bits work very well and actually simplify adding
    > media, unlike the half-baked Silverlight bits in EW2. I will likely use
    > these, as anything that simplifies my life is good.
    >
    > CSS: Still the same basic story, but I like the story. I use EW
    > primarily for the CSS bits (which were the shining story in EW2, if you
    > ask me). This is a preference thing, however. If you have another CSS
    > editor you use religiously, it might not be compelling for you.
    >
    > Additional tools: Expression Encoder and Expression Design are now
    > included with Web 3. The encoder can even be pulled open by dragging
    > media onto the design surface, which is nice. I have found that there
    > are a few things that glitch for me with .MOV files, but I found the
    > experience of embedding a WMV as a Silverlight movie to be excellent. I
    > am not sure about Expression Design, as I am a heavy PhotoShop user
    > (from years as a graphic designer), so I am not sure I am the most
    > unbiased person to ask about Design.
    >
    > There are also some improvements in menu docking and hiding which are
    > nice (more like Visual Studio). I am not sure these are an even trade
    > off for the color choice. ;-)
    >
    > Based on the way you framed your question, unless you like the Media and
    > Site management tools, or really want to glom onto Encoder or Design,
    > that you will find anything to get you to move to EW3.
    >
    > --
    > Gregory A. Beamer
    > MVP; MCP: +I, SE, SD, DBA
    >
    > Twitter: @gbworld
    > Blog: http://gregorybeamer.spaces.live.com
    >
    > *******************************************
    > | Think outside the box! |
    > *******************************************
     
    HillBilly, Jul 27, 2009
    #10
  11. "HillBilly" <> wrote in
    news::

    > Its a matter that I literally cannot read the user interface and
    > cannot use this p.o.s. software at all because I literally cannot read
    > the user interface.


    If you read the Expression forums, the consensus seems to be that the new
    interface is not very nice on the eyes. Cheryl started the "unofficial"
    poll there:
    http://bit.ly/32tuYq


    --
    Gregory A. Beamer
    MVP; MCP: +I, SE, SD, DBA

    Twitter: @gbworld
    Blog: http://gregorybeamer.spaces.live.com

    *******************************************
    | Think outside the box! |
    *******************************************
     
    Gregory A. Beamer, Jul 27, 2009
    #11
  12. Jeremy S.

    HillBilly Guest

    I put in my reply and then some. Sorry to got OT to get your attention.


    "Gregory A. Beamer" <> wrote in message
    news:Xns9C55A660177ECgbworld@207.46.248.16...
    > "HillBilly" <> wrote in
    > news::
    >
    >> Its a matter that I literally cannot read the user interface and
    >> cannot use this p.o.s. software at all because I literally cannot read
    >> the user interface.

    >
    > If you read the Expression forums, the consensus seems to be that the new
    > interface is not very nice on the eyes. Cheryl started the "unofficial"
    > poll there:
    > http://bit.ly/32tuYq
    >
    >
    > --
    > Gregory A. Beamer
    > MVP; MCP: +I, SE, SD, DBA
    >
    > Twitter: @gbworld
    > Blog: http://gregorybeamer.spaces.live.com
    >
    > *******************************************
    > | Think outside the box! |
    > *******************************************
     
    HillBilly, Jul 28, 2009
    #12
  13. "HillBilly" <> wrote in
    news::

    > I put in my reply and then some. Sorry to got OT to get your
    > attention.


    No problem. I did check the Expression group later on that day, but some
    days I am a bit lax on it. ;-)

    --
    Gregory A. Beamer
    MVP; MCP: +I, SE, SD, DBA

    Twitter: @gbworld
    Blog: http://gregorybeamer.spaces.live.com

    *******************************************
    | Think outside the box! |
    *******************************************
     
    Gregory A. Beamer, Jul 28, 2009
    #13
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