FriendlyURL : A new and exciting feature of ASP.NET

This is going to be the last post of 2012 by me. I am very happy that I am writing about a very exciting feature that is coming with ASP.NET.

I am really excited to learn and write on this. I really hated the ugly URLs and the extensions of the page that always visible when one opens the application unless and until you write your own custom url processor. With ASP.NET 4.0, Routing was introduced, which provided the capability to ASP.NET to have easier, manageable and SEO friendly urls, I wrote a post on it. You can click below to have a look on it.

URL Routing with ASP.NET 4.0

But that is little tidy to write. And it looks like writing extra code that does not produces any business functionality.

FriendlyURL as the name suggests gives a clean and SEO friendly URL.Currently it is available via NuGet and in pre release version.

So For this post, I have used my Visual Studio 2012 IDE. I created a new project as File-> New -> Website -> ASP.NET Empty Website.

Once the project got created. I require to install the NuGet for my application. So got to Tools-> Library Package Manager-> Package Manager Console

Package Manager Console

It opens a console then type Install-Package Microsoft.AspNet.FriendlyUrls -Pre and press enter as

FriendlyURL NugetInstallation

As you can see, I typed the command and can be seen in  the first red encircled area and press enter. It’ll install the NuGet and you can see the last red encircled area which shows FirendlyUrl is successfully added.

This can be used with two ASP.NET versions: ASP.NET 4.5 and ASP.NET 4.0.

Now you are ready for working with friendly URLs.

If you have  read the Readme.text. It gives a clear  idea how to start with. But I’ll take you through the steps. So let’s start

Step 1-> Add and Create a Class name preferably RouteConfig.cs ( You can have any name. I used MyRouteConfig.cs) and make it static. Also add the name space in the class Microsoft.AspNet.FriendlyUrls

Step 2-> Create a static Function in the class preferably named as RegisterRoutes with a Parameter of type RouteCollection and add  a line  routes.EnableFriendlyUrls() in the method as

public static class MyRouteConfig
{
    public static void RegisterRoutes(RouteCollection routes)
    {
        routes.EnableFriendlyUrls();
    }
}

Step 3-> Add Global.asax file and add the following line in Application_Start as

  void Application_Start(object sender, EventArgs e)
    {
        MyRouteConfig.RegisterRoutes(RouteTable.Routes)
    }

Now you can start the development of your application. I have created two pages First.aspx and Second.aspx in my solution

That’s it. Now your code is ready for run.

First PageIf you see the above circled area in the above pic, it does not contain page extension (aspx). So now the url looks pretty. As an end user, I don’t care about the page extension and even some time it just irritates me.

Now if you want to redirect to another page, you can redirect by typing URL without page extension as

Response.Redirect("~\\Second");

There is one caveat here. You can not have a folder and Page with same name at the same level. If you have the name of a folder and the name of aspx page at same level, you would not be able to access the page without extension. So please keep it in mind.

Now you must have a question in Querystring. What will happen with Querystring?

You don’t need to worry at all. QueryStrings will work as earlier . Let’s have a look to the URL http://localhost:57353/First?Id=1001 then you can read the QueryString as below similar as earlier

string Id = Request.QueryString["Id"] as string;

Next point, if I have a URL say http://localhost:57353/First/Products/NewProduct and there is no page as NewProduct. What will happen It’ll open First.aspx.

But, How it works?

It starts from last segment (NewProduct) and will check if there is any NewProduct.aspx. If not then it moves to next segment and continue till it finds the exact aspx page.

Let’s explore more. Go to the server side of the page and include the namespace Microsoft.AspNet.FriendlyUrls. You’ll get bunch of methods that will be very useful at certain times.

  • Request.GetFriendlyUrlSegments() – It returns a collections of string which represents the URL segments. So if I have a URL http://localhost:57353/First/Products/NewProduct and the page exists First.aspx then it returns.
    URLSegments
    So you can see above, there is two segments and one can iterate through it. These url segments can be used to pass the values to a page via URL instead of QueryString. It also looks pretty.
  • Request.GetFriendlyUrlFileVirtualPath() – It returns the File virtual path. For the URL, discussed in the above example it will show as
    File Virtual Path
    You can see it shows the Virtual path of the file.
  • Request.GetFriendlyUrlFileExtension() -It returns the extension of the file. For the above url, it will be shown as File Extension
    As you can see, the extension of the page. As now with friendly url, the page extension is not shown. You can get the extension by the above method.

There are other important methods/features available that can be used to generate the URL etc. I’ll discuss some of those here

An available class FriendlyURL provides few static functions/properties that is very useful. Let’s see

  • FriendlyUrl.Segments ; Returns the segments of of the current URL similar as returned by Request.GetFriendlyUrlSegments()
  • FriendlyUrl.Resolve : This can be used to resolve the FriendlyUrl
    • FriendlyUrl.Href – It takes few parameters virtual path and list of url segments and generate the friendly URL out of it. And it is very useful while generating the URL in data binding and several other places. We can write
      FriendlyUrl.Href("~/First", "Product", 1001);
      

      And what it will return
      FriendlyURLgeneration

Hope you must have liked this new coming feature of ASP.NET. This will will let you get rid of aspx extension at URL , Frankly speaking, during my earlier days of career, I used to see the extension to check if the website is developed in asp.net.

I find this feature as one of the most of the exciting features of ASP.NET. Hope you all enjoy it and also like the post.

Enjoy and Love ASP.NET. And A very Happy New Year to all.
Cheers.
Brij