Creating User Accounts (C#)
In this tutorial we will explore using the Membership framework (via the SqlMembershipProvider) to create new user accounts. We will see how to create new users programmatically and through ASP.NET's built-in CreateUserWizard control.
In the preceding tutorial
we installed the application services schema in a database, which added the tables,
views, and stored procedures needed by the
This created the infrastructure we will need for the remainder of the tutorials
in this series. In this tutorial we will explore using the Membership framework
SqlMembershipProvider) to create new user accounts. We will see how to
create new users programmatically and through ASP.NET’s built-in CreateUserWizard
In addition to learning how to create new user accounts, we will also need to update
the demo website we first created in the An Overview of Forms Authentication tutorial and then enhanced
in the Forms Authentication Configuration and Advanced Topics tutorial. Our demo web application has a login
page that validates users’ credentials against hard-coded username/password
Global.asax includes code that creates custom
objects for authenticated users. We will update the login page to validate users’
credentials against the Membership framework and remove the custom principal and
Let’s get started!
The Forms Authentication and Membership Checklist
Before we begin working with the Membership framework, let’s take a moment
to review the important steps we have taken to reach this point. When using the
Membership framework with the
SqlMembershipProvider in a forms-based authentication
scenario, the following steps need to be performed prior to implementing Membership
functionality in your web application:
Enable forms-based authentication. As we discussed in An Overview of
, forms authentication is enabled by editing
Web.configand setting the
Forms. With forms authentication enabled, each incoming request is examined for a forms authentication ticket, which, if present, identifies the requestor.
Add the application services schema to the appropriate database.
When using the
SqlMembershipProviderwe need to install the application services schema to a database. Usually this schema is added to the same database that holds the application’s data model. The Creating the Membership Schema in SQL Server tutorial looked at using the
aspnet_regsql.exetool to accomplish this.
Customize the Web Application’s Settings to reference the database
from step 2. The Creating the Membership Schema in SQL Server tutorial
showed two ways to configure the web application so that the
SqlMembershipProviderwould use the database selected in step 2: by modifying the
LocalSqlServerconnection string name; or by adding a new registered provider to the list of Membership framework providers and customizing that new provider to use the database from step 2.
When building a web application that uses the
SqlMembershipProvider and forms-based
authentication, you will need to perform these three steps before using the
class or the ASP.NET Login Web controls. Since we already performed these steps
in previous tutorials, we are ready to start using the Membership framework!
Step 1: Adding New ASP.NET Pages
In this tutorial and the next three we will be examining various Membership-related
functions and capabilities. We will need a series of ASP.NET pages to implement
the topics examined throughout these tutorials. Let’s create those pages and
then a site map file
Start by creating a new folder in the project named
Membership. Next, add five new
ASP.NET pages to the
Membership folder, linking each page with the
page. Name the pages:
At this point your project’s Solution Explorer should look similar to the screen shot shown in Figure 1.
Each page should, at this point, have the two Content controls, one for each of
the master page’s ContentPlaceHolders:
<asp:Content ID="Content1" ContentPlaceHolderID="MainContent"
<asp:Content ID="Content2" ContentPlaceHolderID="LoginContent"
Recall that the
LoginContent ContentPlaceHolder’s default markup displays
a link to log on or log off the site, depending on whether the user is authenticated.
The presence of the
Content2 Content control, however, overrides the master page’s
default markup. As we discussed in An Overview of Forms Authentication tutorial, this is useful in
pages where we do not want to display login-related options in the left column.
For these five pages, however, we want to show the master page’s default markup
LoginContent ContentPlaceHolder. Therefore, remove the declarative markup
Content2 Content control. After doing so, each of the five page’s
markup should contain just one Content control.
