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List object in session C# .NET 3.5

I'm new to .NET but not to web app development.  I'm going to ask a question about how I am trying to do something.  If you could, please help me answer that question - even if there is a better way to do what I'm doing.  It will accomplish what I need and help to educate me.

Then if there's a better way, I'm all ears :)  But as I'm still learning, even learning it the non-optimal way will benefit me.

It's a rather simple problem.  I'm using MVC and in my controllers I want to be able to add feedback messages to an object in Session.  Then I have a shared view which I'm including in the views I want to render the messages to the user.  So the flow is like this:

- In global, at startup, I create a new List<string> object and put it in Session:
List<string> messageList = new List<string>();
Session["messages"] = messageList;

- Run the site
- Call to controller
- Controller does its thing (say... delete a database record)
- Controller puts "X Deleted Successfully" into a List<string> object in session:
((List<string>)Session["messages"]).Add("You succesfully deleted record " + id);

- Controller redirects to view
- View includes the shared MessageProcessor view (control)
- MessageProcessor tries to grab the list object from session, check if there are messages, and if yes... render them.
<asp:Content ID="Content1" ContentPlaceHolderID="TitleContent" runat="server">
<%
    // Get the messages array from the session object.
    List<string> messageList = (List<string>)Session["messages"];
    if (messageList.Count() > 0)
    {
        // Process messages by displaying them
        foreach(var message in messageList)
        {
            Response.Write("<li>" + message);
        }
    }
 %>      
</asp:Content>

I'm getting the following exception:

Exception Details: System.ArgumentNullException: Value cannot be null.
Parameter name: source

Source Error:

Line 5:      // Get the messages array from the session object.
Line 6:      List<string> messageList = (List<string>)Session["messages"];
Line 7:      if (messageList.Count() > 0)
Line 8:      {
Line 9:          // Process messages by displaying them

Which says to me, the object is not coming out of session correctly.  Is my Line 6 code to pull out the object from session fubared in some subtle way?

Thanks for any help!
// In global:

List<string> messageList = new List<string>();
Session["messages"] = messageList;

// In controller:
((List<string>)Session["messages"]).Add("You succesfully deleted record " + id);

// In control (shared view)
<asp:Content ID="Content1" ContentPlaceHolderID="TitleContent" runat="server">
<%
    // Get the messages array from the session object.
    List<string> messageList = (List<string>)Session["messages"];
    if (messageList.Count() > 0)
    {
        // Process messages by displaying them
        foreach(var message in messageList)
        {
            Response.Write("<li>" + message);
        }
    }
 %>	
</asp:Content>

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trippy1976
Asked:
trippy1976
  • 2
2 Solutions
 
Bob LearnedCommented:
My usual approach, with the Session, is to have a List<string> reference, and modify that, and then store the entire list in the Session, so I am not sure if you can modify the contents of a List within a Session variable the way that you are trying to use the Add method call to a casted List<string> reference.
0
 
aymoon80Commented:
you can use the debugger to get what is stored in session object also followup the calling of your code in the session startup.
List<string> messageList = new List<string>();
Session["messages"] = messageList;

you should close the browser after every trial to remove the session
0
 
aymoon80Commented:
Because I understood that you are new to C#
to use the debugger first put a break point on the line you want to start from

in your case the following line:
List<string> messageList = new List<string>();

press F9 to put break point

press F5 to start debugger
press F10 to execute next line of code till you got the exception
0
 
trippy1976Author Commented:
I know how to use a debugger ;)

Anyway, what turned out to be the issue was I tried to initialize the session variable in the Application_Start() method.  At this point there is apparently no session.  You can add a Session_Start() method into the global file and initialize any session variables there instead and *then* it all works dandy.  Thanks for the help everyone.
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