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UI

ASP.NET Core MVC / Razor Pages Tutorial - Part 1

About this tutorial:

In this tutorial series, you will build an ABP Commercial application named Acme.BookStore. In this sample project, we will manage a list of books and authors. Entity Framework Core will be used as the ORM provider. And on the front-end side MVC / Razor Pages and JavaScript will be used.

The ASP.NET Core MVC / Razor Pages tutorial series consists of 3 parts:

The completed sample is available: bookstore-mvc-ef.zip. To be able to download this sample, you need to hold an active ABP Commercial license.

You can also check out the video course prepared by the community, based on this tutorial.

Creating the project

Create a new project named Acme.BookStore where Acme is the company name and BookStore is the project name. You can check out creating a new project document to see how you can create a new project. We will create the project with ABP CLI. But first of all, we need to login to the ABP Platform to create a commercial project.

Login to the ABP Platform

Run the below command to login with your username, then enter your password when it asks.

abp login <username>

If you get the below error message, it means you are not logged in with a commercial account. You can contact to [email protected] for the license issues.

Remote server returns '403-Forbidden'. Message: Pro templates require a commercial license! Should login to be able to download a pro template.

Create the project

By running the below command, it creates a new ABP Commercial project with the database provider Entity Framework Core and UI option MVC. To see the other CLI options, check out ABP CLI document.

abp new Acme.BookStore --template app-pro --database-provider ef --ui mvc

Creating project

Apply migrations

After creating the project, you need to apply the initial migrations and create the database. To apply migrations, right click on the Acme.BookStore.DbMigrator and click Debug > Start New Instance. This will run the application and apply all migrations. You will see the below result when it successfully completes the process. The application database is ready!

Migrations applied

Alternatively, you can run Update-Database command in the Visual Studio > Package Manager Console to apply migrations.

Initial database tables

Initial database tables

Run the application

To run the project, right click to the Acme.BookStore.Web project and click Set As StartUp Project. And run the web project by pressing CTRL+F5 (without debugging and fast) or press F5 (with debugging and slow).

Further information, see the running the application section.

Set as startup project

The default login credentials are;

  • Username: admin
  • Password: 1q2w3E*

Solution structure

This is how the layered solution structure looks like:

bookstore-visual-studio-solution

Check out the solution structure document to understand the structure in details.

Create the book entity

Domain layer in the startup template is separated into two projects:

  • Acme.BookStore.Domain contains your entities, domain services and other core domain objects.
  • Acme.BookStore.Domain.Shared contains constants, enums or other domain related objects those can be shared with clients.

Define entities in the domain layer (Acme.BookStore.Domain project) of the solution. The main entity of the application is the Book. Create a class, named Book, in the Acme.BookStore.Domain project as shown below:

using System;
using Volo.Abp.Domain.Entities.Auditing;

namespace Acme.BookStore
{
    public class Book : AuditedAggregateRoot<Guid>
    {
        public string Name { get; set; }

        public BookType Type { get; set; }

        public DateTime PublishDate { get; set; }

        public float Price { get; set; }

        protected Book()
        {

        }

        public Book(Guid id, string name, BookType type, DateTime publishDate, float price) :
            base(id)
        {
            Name = name;
            Type = type;
            PublishDate = publishDate;
            Price = price;
        }
    }
}
  • ABP has 2 fundamental base classes for entities: AggregateRoot and Entity. Aggregate Root is one of the Domain Driven Design (DDD) concepts. See entity document for details and best practices.
  • Book entity inherits AuditedAggregateRoot which adds some auditing properties (CreationTime, CreatorId, LastModificationTime... etc.) on top of the AggregateRoot class.
  • Guid is the primary key type of the Book entity.

