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How to pass data from controller to view in Asp.Net MVC with example

IntroductionIn this article i am going to explain the use of ViewBag, ViewData and TempData to pass data from controller to view to render a response back to a client in Asp.net MVC. 



Implementation: Hope you have read my previous article explaining ViewBag, ViewData and TempData (Link given in description section above). So we can move further with the practical implementation to understand their use.

·         Launch Visual studio-> File menu -> New -> Project -> select Visual C# or Visual basic -> Select ASP.NET MVC 4 Web Application and name the application "MvcDemoApp" or whatever you want. 
·         A "New ASP.NET MVC 4 Project "dialog box will open -> Select "Empty" template and leave the "razor " as the default View engine.
·         Now it's time to create the controller. So in the solution explorer right click on the Controller folder -> Add -> Controller -> name the controller "HomeController" and leave the template "Empty MVC controller" as it is and click on Add button.
·         Now in the Index action of the "HomeController" controller we will use ViewBag to store the data that will be passed to the view to be rendered. So let's create the view by right clicking in between the Index action and select Add View -> leave all the settings as it is and click on Add button.
·         Below is the snapshot of the controller code, View code and the rendered output. Note: "HomeController.cs" is the controller and "Index.cshtml" is the corresponding view.

What is ViewBag?

ViewBag and ViewData both are used for the same purpose i.e. to transfer data from controller to view but ViewBag comes with an additional feature that the type casting for complex objects is not required. 

ViewBag is a dynamic property that takes advantage of the new dynamic features in C# 4.0. By dynamic we mean that we can add properties to it in the controller, and read them later in the view.

Example demonstrating the use of ViewBag

ViewBag example to pass data from controller to view
Click on the image to enlarge.
In above example Company Name, location and list of branches is passed from controller to view using ViewBag.

What is ViewData?
ViewData is an in-built dictionary object that is derived from ViewDataDictionary class that can be accessed and set with string type key values. It is a used to pass data from Controller to View.


The data is only alive for one request and cannot persist between requests i.e. if redirection occurs then its value becomes null. The problems with ViewData are that the type casting is required for complex data types at the location where the data is being extracted and also we need to check for null values to avoid errors.

Example demonstrating the use of ViewData
ViewData can also be used to pass data from controller to view similar to ViewBag for the same purpose as shown above.


Below is the snapshot of the Controller code, View code and the rendered output. Note: "HomeController.cs" is the controller and "Index.cshtml" is the corresponding view. Click on the below image to enlarge. 
 
ViewData example to pass data from controller to view
Click on the image to enlarge.
Company Name, its location and list of branches is passed from controller to view using ViewData. 
So from the above two examples we saw that both the ViewBag and ViewData is used to pass the data from controller to view but type casting is required while accessing the data from the ViewData.


So we need to type cast ViewData["CityList"]  to List<String> ViewData["CityList"] or we can also type cast it to IEnumerable<String> ViewData["CityList"].

What is TempData?
The problem with the ViewData and ViewBag for transferring data from controller to view is that the data is only alive for current request. The data is lost if a redirection takes place i.e. if one Action redirects to another action. 

But when we need to persist the data between actions/redirection then asp.net MVC offers another dictionary object called TempData for that purpose. 
It helps to maintain the data when we move from one controller to another controller or from one action to another action.It requires typecasting for complex data type and checks for null values to avoid error.


It is derived from TempDataDictionary and created on top of session. It will live till the redirected view is fully loaded.

Example demonstrating the use of TempData
  • Right click on Models folder -> Add -> Class and name it "BookDetails.cs" and write the code as shown in image below:
TempData example to pass data

  • Now create the controller and add the code in the controller to store the data in the TempData as shown in image below: 
TempData controller example to pass data
Click on the image to enlarge.

  • In above example, we stored book object in TempData in Controller’s Index Action and retrieved that in Controller’s  another Action “DisplayBookData” that will render the Book Details . Do you think it can be done using ViewBag or ViewData? Actually No because if we try to do the same using ViewBag or ViewData, we will get null in Controller’s action “DisplayBookData” because only TempData object maintains data between controller actions.
  • Now create two view corresponding to Index() and DisplayBookData() actions defined in HomeController. There is no need to write any code in the index.cshtml view because that will not render any details instead we write the code on DisplayBookData.cshtml view as shown in image below:
TempData view example to pass data
Click on the image to enlarge.
  • Now run the application. Output will be as shown in image below: 
TempData output example to pass data

Now over to you:
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2 comments

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Jayakumar
admin
February 27, 2014 ×

hi
can u provide download link for this project?

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Anonymous
admin
June 17, 2014 ×

nice

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