Step 2: Creating the Site Map
All but the most trivial websites need to implement some form of a navigational user interface. The navigation user interface may be a simple list of links to the various sections of the site. Alternatively, these links may be arranged into menus or tree views. As page developers, creating the navigational user interface is only half of the story. We also need some means to define the site’s logical structure in a maintainable and updateable fashion. As new pages are added or existing pages removed, we want to be able to update a single source – the site map – and have those modifications reflected across the site’s navigational user interface.
These two tasks – defining the site map and implementing a navigational user
interface based on the site map – are easy to accomplish thanks to the Site
Map framework and the Navigation Web controls added in ASP.NET version 2.0. The
Site Map framework allows for a developer to define a site map and then to access
it through a programmatic API (the
SiteMap class). The built-in Navigation Web controls include a
Menu control, the
TreeView control, and the
Like the Membership and Roles frameworks, the Site Map framework is built atop the
The job of the Site Map provider class is to generate the in-memory structure used
SiteMap class from a persistent data store, such as an XML file or a database
table. The .NET Framework ships with a default Site Map provider that reads the
site map data from an XML file (
and this is the provider we will be using in this tutorial. For some alternate Site
Map provider implementations, refer to the Further Readings section at the end of
The default Site Map provider expects a properly-formatted XML file named
to exist the root directory. Since we are using this default provider, we need to
add such a file and define the site map’s structure in the appropriate XML
format. To add the file, right-click on the project name in Solution Explorer and
choose Add New Item. From the dialog box, opt to add a file of type Site Map named
The XML site map file defines the website’s structure as a hierarchy. This
hierarchical relationship is modeled in the XML file via the ancestry of the
Web.sitemap must start with a
<siteMap> parent node that has
<siteMapNode> child. This top-level
represents the root of the hierarchy, and may have an arbitrary number of descendent
<siteMapNode> element must include a
title attribute and may optionally
description attributes, among others; each non-empty
must be unique.
Enter the following XML into the
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?>
<siteMap xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/AspNet/SiteMap-File-1.0" >
<siteMapNode url="~/Default.aspx" title="Home">
<siteMapNode url="~/Membership/CreatingUserAccounts.aspx" title="Creating User Accounts" />
<siteMapNode url="~/Membership/UserBasedAuthorization.aspx" title="User-Based Authorization" />
<siteMapNode url="~/Membership/Guestbook.aspx" title="Storing Additional User Information" />
The above site map markup defines the hierarchy shown in Figure 3.
Step 3: Updating the Master Page to Include a Navigational User Interface
ASP.NET includes a number of navigation-related Web controls for designing a user
interface. These include the Menu, TreeView, and the SiteMapPath controls. The Menu
and TreeView controls render the site map structure in a menu or a tree, respectively,
whereas the SiteMapPath displays a breadcrumb that shows the current node being
visited as well as its ancestors. The site map data can be bound to other data Web
controls using the SiteMapDataSource and can be accessed programmatically via the
Since a thorough discussion of the Site Map framework and the Navigation controls is beyond the scope of this tutorial series, rather than spend time crafting our own navigational user interface let’s instead borrow the one used in my Working with Data in ASP.NET 2.0 tutorial series, which uses a Repeater control to display a two-deep bulleted list of navigation links, as shown in Figure 4.
Adding a Two-Level List of Links in the Left Column
To create this interface, add the following declarative markup to the
master page’s left column where the text “TODO: Menu will go here...”
<asp:HyperLink runat="server" ID="lnkHome" NavigateUrl="~/Default.aspx">Home</asp:HyperLink>
<asp:Repeater runat="server" ID="menu" DataSourceID="SiteMapDataSource1">
<asp:HyperLink ID="lnkMenuItem" runat="server"
NavigateUrl='<%# Eval("Url") %>'><%# Eval("Title") %></asp:HyperLink>
<asp:Repeater ID="submenu" runat="server" DataSource="<%#
((SiteMapNode) Container.DataItem).ChildNodes %>">
<asp:HyperLink ID="lnkMenuItem" runat="server" NavigateUrl='<%#
Eval("Url") %>'><%# Eval("Title") %></asp:HyperLink>
<asp:SiteMapDataSource ID="SiteMapDataSource1" runat="server" ShowStartingNode="false" />
The above markup binds a Repeater control named
menu to a SiteMapDataSource, which
returns the site map hierarchy defined in
Web.sitemap. Since the SiteMapDataSource
ShowStartingNode property is set to False it starts returning the site map’s
hierarchy starting with the descendents of the “Home” node. The Repeater
displays each of these nodes (currently just “Membership”) in an
element. Another, inner Repeater then displays the current node’s children
in a nested unordered list.