BookType enum

Create the BookType enum in the Acme.BookStore.Domain.Shared project:

namespace Acme.BookStore
{
    public enum BookType
    {
        Undefined,
        Adventure,
        Biography,
        Dystopia,
        Fantastic,
        Horror,
        Science,
        ScienceFiction,
        Poetry
    }
}

Add book entity to the DbContext

EF Core requires to relate entities with your DbContext. The easiest way to do this is to add a DbSet property to the BookStoreDbContext class in the Acme.BookStore.EntityFrameworkCore project, as shown below:

    public class BookStoreDbContext : AbpDbContext<BookStoreDbContext>
    {
        public DbSet<AppUser> Users { get; set; }
        public DbSet<Book> Books { get; set; } //<--added this line-->
		//...
    }

Configure the book entity

Open BookStoreDbContextModelCreatingExtensions.cs file in the Acme.BookStore.EntityFrameworkCore project and add following code to the end of the ConfigureBookStore method to configure the Book entity:

builder.Entity<Book>(b =>
{
    b.ToTable(BookStoreConsts.DbTablePrefix + "Books", BookStoreConsts.DbSchema);
    b.ConfigureByConvention(); //auto configure for the base class props
    b.Property(x => x.Name).IsRequired().HasMaxLength(128);
});

Add the using Volo.Abp.EntityFrameworkCore.Modeling; statement to resolve ConfigureByConvention extension method.

Add new migration & update the database

The startup template uses EF Core Code First Migrations to create and maintain the database schema. Open the Package Manager Console (PMC) under the menu Tools > NuGet Package Manager.

Open Package Manager Console

Select the Acme.BookStore.EntityFrameworkCore.DbMigrations as the default project and execute the following command:

Add-Migration "Created_Book_Entity"

bookstore-pmc-add-book-migration

This will create a new migration class inside the Migrations folder of the Acme.BookStore.EntityFrameworkCore.DbMigrations project. Then execute the Update-Database command to update the database schema:

Update-Database

bookstore-update-database-after-book-entity

Add initial (sample) data

Update-Database command has created the AppBooks table in the database. Open your database and enter a few sample rows, so you can show them on the listing page.

INSERT INTO AppBooks (Id,CreationTime,[Name],[Type],PublishDate,Price) VALUES
('f3c04764-6bfd-49e2-859e-3f9bfda6183e', '2018-07-01', '1984',3,'1949-06-08','19.84')

INSERT INTO AppBooks (Id,CreationTime,[Name],[Type],PublishDate,Price) VALUES
('13024066-35c9-473c-997b-83cd8d3e29dc', '2018-07-01', 'The Hitchhiker`s Guide to the Galaxy',7,'1995-09-27','42')

INSERT INTO AppBooks (Id,CreationTime,[Name],[Type],PublishDate,Price) VALUES
('4fa024a1-95ac-49c6-a709-6af9e4d54b54', '2018-07-02', 'Pet Sematary',5,'1983-11-14','23.7')

bookstore-books-table

Create the application service

The next step is to create an application service to manage the books which will allow us the four basic functions: creating, reading, updating and deleting. Application layer is separated into two projects:

  • Acme.BookStore.Application.Contracts mainly contains your DTOs and application service interfaces.
  • Acme.BookStore.Application contains the implementations of your application services.

BookDto

Create a DTO class named BookDto into the Acme.BookStore.Application.Contracts project:

using System;
using Volo.Abp.Application.Dtos;

namespace Acme.BookStore
{
    public class BookDto : AuditedEntityDto<Guid>
    {
        public string Name { get; set; }

        public BookType Type { get; set; }

        public DateTime PublishDate { get; set; }

        public float Price { get; set; }
    }
}
  • DTO classes are used to transfer data between the presentation layer and the application layer. See the Data Transfer Objects document for more details.
  • BookDto is used to transfer book data to the presentation layer in order to show the book information on the UI.
  • BookDto is derived from the AuditedEntityDto<Guid> which has audit properties just like the Book class defined above.

