Community Server 2007: Building a Visits counter control

Since not much after I launched Kartones.Net I added an ASP.NET user control to make the typical visits counter for all bloggers that wanted it (including me :P). Apart from having no code-behind, it had the SQL access inside (using a stored procedure and getting the configuration of the DB from ConnectionStrings.config, but still not layered).

So one step that was much needed was converting this to a proper Community Server 2007 control, both to take advantage of CS configuration & data providers, and to make the process of adding or moving a visits counter as easy as one line of ASP.NET markup code.

Last night I did it, among with using CSS sprites to do only one http request to obtain the images, and here it is the how-to:

First of all, I wanted a new table, to make it as small as possible, although we could have used the existing cs_weblog_Weblogs table by only adding a new long/numeric field. This is my SQL to create it:

USE [yourdbname]
GO
SET ANSI_NULLS ON
GO
SET QUOTED_IDENTIFIER ON
GO
SET
ANSI_PADDING
ON
GO

CREATE TABLE
[dbo].[cs_VisitCounters] (
[CounterID] [
int] NOT NULL
,
[HitsCounter] [
int] NOT NULL
,
CONSTRAINT [PK_CounterID]
PRIMARY KEY NONCLUSTERED
(
[CounterID]
ASC
)WITH (PAD_INDEX = OFF, STATISTICS_NORECOMPUTE = OFF, IGNORE_DUP_KEY = OFF
,
ALLOW_ROW_LOCKS
= ON, ALLOW_PAGE_LOCKS = ON) ON [PRIMARY
]
)
ON [PRIMARY
]

GO
SET
ANSI_PADDING OFF

Then, we need a stored procedure to obtain the current hits. As I'm using a new table, what I do is if it doesn't exists creates it (else updates with +1):

USE [yourdbname]
GO
SET ANSI_NULLS ON
GO
SET QUOTED_IDENTIFIER ON
GO

CREATE PROC
[dbo].[cs_RegisterVisitHit] (
@CounterID
INT
)
AS
BEGIN

SET TRANSACTION
ISOLATION LEVEL READ
UNCOMMITTED

DECLARE @CounterValue
INT
SELECT
@CounterValue =
0

SELECT
@CounterValue =
[HitsCounter]
FROM
[yourdbname].[dbo].[cs_VisitCounters]
WHERE
[CounterID] =
@CounterID

IF @CounterValue =
0
BEGIN
INSERT INTO
[yourdbname].[dbo].[cs_VisitCounters]
([CounterID], [HitsCounter])
VALUES
(@CounterID, 1
)
END
ELSE
BEGIN
UPDATE
[yourdbname].[dbo].[cs_VisitCounters]
SET [HitsCounter] = (@CounterValue + 1)
WHERE [CounterID] =
@CounterID
END

SELECT
(@CounterValue+1)

END

GO

The SQL Part is done, now we need to add support for this stored procedure in the CS Data Providers.

First, we have to add an abstract method to CommunityServer.Components.CommonDataProvider:

public abstract long RegisterVisitHit(int CounterID);


And then, the actual code on the SqlDataProvider class:

public override long RegisterVisitHit(int CounterID)
{
long hits = 0
;

using
(SqlConnection connection =
GetSqlConnection())
{
SqlCommand command
= new SqlCommand(this.databaseOwner + ".cs_RegisterVisitHit", connection)
;
SqlDataReader reader
;

command.CommandType = CommandType.StoredProcedure
;

command.Parameters.Add("@CounterID", SqlDbType.Int).Value = CounterID
;

connection.Open()
;
reader = command.ExecuteReader()
;

if
(reader.Read())
hits
= Convert.ToInt64(reader[0])
;

connection.Close()
;
}

return hits
;
}

As we can see on the previous code, the great thing of using CS Data Providers is that we forget about creating connections to the DB, just get the instance and execute whatever we want.