Figure 4 shows the above markup’s rendered output with the site map structure
we created in Step 2. The Repeater renders vanilla unordered list markup; the cascading
style sheet rules defined in
Styles.css are responsible for the aesthetically-pleasing
layout. For a more detailed description of how the above markup works, refer to
the Master Pages and
Site Navigation tutorial.
Adding Breadcrumb Navigation
In addition to the list of links in the left column, let’s also have each page display a breadcrumb. A breadcrumb is a navigational user interface element that quickly shows users their current position within the site hierarchy. The SiteMapPath control uses the Site Map framework to determine the current page’s location in the site map and then displays a breadcrumb based on this information.
Specifically, add a
<span> element to the master page’s header
element, and set the new
class attribute to “breadcrumb”.
Styles.css class contains a rule for a “breadcrumb” class.) Next,
add a SiteMapPath to this new
<span class="title">User Account Tutorials</span><br />
<asp:SiteMapPath ID="SiteMapPath1" runat="server">
Figure 5 shows the output of the SiteMapPath when visiting
Step 4: Removing the Custom Principal and Identity Logic
In the Forms Authentication Configuration and Advanced Topics tutorial we saw how to associate custom principal
and identity objects to the authenticated user. We accomplished this by creating
an event handler in
Global.asax for the application’s
event, which fires after the
FormsAuthenticationModule has authenticated the user.
In this event handler we replaced the
added by the
FormsAuthenticationModule with the
objects we created in that tutorial.
While custom principal and identity objects are useful in certain scenarios, in
most cases the
FormsIdentity objects are sufficient. Consequently,
I think it would be worthwhile to return to the default behavior. Make this change
by either removing or commenting out the
PostAuthenticateRequest event handler or
by deleting the
Global.asax file entirely.
Step 5: Programmatically Creating a New User
To create a new user account through the Membership framework use the
CreateUser method. This method has input parameters for the username, password,
and other user-related fields. On invocation, it delegates the creation of the new
user account to the configured Membership provider and then returns a
MembershipUser object representing the just-created user account.
CreateUser method has four overloads, each accepting a different number of input
CreateUser(username, password, email)
CreateUser(username, password, email, passwordQuestion, passwordAnswer, isApproved, MembershipCreateStatus)
CreateUser(username, password, email, passwordQuestion, passwordAnswer, isApproved, providerUserKey, MembershipCreateStatus)
These four overloads differ on the amount of information that is collected. The first overload, for example, requires just the username and password for the new user account, whereas the second one also requires the user’s email address.
These overloads exist because the information needed to create a new user account
depends on the Membership provider’s configuration settings. In the Creating
the Membership Schema in SQL Server
tutorial we examined specifying Membership provider configuration settings in
Table 2 included a complete list of the configuration settings.
One such Membership provider configuration setting that impacts what
overloads may be used is the
requiresQuestionAndAnswer setting. If
is set to
true (the default), then when creating a new user account we must specify
a security question and answer. This information is later used if the user needs
to reset or change their password. Specifically, at that time they are shown the
security question and they must enter the correct answer in order to reset or change
their password. Consequently, if the
requiresQuestionAndAnswer is set to
calling either of the first two
CreateUser overloads results in an exception because
the security question and answer are missing. Since our application is currently
configured to require a security question and answer, we will need to use one of
the latter two overloads when creating user’s programmatically.