It will be needed to map Book entities to BookDto objects while returning books to the presentation layer. AutoMapper library can automate this conversion when you define the proper mapping. The startup template comes with AutoMapper configured, so you can just define the mapping in the BookStoreApplicationAutoMapperProfile class in the Acme.BookStore.Application project:

using AutoMapper;

namespace Acme.BookStore
{
    public class BookStoreApplicationAutoMapperProfile : Profile
    {
        public BookStoreApplicationAutoMapperProfile()
        {
            CreateMap<Book, BookDto>();
        }
    }
}

CreateUpdateBookDto

Create a DTO class named CreateUpdateBookDto into the Acme.BookStore.Application.Contracts project:

using System;
using System.ComponentModel.DataAnnotations;

namespace Acme.BookStore
{
    public class CreateUpdateBookDto
    {
        [Required]
        [StringLength(128)]
        public string Name { get; set; }

        [Required]
        public BookType Type { get; set; } = BookType.Undefined;

        [Required]
        public DateTime PublishDate { get; set; }

        [Required]
        public float Price { get; set; }
    }
}
  • This DTO class is used to get book information from the user interface while creating or updating a book.
  • It defines data annotation attributes (like [Required]) to define validations for the properties. DTOs are automatically validated by the ABP framework.

Next, add a mapping in BookStoreApplicationAutoMapperProfile from the CreateUpdateBookDto object to the Book entity with the CreateMap<CreateUpdateBookDto, Book>(); command:

using AutoMapper;

namespace Acme.BookStore
{
    public class BookStoreApplicationAutoMapperProfile : Profile
    {
        public BookStoreApplicationAutoMapperProfile()
        {
            CreateMap<Book, BookDto>();
            CreateMap<CreateUpdateBookDto, Book>(); //<--added this line-->
        }
    }
}

IBookAppService

Create an interface named IBookAppService in the Acme.BookStore.Application.Contracts project:

using System;
using Volo.Abp.Application.Dtos;
using Volo.Abp.Application.Services;

namespace Acme.BookStore
{
    public interface IBookAppService : 
        ICrudAppService< //Defines CRUD methods
            BookDto, //Used to show books
            Guid, //Primary key of the book entity
            PagedAndSortedResultRequestDto, //Used for paging/sorting on getting a list of books
            CreateUpdateBookDto, //Used to create a new book
            CreateUpdateBookDto> //Used to update a book
    {

    }
}
  • Defining interfaces for the application services are not required by the framework. However, it's suggested as a best practice.
  • ICrudAppService defines common CRUD methods: GetAsync, GetListAsync, CreateAsync, UpdateAsync and DeleteAsync. It's not required to extend it. Instead, you could inherit from the empty IApplicationService interface and define your own methods manually.
  • There are some variations of the ICrudAppService where you can use separated DTOs for each method.

BookAppService

Implement the IBookAppService as named BookAppService in the Acme.BookStore.Application project:

using System;
using Volo.Abp.Application.Dtos;
using Volo.Abp.Application.Services;
using Volo.Abp.Domain.Repositories;

namespace Acme.BookStore
{
    public class BookAppService : 
        CrudAppService<Book, BookDto, Guid, PagedAndSortedResultRequestDto,
                       CreateUpdateBookDto, CreateUpdateBookDto>,
        IBookAppService
    {
        public BookAppService(IRepository<Book, Guid> repository) 
            : base(repository)
        {

        }
    }
}
  • BookAppService is derived from CrudAppService<...> which implements all the CRUD (create, read, update, delete) methods defined above.
  • BookAppService injects IRepository<Book, Guid> which is the default repository for the Book entity. ABP automatically creates default repositories for each aggregate root (or entity). See the repository document.
  • BookAppService uses IObjectMapper to map Book objects to BookDto objects and CreateUpdateBookDto objects to Book objects. The Startup template uses the AutoMapper library as the object mapping provider. We have defined the mappings before, so it will work as expected.

Auto API Controllers

We normally create Controllers to expose application services as HTTP API endpoints. This allows browsers or 3rd-party clients to call them via AJAX. ABP can automagically configures your application services as MVC API Controllers by convention.

Swagger UI

The startup template is configured to run the Swagger UI using the Swashbuckle.AspNetCore library. Run the application by pressing CTRL+F5 and navigate to https://localhost:<port>/swagger/ on your browser. (Replace <port> with your own port number.)

You will see some built-in service endpoints as well as the Book service and its REST-style endpoints:

bookstore-swagger

Swagger has a nice interface to test the APIs. You can try to execute the [GET] /api/app/book API to get a list of books.

