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Dynamically populating menu items from the database in ASP.NET

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28 Mar 2012CPOL2 min read 346.1K   12.3K   41   48
Creating a Menu and populating items from a database dynamically after user login in ASP.NET.


In this article, you will learn how to populate menu items dynamically from a database. The dynamicity of the Menu control is particularly useful when you need to restrict users from using some specific menu items.

Menu Table Structure in Database


Creating the Database Tables 

You will need a table in the database to store the MenuItems

Menu Table Structure in Database

Here, the MenuLocation column contains the URL of the target page when the corresponding menu item is clicked. 

Sample data(For Reference):  

Step 1: You need to specify some parent menu items with parentid = 0

Step 2: You can then assign submenuitems to these parents

For instance consider the following structure-

MenuID  MenuName    MenuLocation ParentID
  1	ParentItem1	NULL	   0
  2	ParentItem2	NULL	   0
  3	ParentItem3	NULL	   0
 11	SubMenuItem1	NULL	   1
 12	SubMenuItem2	NULL	   1
 21	SubMenuItem3	NULL	   2

Here ParentItem1,2,3 are Parents and SubMenuItem1,2,3 are their childs as specified.
As far as MenuLocation Column is conerned you can assign urls in it e.g Default.aspx or User/NewUserAdd.aspx etc. according to the directory structure of your application. 


Step 1: Place the ASP.NET Menu control in the MasterPage.

<div class="MenuBar">
	<asp:Menu ID="menuBar" runat="server" Orientation="Horizontal" Width="100%">
		<DynamicHoverStyle CssClass="DynamicHover" />
		<DynamicMenuItemStyle CssClass="DynamicMenuItem" />
		<DynamicSelectedStyle CssClass="DynamicHover" />

		<StaticHoverStyle CssClass="staticHover" />
		<StaticMenuItemStyle CssClass="StaticMenuItem" ItemSpacing="1px" />
		<StaticSelectedStyle CssClass="staticHover" />

MasterPage Code-Behind

Step 2: Using the following code, you are pulling the menu and submenu from the database in proper order. Call the following function from the Page_Load event of the MasterPage when !IsPostBack.

private void getMenu()
    DataSet ds = new DataSet();
    DataTable dt = new DataTable();
    string sql = "Select * from tbl_WebMenu";
    SqlDataAdapter da = new SqlDataAdapter(sql, con);
    dt = ds.Tables[0];
    DataRow[] drowpar = dt.Select("ParentID=" + 0);

    foreach (DataRow dr in drowpar)
        menuBar.Items.Add(new MenuItem(dr["MenuName"].ToString(), 
                dr["MenuID"].ToString(), "", 

    foreach (DataRow dr in dt.Select("ParentID >" + 0))
        MenuItem mnu = new MenuItem(dr["MenuName"].ToString(), 
                       "", dr["MenuLocation"].ToString());

Points of Interest

This type of menu population is particularly useful when both the user count and menu item count are variable because you can set the access permissions (restricting users from accessing some pages at runtime) which will be described in the next article.


The menu control may not work as  intended in some browsers such as chrome. So in that case you may have to add a '.browser' file under 'App_Browsers' folder of your project.

Image 3

Open file safari.browser from Solution Explorer and remove all the code clear and add the following:

  <browser refID="safari1plus">
      <adapter controlType="System.Web.UI.WebControls.Menu" adapterType="" />

Save the safari.browser file and there you go..


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)

Written By
Software Developer
India India
I'm a ASP.NET and C# programmer with interests in playing games such as Unreal Tournament, FIFA and listening to rap music that have meaningful lyrics...Smile | :)

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