To illustrate using the
CreateUser method, let’s create a user interface where
we prompt the user for their name, password, email, and an answer to a pre-defined
security question. Open the
CreatingUserAccounts.aspx page in the
and add the following Web controls to the Content control:
- A TextBox named
- A TextBox named
TextModeproperty is set to
- A TextBox named
- A Label named
Textproperty cleared out
- A TextBox named
- A Button named
CreateAccountButtonwhose Text property is set to “Create the User Account”
- A Label control named
Textproperty cleared out
At this point your screen should look similar to the screen shot shown in Figure 6.
SecurityQuestion Label and
SecurityAnswer TextBox are intended to display a
pre-defined security question and collect the user’s answer. Note that both
the security question and answer are stored on a user-by-user basis, so it is possible
to allow each user to define their own security question. However, for this example
I have decided to use a universal security question, namely: “What is your
To implement this pre-defined security question, add a constant to the page’s
code-behind class named
passwordQuestion, assigning it the security question. Then,
Page_Load event handler, assign this constant to the
const string passwordQuestion = "What is your favorite color";
protected void Page_Load(object sender, EventArgs e)
SecurityQuestion.Text = passwordQuestion;
Next, create an event handler for the
Click event and
add the following code:
protected void CreateAccountButton_Click(object sender, EventArgs e)
MembershipUser newUser = Membership.CreateUser(Username.Text, Password.Text, Email.Text, passwordQuestion, SecurityAnswer.Text, true, out createStatus);
CreateAccountResults.Text = "The user account was successfully created!";
CreateAccountResults.Text = "There already exists a user with this username.";
CreateAccountResults.Text = "There already exists a user with this email address.";
CreateAccountResults.Text = "There email address you provided in invalid.";
CreateAccountResults.Text = "There security answer was invalid.";
CreateAccountResults.Text = "The password you provided is invalid. It must be seven characters long and have at least one non-alphanumeric character.";
CreateAccountResults.Text = "There was an unknown error; the user account was NOT created.";
Click event handler starts by defining a variable named
createStatus of type
MembershipCreateStatus is an enumeration that indicates
the status of the
CreateUser operation. For example, if the user account is created
successfully, the resulting
MembershipCreateStatus instance will be set to a value
Success; on the other hand, if the operation fails because there already exists
a user with the same username, it will be set to a value of
CreateUser overload we use, we need to pass a
into the method as an
out parameter. This parameter is set to the appropriate value
CreateUser method, and we can examine its value after the method call
to determine whether the user account was successfully created.
CreateUser, passing in
switch statement is used to
output an appropriate message depending on the value assigned to
7 shows the output when a new user has successfully been created. Figures 8 and
9 show the output when the user account is not created. In Figure 8, the visitor
entered a five-letter password, which does not meet the password strength requirements
spelled out in the Membership provider’s configuration settings. In Figure
9, the visitor is attempting to create a user account with an existing username
(the one created in Figure 7).
Note: You may be wondering how to determine success or failure when using
one of the first two
CreateUser method overloads, neither of which has a parameter
MembershipCreateStatus. These first two overloads throw a
MembershipCreateUserException exception in the face of a failure, which
StatusCode property of type
After creating a few user accounts, verify that the accounts have been created by
listing the contents of the
aspnet_Membership tables in the
database. As Figure 10 shows, I have added two users via the
page: Tito and Bruce.
While the Membership user store now includes Bruce and Tito’s account information,
we have yet to implement functionality that allows for Bruce or Tito to log on to
the site. Currently,
Login.aspx validates the user’s credentials against a
hard-coded set of username/password pairs – it does not validate the
supplied credentials against the Membership framework. For now seeing the new user
accounts in the
aspnet_Membership tables will have to suffice.
In the next tutorial, Validating User Credentials Against the Membership User
Store , we will update
the login page to validate against the Membership store.