Dynamic JavaScript proxies

It's common to call HTTP API endpoints via AJAX from the JavaScript side. You can use $.ajax or another tool to call the endpoints. However, ABP offers a better way.

ABP dynamically creates JavaScript proxies for all API endpoints. So, you can use any endpoint just like calling a JavaScript function.

Testing in developer console of the browser

You can easily test the JavaScript proxies using your favorite browser's Developer Console. Run the application, open your browser's developer tools (shortcut is F12 for Chrome), switch to the Console tab, type the following code and press enter:

acme.bookStore.book.getList({}).done(function (result) { console.log(result); });
  • acme.bookStore is the namespace of the BookAppService converted to camelCase.
  • book is the conventional name for the BookAppService (removed AppService postfix and converted to camelCase).
  • getList is the conventional name for the GetListAsync method defined in the AsyncCrudAppService base class (removed Async postfix and converted to camelCase).
  • {} argument is used to send an empty object to the GetListAsync method which normally expects an object of type PagedAndSortedResultRequestDto that is used to send paging and sorting options to the server (all properties are optional, so you can send an empty object).
  • getList function returns a promise. You can pass a callback to the done (or then) function to get the result from the server.

Running this code produces the following output:

bookstore-test-js-proxy-getlist

You can see the book list returned from the server. You can also check the network tab of the developer tools to see the client to server communication:

bookstore-test-js-proxy-getlist-network

Let's create a new book using the create function:

acme.bookStore.book.create({ name: 'Foundation', type: 7, publishDate: '1951-05-24', price: 21.5 }).done(function (result) { console.log('successfully created the book with id: ' + result.id); });

You should see a message in the console something like that:

successfully created the book with id: 439b0ea8-923e-8e1e-5d97-39f2c7ac4246

Check the Books table in the database to see the new book row. You can try get, update and delete functions yourself.

Create the books page

It's time to create something visible and usable! Instead of classic MVC, we will use the new Razor Pages UI approach which is recommended by Microsoft.

Create Books folder under the Pages folder of the Acme.BookStore.Web project. Add a new Razor Page by right clicking the Books folder then selecting Add > Razor Page menu item. Name it as Index:

bookstore-add-index-page

Open the Index.cshtml and change the whole content as shown below:

Index.cshtml:

@page
@using Acme.BookStore.Web.Pages.Books
@inherits Acme.BookStore.Web.Pages.BookStorePage
@model IndexModel

<h2>Books</h2>
  • This code changes the default inheritance of the Razor View Page Model so it inherits from the BookStorePage class (instead of PageModel). The BookStorePage class which comes with the startup template, provides some shared properties/methods used by all pages.

  • Set the IndexModel's namespace to Acme.BookStore.Pages.Books in Index.cshtml.cs.

Index.cshtml.cs:

using Microsoft.AspNetCore.Mvc.RazorPages;

namespace Acme.BookStore.Web.Pages.Books
{
    public class IndexModel : PageModel
    {
        public void OnGet()
        {

        }
    }
}

Add books page to the main menu

Open the BookStoreMenuContributor class in the Menus folder and add the following code to the end of the ConfigureMainMenuAsync method:

//...
namespace Acme.BookStore.Web.Menus
{
    public class BookStoreMenuContributor : IMenuContributor
    { 
        private async Task ConfigureMainMenuAsync(MenuConfigurationContext context)
        {
            //<-- added the below code
            context.Menu.AddItem(
                new ApplicationMenuItem("BooksStore", l["Menu:BookStore"])
                    .AddItem(
                        new ApplicationMenuItem("BooksStore.Books", l["Menu:Books"], url: "/Books")
                    )
            );
            //-->
        }
    }
}

Localize the menu items

Localization texts are located under the Localization/BookStore folder of the Acme.BookStore.Domain.Shared project:

bookstore-localization-files

Open the en.json (English translations) file and add the below localization texts to the end of the file:

