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C# HtmlTextWriter Example

This C# tutorial shows the HtmlTextWriter type. It writes HTML to a string.
HtmlTextWriter writes HTML programmatically. It allows you to generate a list of HTML elements, such as <div> elements. You could use StringBuilder to create the HTML, but HtmlTextWriter is sometimes better. Fewer errors are likely.
Notes, HTML. It is easy to generate HTML using StringBuilder, just like any other string. That method can result in complex syntax. We use the HtmlTextWriter class to alleviate these problems.StringBuilder
Example. First, the HtmlTextWriter class is found in the System.Web.UI namespace. If you are not already using ASP.NET, you will need to reference the System.Web assembly. You also need the System.IO namespace for StringWriter.

New: The new StringWriter is required for the HtmlTextWriter to write to. It is a buffer and everything that is written is written to this.

StringWriter

Methods: We need to use "RenderBegin" and "RenderEnd" methods. Call RenderBeginTag to open a new level in the HTML with that tag.

And: You must manually close that level of that markup with RenderEndTag. These two methods must be called in pairs.

Attributes: Add the attribute with AddAttribute before BeginRenderTag. Look for "HtmlTextWriterAttribute.Class" and similar.

C# program that uses HtmlTextWriter using System; using System.IO; using System.Web.UI; class Program { static string[] _words = { "Sam", "Dot", "Perls" }; static string GetDivElements() { // Initialize StringWriter instance. StringWriter stringWriter = new StringWriter(); // Put HtmlTextWriter in using block because it needs to call Dispose. using (HtmlTextWriter writer = new HtmlTextWriter(stringWriter)) { // Loop over some strings. foreach (var word in _words) { // Some strings for the attributes. string classValue = "ClassName"; string urlValue = "http://www.dotnetperls.com/"; string imageValue = "image.jpg"; // The important part: writer.AddAttribute(HtmlTextWriterAttribute.Class, classValue); writer.RenderBeginTag(HtmlTextWriterTag.Div); // Begin #1 writer.AddAttribute(HtmlTextWriterAttribute.Href, urlValue); writer.RenderBeginTag(HtmlTextWriterTag.A); // Begin #2 writer.AddAttribute(HtmlTextWriterAttribute.Src, imageValue); writer.AddAttribute(HtmlTextWriterAttribute.Width, "60"); writer.AddAttribute(HtmlTextWriterAttribute.Height, "60"); writer.AddAttribute(HtmlTextWriterAttribute.Alt, ""); writer.RenderBeginTag(HtmlTextWriterTag.Img); // Begin #3 writer.RenderEndTag(); // End #3 writer.Write(word); writer.RenderEndTag(); // End #2 writer.RenderEndTag(); // End #1 } } // Return the result. return stringWriter.ToString(); } static void Main() { // Demonstrate HtmlTextWriter. Console.WriteLine(GetDivElements()); } } Output <div class="ClassName"> <a href="http://www.dotnetperls.com/"> <img src="image.jpg" width="60" height="60" alt="" />Sam</a> </div><div class="ClassName"> <a href="http://www.dotnetperls.com/"> <img src="image.jpg" width="60" height="60" alt="" />Dot</a> </div><div class="ClassName"> <a href="http://www.dotnetperls.com/"> <img src="image.jpg" width="60" height="60" alt="" />Perls</a> </div>
Notes, tags. Every tag is started and then closed later. This is the most important part. Finally, the Write method is an instance method that writes text in between the tags in HTML.
Tab string. In the constructor to the HtmlTextWriter, use an empty string as the tab string. This will eliminate a lot of whitespace. I was able to reduce the size of my pages by a small percentage this way.Empty String
Fragment that uses string.Empty: C# using (HtmlTextWriter writer = new HtmlTextWriter(stringWriter, string.Empty)) { // Insert code here. }
XmlWriter. Using XmlWriter is very similar to the code shown here, but the output is XML. This is useful for interoperability and settings files. HtmlTextWriter is mainly useful for web pages in ASP.NET.XmlWriter
Summary. We used the HtmlTextWriter class in the System.Web namespace using the C# language. Use HtmlTextWriter to write HTML instead of StringBuilder alone for the cleanest and object-oriented code.

Note: I am not aware of any performance issues. And the markup is always nicely indented.

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