Note: If you do not see any users in your
it may be because your web application is using the default Membership provider,
AspNetSqlMembershipProvider, which uses the
ASPNETDB.mdf database as its user store.
To determine if this is the problem, click the Refresh button in the Solution Explorer.
If a database named
ASPNETDB.mdf has been added to the
App_Data folder, this is
the problem. Return to Step 4 of the Creating the Membership Schema in SQL Server tutorial for instructions
on how to properly configure the Membership provider.
In most create user account scenarios, the visitor is presented with some interface
to enter their username, password, email, and other essential information, at which
point a new account is created. In this step we looked at building such an interface
by hand and then saw how to use the
Membership.CreateUser method to programmatically
add the new user account based on the user’s inputs. Our code, however, just
created the new user account. It did not perform any follow up actions, like logging
in the user to the site under the just-created user account, or sending a confirmation
email to the user. These additional steps would require additional code in the Button’s
Click event handler.
ASP.NET ships with the CreateUserWizard control, which is designed to handle the user account creation process, from rendering a user interface for creating new user accounts, to creating the account in the Membership framework and performing post-account creation tasks, such as sending a confirmation email and logging the just-created user into the site. Using the CreateUserWizard control is as simple as dragging the CreateUserWizard control from the Toolbox onto a page, and then setting a few properties. In most cases, you won’t need to write a single line of code. We will explore this nifty control in detail in Step 6.
If new user accounts are only created through a typical Create Account web page,
it is unlikely that you will ever need to write code that uses the
as the CreateUserWizard control will likely meet your needs. However, the
method is handy in scenarios where you need a highly customized Create Account user
experience or when you need to programmatically create new user accounts through
an alternative interface. For example, you might have a page that allows a user
to upload an XML file that contains user information from some other application.
The page might parses the contents of the uploaded XML file and create a new account
for each user represented in the XML by calling the
Step 6: Creating a New User with the CreateUserWizard Control
ASP.NET ships with a number of Login Web controls. These controls aid in many common user account- and login-related scenarios. The CreateUserWizard control is one such control that is designed to present a user interface for adding a new user account to the Membership framework.
Like many of the other Login-related Web controls, the CreateUserWizard can be used
without writing a single line of code. It intuitively provides a user interface
based on the Membership provider’s configuration settings and internally calls
CreateUser method after the user enters the necessary
information and clicks the “Create User” button. The CreateUserWizard
control is extremely customizable. There are a host of events that fire during various
stages of the account creation process. We can create event handlers, as needed,
to inject custom logic into the account creation workflow. Furthermore, the CreateUserWizard’s
appearance is very flexible. There are a number of properties that define the appearance
of the default interface; if necessary, the control can be converted into a template
or additional user registration “steps” may be added.
Let’s start with a look at using the CreateUserWizard control’s default interface and behavior. We’ll then explore how to customize the appearance via the control’s properties and events.
Examining the CreateUserWizard’s Default Interface and Behavior
Return to the
CreatingUserAccounts.aspx page in the
Membership folder, switch to
the Design or Split mode, and then add a CreateUserWizard control to the top of
the page. The CreateUserWizard control is filed under the Toolbox’s Login
controls section. After adding the control, set its
ID property to
As the screen shot in Figure 11 shows, the CreateUserWizard renders an interface
with textboxes for the new user’s username, password, email address, and security
question and answer.
Let’s take a moment to compare the default user interface generated by the CreateUserWizard control with the interface we created in Step 5. For starters, the CreateUserWizard control allows the visitor to specify both the security question and answer, whereas our manually-created interface used a pre-defined security question. The CreateUserWizard control’s interface also includes validation controls, whereas we had yet to implement validation on our interface’s form fields. And the CreateUserWizard control interface includes a “Confirm Password” textbox (along with a CompareValidator to ensure that the text entered the “Password” and “Compare Password” textboxes are equal).
