State & Country validation. Problems getting back correct state.SelectedItem.Text

I am trying to validate a web form that accepts a users address. Among other fields there is one DropDownList  for State/Province:

<asp:Label ID="lblstate" AssociatedControlID="state" runat="server" Text="State/Province" />
<asp:RequiredFieldValidator ID="state_required" runat="server" ControlToValidate="state" ErrorMessage="State/Province is required." Text="*" />
<asp:DropDownList ID="state" runat="server" />

And one DropDownList for Country:

<asp:Label ID="lblcountry" AssociatedControlID="country" runat="server" Text="Country" />
<asp:RequiredFieldValidator ID="country_required" runat="server" ControlToValidate="country" ErrorMessage="Country is required." Text="*" />
<asp:CompareValidator ID="StateCountryMatch" runat="server" ControlToValidate="state" ControlToCompare="country" ErrorMessage="The state and country you entered don't match up." Text="*" />
<asp:DropDownList ID="country" runat="server" />

In the code behind I popuplate each DropDownList from an XML file (states.xml and countries.xml)

//Populate States List
DataSet states = new DataSet();
state.DataSource = states;
state.DataTextField = "name";
state.DataValueField = "countryid";
//Prepend States List with "Select One"
state.Items.Insert(0, new ListItem("Select One", ""));

//Populate Countries List
DataSet countries = new DataSet();
country.DataSource = countries;
country.DataTextField = "name";
country.DataValueField = "id";
You can see that the VALUE attribute of the state drop down list becomes the countryID of that state. So for example, the resulting HTML in the browser looks like this:

<select name="state" id="state">
<option value="">Select One</option>
<option value="1">Alabama</option>
<option value="1">Alaska</option>
<option value="1">Arizona</option>
... etc ...
<option value="2">Alberta</option>
<option value="2">British Columbia</option>
<option value="2">Manitoba</option>

And then the Country drop down looks like this:
<select name="country" id="country">
<option selected="selected" value="1">United States</option>
<option value="2">Canada</option>

So when the validation runs it compares that the value of State matches the Value of Country. And this method seems to works great.

Now, the problem is that when I try to access the name of the chosen state, it always comes back as Alabama (the first state in the list). I am using the following code:

Why won't it return the selected items Text value? If I select Calfornia from the list I would expect to have access the the string "California" through the SelectedItem.Text property.

If this method of validation won't work... for whatever reason. What other options do I have??

Thanks for the help!

Please let me know if I left out any details
8/21/2006 8:51:38 PM 93655 articles. 5 followers. Follow

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Are you binding the dropdown lists on every request, including postbacks?  If you are on a postback, you're probably resetting everything when the page reloads itself.  Do something like:

if (!this.IsPostBack)
   // Bind drop down lists

8/22/2006 1:49:09 AM
Thanks, I added that but I'm still getting the same results. I posted an demo along with the full source code here: so you can see exactly what's going on.
8/22/2006 6:54:59 PM
That's weird, because the list is resetting itself on post back.  Did you step through the debugger to see what happens on post back?

8/22/2006 7:07:03 PM
Well upon PostBack it does skip over the DataBind() method. So I'm really at a loss here.

It seems as if for some reason it doesn't like the fact that all of the VALUE attributes in the states dropdown menu have the same value (1 for US states, and 2 for Canadian Provinces).

If I choose a Canadian Province, and Canada as the country, it will output the first Canadian Province in the list (Alberta), just like it outputs the first US State (Alabama) when choosing from US states. It seems as if it can't distinguish between non-unique values even though the name is unique, and the index obviously has to be unique.
8/22/2006 9:11:06 PM

When the control is rebuilt after a postback, .NET will use the post data to reset the values of the various controls to what the user had selected.  in the case of a DDL, .NET will grab the ddl's selected value that was posted and then uses that value to find the listitem with a matching value.  This listitem is then marked as selected.

If you look at how the ddl implements FindByValue, you will see a For/Each loop that iterates over the listitems checking the values as it goes.  It will stop at the first listitem with a matching value.

Bottom line is that putting multiple items into a DDL that all share the same value is not recommended.

Mike Banavige

Need a site code sample in a different language? Try converting it with:
8/22/2006 9:40:38 PM

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