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Displaying Special Characters

Posted on 2004-09-07
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Last Modified: 2009-12-16
Hello,

I have some data in my Database that contain the following characters:

  - ampersand (&)
  - quotations " to represent inches

My problem is that "Oranges & Apples" will only display as "Oranges" and 15"TV will only cause an error. How can I fix this so they appear on the page they same way they exist in the DataBase?

Thanks
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Question by:champ_010
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Expert Comment

by:Thogek
ID: 11999551
That might depend on how you are getting these values from the database to your Web page's display.
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Author Comment

by:champ_010
ID: 11999653
I am outputting them like this inside a DataList ItemTemplate:

<%#DataBinder.Eval(Container.DataItem,"subCatName")%>

I don't know how else to do it.
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Expert Comment

by:Thogek
ID: 11999667
I'm presuming that the DataList is being bound to some data source object, and that that data source object is being populated from the database somehow....
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Author Comment

by:champ_010
ID: 11999839
Yes it is nested inside another DataList and get's it's source from a DataRelation Table:

<asp:DataList ID="SiteList" RepeatColumns="3" RepeatDirection="Horizontal" runat="server">
    <ItemTemplate>
     <a href="categoriesMain.aspx?catID=<%#DataBinder.Eval(Container.DataItem,"categoryID")%>"<%#DataBinder.Eval(Container.DataItem,"categoryName")%></a>

         <asp:DataList ID="SiteSubCats" datasource='<%#((DataRowView)Container.DataItem).Row.GetChildRows("CatSub")%>'  runat="server">
      <ItemTemplate>
                  <a href="products.aspx?subCatID=<%#DataBinder.Eval(Container.DataItem,"[\"subCatID\"]")%>"
      &subCatName=<%#DataBinder.Eval(Container.DataItem,"[\"subCatName\"]")%>
                 </a>
      </ItemTemplate>
           </asp:DataList>
            
</ItemTemplate>
</asp:DataList>
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Author Comment

by:champ_010
ID: 11999858
Sorry--there's an extra " in there from bad copying and pasting--please ignore.
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Accepted Solution

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Thogek earned 125 total points
ID: 12000010
If you're trying to write out values that might contain special characters such as ampersands into a link URL, then you need to URL encode those values.  Otherwise, the ampersand will signal the end of the current value to the server processing the request.  E.g.,
    products.aspx?subCatID=14&subCatName=Oranges&Apples
indicates a "subCatID" parameter with a value of "14", a "subCatName" parameter with a value of "Oranges", and an "Apples" parameter with no value -- probably not quite what you wanted.

Try replacing

    <a href="products.aspx?subCatID=<%#DataBinder.Eval(Container.DataItem,"[\"subCatID\"]")%>&subCatName=<%#DataBinder.Eval(Container.DataItem,"[\"subCatName\"]")%>

with

    <a href="products.aspx?subCatID=<%# HttpContext.Current.Server.UrlEncode(DataBinder.Eval(Container.DataItem,"[\"subCatID\"]")) %>&subCatName=<%# HttpContext.Current.Server.UrlEncode(DataBinder.Eval(Container.DataItem,"[\"subCatName\"]")) %>
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Author Comment

by:champ_010
ID: 12000039
Hi have several places in my website that display output from the database using:

<%#DataBinder.Eval(Container.DataItem,"subCatName")%> and they do the same thing so my problem doesn't necessary pertain to the code layout above, just simply to the out put via DataBinder.Eval.

If it's in the database as:

"Oranges & Apples", it will output as "Oranges"

Also if it is in the database as: 14" TV it will dislay 14" TV but the css formatting will disappear as thought the " closed the tag before style tag kicked in.

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Author Comment

by:champ_010
ID: 12000044
Thanks--just got your last post. Am trying it out now....
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Author Comment

by:champ_010
ID: 12000196
Thogek,

It wasn't the url encode at all!  When I went back to look, I noticed in the status bar that "Oranges & Apples" show up fine as &category=Oranges & Apples&catID=14  etc.

By accident I noticed that there was a space after &category=Oranges  & Apples before &catID so I went to my code and changed:

<a href="products.aspx?subCatID=<%#DataBinder.Eval(Container.DataItem,"[\"subCatID\"]")%>
&subCatName=<%#DataBinder.Eval(Container.DataItem,"[\"subCatName\"]")%>

to put it all on one line--the problem was fixed!  The problem was that I split the querystring into several lines to make it easier for viewing on the code page--I guess I should keep it all on one line.

Looking at the "other" places on my website where I am outputing "Oranges & Apples" as only "Oranges"--they are not url links.  I retreive the values from a querystring so:

string SubCatName=Request.QueryString["subCatName"].ToString();

To output by: <%=SubCatName%> will only give me "Oranges".

How to fix this?
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Expert Comment

by:Thogek
ID: 12000257
In the case of
    string SubCatName=Request.QueryString["subCatName"].ToString();
how is the subCatName populated into the QueryString in the first place?  (I suspect this is still a case where a preceeding link should have used Server.UrlEncode, as discussed above.)
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Author Comment

by:champ_010
ID: 12000386
You are probably right--I see % in the address bar...am changing now...
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Author Comment

by:champ_010
ID: 12000426
I got this error:

Compiler Error Message: CS1502: The best overloaded method match for 'System.Web.HttpServerUtility.UrlEncode(string)' has some invalid arguments

for this:

<a href="categoriesMain.aspx?catID=<%#HttpContext.Current.Server.UrlEncode(DataBinder.Eval(Container.DataItem,"categoryID"))%>&category=<%#HttpContext.Current.Server.UrlEncode(DataBinder.Eval(Container.DataItem,"categoryName"))%>"><%#DataBinder.Eval(Container.DataItem,"categoryName"))%></a>

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Author Comment

by:champ_010
ID: 12000715
Is there some way to convert it on the page that receives the querystring?
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Author Comment

by:champ_010
ID: 12001162
Can we replace %20 with ""? it's the spaces that are giving me problems--doesn't look like the & is.
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Author Comment

by:champ_010
ID: 12001639
ANSWER:

You need to do Convert.ToString();

So:

<a href="categoriesMain.aspx?catID=<%#DataBinder.Eval(Container.DataItem,"categoryID")%>&category=<%#Server.UrlEncode(Convert.ToString(DataBinder.Eval(Container.DataItem,"categoryName")))%>">

Point awarded anyways for letting me know about Server.Encode.
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