What’s interesting is that the CreateUserWizard control consults the Membership
provider’s configuration settings when rendering its user interface. For example,
the security question and answer textboxes are only displayed if
is set to True. Likewise, CreateUserWizard automatically adds a RegularExpressionValidator
control to ensure that the password strength requirements are met, and sets its
ValidationExpression properties based on the
The CreateUserWizard control, as its name implies, is derived from the
Wizard control. Wizard controls are designed to provide an interface for
completing multi-step tasks. A Wizard control may have an arbitrary number of
each of which is a template that defines the HTML and Web controls for that step.
The Wizard control initially displays the first
WizardStep, along with navigation
controls that permit the user to proceed from one step to the next, or to return
to previous steps.
As the declarative markup in Figure 11 shows, the CreateUserWizard control’s
default interface includes two
CreateUserWizardStep– renders the interface to collect information for creating the new user account. This is the step shown in Figure 11.
CompleteWizardStep– renders a message indicating that the account has successfully been created.
The CreateUserWizard’s appearance and behavior can be modified by converting
either of these steps to templates, or by adding your own
WizardSteps. We will look
at adding a
WizardStep to the registration interface in the Storing Additional User
Let’s see the CreateUserWizard control in action. Visit the
page through a browser. Start by entering some invalid values into the CreateUserWizard’s
interface. Try entering a password that doesn’t conform to the password strength
requirements, or leaving the “User Name” textbox empty. The CreateUserWizard
will display an appropriate error message. Figure 12 shows the output when attempting
to create a user with an insufficiently strong password.
Next, enter appropriate values into the CreateUserWizard and click the “Create
User” button. Assuming the required fields have been entered and the password’s
strength is sufficient, the CreateUserWizard will create a new user account through
the Membership framework and then display the
(see Figure 13). Behind the scenes, the CreateUserWizard calls the
method, just like we did in Step 5.
Note: As Figure 13 shows, the
CompleteWizardStep’s interface includes
a Continue button. However, at this point clicking it just performs a postback,
leaving the visitor on the same page. In the “Customizing the CreateUserWizard’s
Appearance and Behavior Through Its Properties” section we will look at how
you can have this button send the visitor to
Default.aspx (or some other page).
After creating a new user account, return to Visual Studio and examine the
aspnet_Membership tables like we did in Figure 10 to verify that the account
was successfully created.
Customizing the CreateUserWizard’s Behavior and Appearance Through Its Properties
The CreateUserWizard can be customized in a variety of ways, through properties,
WizardSteps, and event handlers. In this section we will look at how to customize
the control’s appearance through its properties; the next section looks at
extending the control’s behavior through event handlers.
Virtually all of the text displayed in the CreateUserWizard control’s default
user interface can be customized through its plethora of properties. For example,
the “User Name”, “Password”, “Confirm Password”,
“E-mail”, “Security Question”, and “Security Answer”
labels displayed to the left of the textboxes can be customized by the
AnswerLabelText properties, respectively. Likewise,
there are properties for specifying the text for the “Create User” and
“Continue” buttons in the
as well as if these buttons are rendered as Buttons, LinkButtons, or ImageButtons.
The colors, borders, fonts, and other visual elements are configurable through a
host of style properties. The CreateUserWizard control itself has the common Web
control style properties –
Font, and so
on – and there are a number of style properties for defining the appearance
for particular sections of the CreateUserWizard’s interface. The
TextBoxStyle property, for instance, defines the styles for the textboxes
CreateUserWizardStep, while the
TitleTextStyle property defines the style for the title (“Sign Up
for Your New Account”).
