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Manipulating Template Variables and Blocks

Areas: ASP, Perl 

In a typical CodeCharge Studio page, the HTML content is placed in a HTML template file which contains specially designated template variables and blocks. A template variable within the HTML content is specified by placing the variable name within curly braces e.g.


On the other hand, a template block usually consists of one or more HTML lines within HTML comments of the nature:

<!-- BEGIN Record Name -->
<p> some html
<!-- END Record Name -->

Optionally, a template block such as that above can contain a template variable.

When a page is requested, the script files substitutes the template variables with values that are determined at run time and the template blocks are conditionally parsed as determined by the script code. For instance, in the block below, the template block called Record Name is parsed and the template variables Variable1 and Variable2 are replaced with script values if any are set.

<!-- BEGIN Record Name -->
<!-- END Record Name -->

In order for the script file to properly parse the HTML template, the template blocks and variables must appear in a particular manner. As such, caution should be observed when manually editing the HTM templates so as not to render them unusable. In CCS 2.0, a warning message is displayed if the user makes what is determined to be a harmful change to the HTML code.

Below are some examples of how you can manipulate template variables and blocks programmatically. The examples shown here are implemented in a sample project file located here:

1. Custom template variables.
Custom template variables can be used to place dynamic content at specific locations of a page. First, a template variable is placed in the HTML template at the location where the dynamic content should appear. Then, you use event code to assign a value to the template variable so that when the HTML template is parsed, the template variable is replaced by the assigned value. If no value is assigned, the template variable does not appear in the final page.

In ASP, template variables are referenced based on their location relative to the blocks in which they are contained. For instance, a template variable called Variable_Name located in a template block called Block_Name would be referenced using the code:

EventCaller.TemplateBlock.Block(“Block_Name”).Variable(“Variable_Name”) = “value”

Note that the blocks could be nested in which case the reference would have the same level of nesting e.g.

EventCaller.TemplateBlock.Block(“Block_Name1”). ... .Block(“Block_NameX”).Variable(“variable_name”) = “value”

In the above code, EventCaller is a variable that stores the reference to the object which calls the event used to set the value.

In the example project, the following code is used to set the value of a template variable called inside_row that is located within a block called Row. The code is located in the Before Show event of the grid form.

EventCaller.TemplateBlock.Block("Row").Variable("inside_row") = "<tr><td class=”"MultipadsDataTD”" colspan=\"3\"><b>additional Grid row</b></td></tr>"

In the next example, the following code is used to set the value of a template variable called inside_navigator that is located within a block called Navigator Navigator.

EventCaller.TemplateBlock.Block("Navigator Navigator").Variable("inside_navigator") = "&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Records found:" & rec_number

You can find the same code in the Before Show event of “employees_depar” grid form (Template Example page).

The last example below shows how the template variable is set when it is not located within any template block. In this case, the Block(“name”) construct is omitted. In this case, the variable table_title is not located within any block:

EventCaller.TemplateBlock.Variable("table_title") = "<font class=""MultipadsFormHeaderFont"">List of Employees</font>"

The handling of template variables in PHP is much simpler since you don't need to reference the blocks. The procedure simply involves creating a global reference to the $Tpl object then using the SetVar method to set the template variable value. e.g.

global $Tpl;
$Tpl->SetVar(“template_variable_name”, “value”);

In the PHP version of the sample project, similar code is used to assign values to the same template variables listed in the ASP section above. The code is also located in the Before Show event of the employees_depar grid form (TemplateExample page).

2. Custom template blocks.
In addition to the template blocks that are automatically generated for a page, you can add you own custom template blocks. In the script file, the Parse function is used to process the template blocks by substituting the values of any template variables. The Parse function works in such a manner that it sets the variables that occur within the specified block only. Even if similar variables are present in other blocks, they are not set unless the Parse function is called on those other blocks.

The Parse function has two parameters. The first one is the name of template block while the second indicates if the block is to be repeated several time or not. When the block should be displayed once, the second parameter (accumulate) should be set to false. For instance, for the block below:

<!-- BEGIN LoggedInUser -->
Logged in user name is: {user_name}
<!-- END LoggedInUser -->

The following code is used to parse it after the variable has been set:

EventCaller.TemplateBlock.Block("LoggedInUser").Variable("user_name") = name
HTMLTemplate.Parse "
LoggedInUser", false

global $Tpl;
$Tpl->SetVar("user_name", $name);
$Tpl->Parse("LoggedInUser", false);

In the example project, the code above is located in the Before Show event of the employees_depar grid form (TemplateExample page).

In the Parse function, the accumulate parameter is set to true when the block is intended to be displayed multiple times. In this case, the code would be placed within a loop so that on each iteration of the loop, new variables are substituted into the block then the new block is added to the existing blocks. This is the method that is used to display multiple rows in a grid form whereby all the rows are based on one template block.

Viewed 35021 times.   Last updated: 12/16/2002 8:51:49 PM