Convert GridViewRows into a DataTable to edit data in ASP .NET

I recently ran into a business problem that I can't find any sample code online.  I think I worked out a tolerable solution.

The business scenario is this:

  • All rows retrieve from the database must be in edit mode, but only some fields should be in edit mode, not all.  Editing one row at a time is out of the question.
  • User might make changes and THEN want to sort the grid.  Any user input needs to be preserved.
  • Have to use .NET control that come out of the box with Visual Studio due to maintenance concerns.

The solution i came up with basically get the GridViewRows on postback and put everything into a datatable, then I am free to do whatever I want with it.  Also, there is no hard-coded control ID or column name or cell index, which makes it more reuseable.

Solution limitation:

  • Only 2 type of edit controls are considered: TextBox and DropDownList.  Their ID have to be "txt/ddl" + database column name
  • Any additional field has to come before the first column or after the last column 


Code (in VB.NET)


    <asp:GridView ID="grdClaims" runat="server" style="position: absolute;  top: 224px; left:10px;"

        AutoGenerateColumns="False" AllowPaging="False" EnableViewState="True"

        AllowSorting="True" EmptyDataText="No claims found." EnableTheming="False" >

        <RowStyle CssClass="gridcell" />


            <asp:TemplateField HeaderText="Select" ItemStyle-CssClass="gridtext">


                    <asp:CheckBox ID="chkSelectAll" runat="server" onclick="fnSelectAll(this.checked)" />



                    &nbsp;<asp:CheckBox ID="chkSelect" runat="server" />


                <ItemStyle CssClass="gridtext" />


            <asp:BoundField DataField="CLAIMNR" HeaderText="Claim#" SortExpression="CLAIMNR">

                <HeaderStyle Wrap="false" />

                <ItemStyle Wrap="true" />


 A Drop Down List in the GridView

            <asp:TemplateField HeaderText="Delete" SortExpression="DELETECLMFLAG">


                    <asp:DropDownList ID="ddlDELETECLMFLAG" runat="server" Text='<%#DataBinder.Eval(Container.DataItem, "DELETECLMFLAG").ToString().Trim()%> '>






Code behind:

[Updated on 2/22/2010 to fix a bug and for the code to be more efficient]


Dim dtClaims As System.Data.DataTable

        Dim iColOffSet As Integer = 2 'This is because the display grid has 2 extra cells at the beginning


        dtClaims = dtInsertClaimDetails.Clone() 'dtModifyClaimDetails was cloned the first time the dataset was populated


        ' Limitation for GridView:

        '  Data not from the datasource must be at the beginning or the end of the layout, and iColOffSet has to be set

        '  The code currently assumes that only TextBox or Drop Down List will be used and their ID must be "txt" + ColumnName for

        '      TextBox or "ddl" + ColumnName for Drop Down List

        For Each drGridView As GridViewRow In gvInsertClaimDetails.Rows

            Dim dr As System.Data.DataRow = dtClaims.NewRow()

            For i As Integer = iColOffSet To dr.ItemArray.Count + iColOffSet - 1

                Dim sColumnName As String = dtClaims.Columns(i - iColOffSet).ColumnName.ToString()

                Dim sInputOrData As String


                If Not drGridView.Cells(iColOffSet).FindControl("txt" + sColumnName) Is Nothing Then

                    'Found the textbox

                    sInputOrData = CType(drGridView.Cells(iColOffSet).FindControl("txt" + sColumnName), TextBox).Text

                ElseIf Not drGridView.Cells(iColOffSet).FindControl("ddl" + sColumnName) Is Nothing Then

                    'Found the drop down list

                    sInputOrData = CType(drGridView.Cells(iColOffSet).FindControl("ddl" + sColumnName), DropDownList).SelectedValue


                    sInputOrData = drGridView.Cells(i).Text

                End If


                ' If the data is empty, do not insert back into datatable if the type is numbers, leave them NULL

                If (dtClaims.Columns(i - iColOffSet).DataType.ToString() = "System.Int32" _

                    Or dtClaims.Columns(i - iColOffSet).DataType.ToString() = "System.Double") _

                    And (String.IsNullOrEmpty(sInputOrData) Or sInputOrData = "&nbsp;") Then


                    ' Do nothing


                    ' Set the column

                    dr.Item(i - iColOffSet) = System.Convert.ChangeType(sInputOrData, dtClaims.Columns(i - iColOffSet).DataType)

                End If





        Return dtClaims



[2010-04-16] Update:

The performance of this is good for a form with 30 columns (20 editable fields) for about 20 rows (a couple of seconds), but pretty bad for the same form with about 300 rows (1 minute).  This form was built with a couple of drop down list filters at the top of the page to filter result, so the general purpose is served.  This benchmark was done on P4 single core server with 3 GB RAM with default performance setting for the web server (and SQL on the same server).

Print | posted on Friday, February 19, 2010 1:31 PM


# re: Convert GridViewRows into a DataTable to edit data in ASP .NET

Left by SPK at 11/18/2011 6:02 AM
Gravatar I m getting error, itemarray doesnt hv count property.

# re: Convert GridViewRows into a DataTable to edit data in ASP .NET

Left by LifeLongTechie at 3/1/2012 2:56 PM
Gravatar SPK,

I left out some code about getting the original dataset and cloning and clearing it. I can't remember it off the top of my head, but I'm pretty sure dtInsertClaimDetails was a cloned structure of dtModifyClaimDetails, which was used in Page_Load databinding.

Can you send me your code and perhaps I can help you debug?

Your comment:


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