In addition to the appearance-related properties, there are a number of properties
that affect the CreateUserWizard control’s behavior. The
DisplayCancelButton property, if set to True, displays a Cancel button next
to the “Create User” button (the default value is False). If you display
the Cancel button, be sure to also set the
CancelDestinationPageUrl property, which specifies the page the user is
sent to after clicking Cancel. As noted in the previous section, the Continue button
CompleteWizardStep’s interface causes a postback, but leaves the visitor
on the same page. To send the visitor to some other page after clicking the Continue
button, simply specify the URL in the
Let’s update the
RegisterUser CreateUserWizard control to show a Cancel button
and to send the visitor to
Default.aspx when the Cancel or Continue buttons are
clicked. To accomplish this, set the
DisplayCancelButton property to True and both
ContinueDestinationPageUrl properties to “~/Default.aspx”.
Figure 14 shows the updated CreateUserWizard when viewed through a browser.
When a visitor enters a username, password, email address, and security question
and answer and clicks “Create User,” a new user account is created and
the visitor is logged in as that newly created user. Assuming that the person visiting
the page is creating a new account for themselves, this is likely the desired behavior.
However, you may want to allow Administrators to add new user accounts. In doing
so, the user account would be created, but the Administrator would remain logged
in as an Administrator (and not as the newly created account). This behavior can
be modified through the Boolean
User accounts in the Membership framework contain an approved flag; users who are
not approved are unable to log into the site. By default, a newly created account
is marked as approved, allowing the user to log into the site immediately. It is
possible, however, to have new user accounts marked as unapproved. Perhaps you want
an Administrator to manually approve new users before they can log in; or maybe
you want to verify that the email address entered at signup is valid before permitting
a user to log on. Whatever the case may be, you can have the newly created user
account marked as unapproved by setting the CreateUserWizard control’s
DisableCreatedUser property to True (the default is False).
Other behavior-related properties of note include
AutoGeneratePassword property is set to True, the
not display the “Password” and “Confirm Password” textboxes;
instead, the newly-created user’s password is automatically generated using
GeneratePassword method. The
GeneratePassword method constructs a password
of a specified length and with a sufficient number of non-alphanumeric characters
to satisfy the configured password strength requirements.
MailDefinition property is useful if you want to send an email to the email
address specified during the account creation process. The
includes a series of subproperties for defining information about the constructed
email message. These subproperties include options like
BodyFileName property points to a text or HTML file that contains the body
for the email message. The body supports two pre-defined placeholders:
<%Password%>. These placeholders, if present in the
will be replaced with the just-created user’s name and password.
MailDefinition property just specifies
details about the email message that is sent when a new account is created. It does
not include any details on how the email message is actually sent (that is, whether
an SMTP server or mail drop directory is used, any authentication information, and
so on). These low-level details need to be defined in the
Web.config. For more information on these configuration settings and on sending
email from ASP.NET 2.0 in general, refer to the
FAQs at SystemNetMail.com and my article,
Sending Email in ASP.NET 2.0.
Extending the CreateUserWizard’s Behavior Using Event Handlers
The CreateUserWizard control raises a number of events during its workflow. For
example, after a visitor enters their username, password, and other pertinent information
and clicks the “Create User” button, the CreateUserWizard control raises
CreatingUser event. If there is a problem during the create process, the
CreateUserError event is fired; however, if the user is successfully created,
CreatedUser event is raised. There are additional CreateUserWizard control
events that get raised, but these are the three most germane ones.
In certain scenarios we may want to tap into the CreateUserWizard workflow, which
we can do by creating an event handler for the appropriate event. To illustrate
this, let’s enhance the
RegisterUser CreateUserWizard control to include some
custom validation on the username and password. In particular, let’s enhance
our CreateUserWizard so that usernames cannot contain leading or trailing spaces
and the username cannot appear anywhere in the password. In short, we want to prevent
someone from creating a username like "Scott ", or having a username/password
combination like “Scott” and “Scott.1234”.
To accomplish this we will create an event handler for the
CreatingUser event to
perform our extra validation checks. If the supplied data is not valid we need to
cancel the creation process. We also need to add a Label Web control to the page
to display a message explaining that the username or password is invalid. Start
by adding a Label control beneath the CreateUserWizard control, setting its
InvalidUserNameOrPasswordMessage and its
ForeColor property to
Red. Clear out
Text property and set its
Visible properties to False.