{
  "Culture": "en",
  "Texts": {
    "Menu:Home": "Home",
    "Home": "Home",
    "Welcome": "Welcome",
    "LongWelcomeMessage": "Welcome to the application. This is a startup project based on the ABP framework. For more information visit abp.io.",
    "EndDate": "End date",
    "StartDate": "Start date",
    "Permission:Dashboard": "Dashboard",
    "Menu:Dashboard": "Dashboard",
    "Dashboard": "Dashboard",

    "Menu:BookStore": "Book Store",
    "Menu:Books": "Books",
    "Actions": "Actions",
    "Edit": "Edit",
    "PublishDate": "Publish date",
    "NewBook": "New book",
    "Name": "Name",
    "Type": "Type",
    "Price": "Price",
    "CreationTime": "Creation time",
    "AreYouSureToDelete": "Are you sure you want to delete this item?"
  }
}
  • ABP's localization system is built on ASP.NET Core's standard localization system and extends it in many ways. See the localization document for details.
  • Localization key names are arbitrary. You can set any name. As a best practice, we prefer to add Menu: prefix for menu items to distinguish from other texts. If a text is not defined in the localization file, it fallbacks to the localization key (as ASP.NET Core's standard behavior).

Run the project, login to the application with the username admin and password 1q2w3E* and see the new menu item has been added to the menu.

bookstore-menu-items

When you click to the Books menu item under the Book Store parent, you are being redirected to the new Books page.

Book list

We will use the Datatables.net jQuery plugin to show the book list. Datatables can completely work via AJAX, it is fast, popular and provides a good user experience. Datatables plugin is configured in the startup template, so you can directly use it in any page without including any style or script file to your page.

Index.cshtml

Change the Pages/Books/Index.cshtml as following:

@page
@inherits Acme.BookStore.Web.Pages.BookStorePage
@model Acme.BookStore.Web.Pages.Books.IndexModel
@section scripts
{
    <abp-script src="/Pages/Books/index.js" />
}
<abp-card>
    <abp-card-header>
        <h2>@L["Books"]</h2>
    </abp-card-header>
    <abp-card-body>
        <abp-table striped-rows="true" id="BooksTable">
            <thead>
                <tr>
                    <th>@L["Name"]</th>
                    <th>@L["Type"]</th>
                    <th>@L["PublishDate"]</th>
                    <th>@L["Price"]</th>
                    <th>@L["CreationTime"]</th>
                </tr>
            </thead>
        </abp-table>
    </abp-card-body>
</abp-card>
  • abp-script tag helper is used to add external scripts to the page. It has many additional features compared to standard script tag. It handles minification and versioning. See the bundling & minification document for details.
  • abp-card and abp-table are tag helpers for Twitter Bootstrap's card component. There are other useful tag helpers in ABP to easily use most of the bootstrap components. You can also use regular HTML tags instead of these tag helpers, but using tag helpers reduces HTML code and prevents errors by help the of IntelliSense and compile time type checking. Further information, see the tag helpers document.
  • You can localize the column names in the localization file as you did for the menu items above.
Add a Script File

Create index.js JavaScript file under the Pages/Books/ folder:

bookstore-index-js-file

index.js content is shown below:

$(function () {
    var dataTable = $('#BooksTable').DataTable(abp.libs.datatables.normalizeConfiguration({
        ajax: abp.libs.datatables.createAjax(acme.bookStore.book.getList),
        columnDefs: [
            { data: "name" },
            { data: "type" },
            { data: "publishDate" },
            { data: "price" },
            { data: "creationTime" }
        ]
    }));
});
  • abp.libs.datatables.createAjax is a helper function to adapt ABP's dynamic JavaScript API proxies to Datatable's format.
  • abp.libs.datatables.normalizeConfiguration is another helper function. There's no requirement to use it, but it simplifies the Datatables configuration by providing conventional values for missing options.
  • acme.bookStore.book.getList is the function to get list of books (as described in [dynamic JavaScript proxies](#Dynamic JavaScript proxies)).
  • See Datatables documentation for all configuration options.

It's end of this part. The final UI of this work is shown as below:

Book list

Next Part

See the part 2 for creating, updating and deleting books.

In this document