Now we need to implement the control. As we don't want anything special, rendering as a simple LiteralControl would be enough, and we can directly inherit from CS WrappedContentBase class (one of the basic control classes). Here is the code of the full component:

using System;
using
System.Text
;
using
System.Web.UI
;
using
CommunityServer.Controls
;
using
CommunityServer.Components
;

namespace
KartonesNet.Components
{
public class
VisitsCounter : WrappedContentBase
{
private int counterID = -1
;
private int
padding = 0
;

public string
CounterID
{
get
{
return counterID.ToString()
;
}
set
{
int val
;
if
(int.TryParse(value, out
val))
{
if (val > -1
)
{
counterID
= val
;
}
}
}
}

public string
Padding
{
get
{
return padding.ToString()
;
}
set
{
int val
;
if
(int.TryParse(value, out
val))
{
if (val > 0
)
{
padding
= val
;
}
}
}
}

protected override void
BindDefaultContent(Control ParentControl, IDataItemContainer DataItemContainer)
{
StringBuilder result
= new StringBuilder(350)
;
long
hits = 0
;
string
hitsString = string.Empty
;

if
(counterID > -1
)
{
hits
= CommonDataProvider.Instance().RegisterVisitHit(counterID)
;
hitsString = hits.ToString()
;

if
(padding > 0
)
{
while
(hitsString.Length < padding)
{
hitsString
= hitsString.Insert(0, "0")
;
}
}
for (int digit = 0; digit < hitsString.Length;
digit++)
{
result.Append(
"<span class='counter' id='counter")
;
result.Append(hitsString[digit])
;
result.Append("'></span>")
;
}
ParentControl.Controls.Add(
new LiteralControl(result.ToString()))
;
}
}
}
}

Some explanations and comments about the code:

  • As you might have noticed, the public properties are strings. This is because the CS control wrapping converts them to either objects or strings, but with a proper parsing it's not any problem.
  • I added a padding property to add zeros at the left if we want, but the only requisite is the CounterID property.
  • We output directly inside a StringBuilder (remember to avoid string concatenations, even more if you can guess an approximate size of the StringBuilder capacity), and create <span> tags (I use it inside a <li> container, but otherwise you shold add too a <div> or similar container to group it).
  • We finally just add a LiteralControl to the parent control, but for more complex controls we can play here adding whatever we want.
  • CSS stuff is not handled there in purpose, delegating on each blog to implement the specific CSS (but removing unneeded complexity from the code).

The next step is to define the CSS stuff needed to display the counter digits (thanks here to my colleage Carlos Tallón for the cross-browser help):

span.counter
{
background
:url('../images/counter_bulleted.gif') no-repeat;
height
: 20px;
overflow
: hidden;
padding
: 4px 0 6px 15px;
width
: 15px
}


#counter0
{
background-position
:0px 0px
}


#counter1
{
background-position
:-15px 0px
}

#counter2
{
background-position
:-30px 0px
}

#counter3
{
background-position
:-45px 0px
}

#counter4
{
background-position
:-60px 0px
}

#counter5
{
background-position
:-75px 0px
}

#counter6
{
background-position
:-90px 0px
}

#counter7
{
background-position
:-105px 0px
}

#counter8
{
background-position
:-120px 0px
}

#counter9
{
background-position
:-135px 0px
}

The counter class for spans defines the CSS sprite file, width and height (plus stuff for IE), and each counterX id defines the position of each digit inside the sprite file. I could (and probably should) have used classes for them too, but I wanted as few HTML code as possible (and I won't be doing any JS DOM stuff with them).

The CSS sprite I used is this one:
CSS Sprite

We're almost at the end, so now that we have everything, we need to plug our custom control, which means adding a new line under the <controls> section of Web.Config:

<add tagPrefix="KartonesNet" namespace="KartonesNet.Components" assembly="KartonesNet"/>


Finally, we can use the control on every page we want with a simple line of code:

<KartonesNet:VisitsCounter ID="VisitsCounter" CounterID="0" runat="server" />

And that's all. You can see a live sample in the left column of this blog, or in other blogs of the community. By using CSS sprites we only make one http request call to get the counter digits so it's a small cost, and being plugged in into Community Server we can do anything (like logging Event entries).

I have in mind creating at least two more controls which don't need SQL code, so when I'm finished I'll add them to my CS2007 Addon Pack.

Comments?

Posted by Kartones on 2009-05-13