<asp:Label runat="server" id="InvalidUserNameOrPasswordMessage"
Visible="false" ForeColor="Red" EnableViewState="false">
Next, create an event handler for the CreateUserWizard control’s
event. To create an event handler, select the control in the Designer and then go
to the Properties window. From there, click on the lightning bolt icon and then
double-click the appropriate event to create the event handler.
Add the following code to the
CreatingUser event handler:
protected void RegisterUser_CreatingUser(object sender, LoginCancelEventArgs e)
string trimmedUserName = RegisterUser.UserName.Trim();
if (RegisterUser.UserName.Length != trimmedUserName.Length)
// Show the error message
InvalidUserNameOrPasswordMessage.Text = "The username cannot contain leading or trailing spaces.";
InvalidUserNameOrPasswordMessage.Visible = true;
// Cancel the create user workflow
e.Cancel = true;
// Username is valid, make sure that the password does not contain the username
if (RegisterUser.Password.IndexOf(RegisterUser.UserName, StringComparison.OrdinalIgnoreCase) >= 0)
// Show the error message
InvalidUserNameOrPasswordMessage.Text = "The username may not appear anywhere in the password.";
InvalidUserNameOrPasswordMessage.Visible = true;
// Cancel the create user workflow
e.Cancel = true;
Note that the username and password entered into the CreateUserWizard control are
available through its
Password properties, respectively. We use these properties in the above
event handler to determine whether the supplied username contains leading or trailing
spaces and whether the username is found within the password. If either of these
conditions is met, an error message is displayed in the
Label and the event handler’s
e.Cancel property is set to
is set to
true, the CreateUserWizard short-circuits its workflow, effectively cancelling
the user account creation process.
Figure 15 shows a screen shot of
CreatingUserAccounts.aspx when the user enters
a username with leading spaces.
Note: We will see an example of using the CreateUserWizard control’s
CreatedUser event in the Storing Additional User Information tutorial.
CreateUser method creates a new user account in the
Membership framework. It does so by delegating the call to the configured Membership
provider. In the case of the
CreateUser method adds a
record to the
aspnet_Membership database tables.
While new user accounts can be created programmatically (as we saw in Step 5), a
faster and easier approach is to use the CreateUserWizard control. This control
renders a multi-step user interface for collecting user information and creating
a new user in the Membership framework. Underneath the covers, this control uses
Membership.CreateUser method as examined in Step 5, but the control creates
the user interface, validation controls, and responds to user account creation errors
without having to write a lick of code.
At this point we have the functionality in place to create new user accounts. However,
the login page still is validating against those hard-coded credentials we specified
back in the second tutorial. In the next tutorial
we will update
Login.aspx to validate the user’s supplied credentials against
the Membership framework.
For more information on the topics discussed in this tutorial, refer to the following resources:
- CreateUserWizard Control Overview
- Creating a File System-Based Site Map Provider
- Creating a Step-by-Step User Interface with the ASP.NET 2.0 Wizard Control
- Examining ASP.NET 2.0’s Site Navigation
- Master Pages and Site Navigation
- The SQL Site Map Provider You’ve Been Waiting For
About the Author
Scott Mitchell, author of multiple ASP/ASP.NET books and founder of 4GuysFromRolla.com, has been working with Microsoft Web technologies since 1998. Scott works as an independent consultant, trainer, and writer. His latest book is Sams Teach Yourself ASP.NET 2.0 in 24 Hours. Scott can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or via his blog at http://ScottOnWriting.NET.
Special Thanks To…
This tutorial series was reviewed by many helpful reviewers. Lead reviewer for this tutorial was Teresa Murphy. Interested in reviewing my upcoming MSDN articles? If so, drop me a line at mitchell@4GuysFromRolla.com.
This article was originally created on January 18, 2008