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DataTypeAttribute Class

Updated: July 2008

Specifies the name of an additional type to associate with a data field.

Namespace:  System.ComponentModel.DataAnnotations
Assembly:  System.ComponentModel.DataAnnotations (in System.ComponentModel.DataAnnotations.dll)

[AttributeUsageAttribute(AttributeTargets::Property|AttributeTargets::Field, AllowMultiple = false)]
public ref class DataTypeAttribute : public ValidationAttribute

The DataTypeAttribute attribute enables you to mark fields by using a type that is more specific than the database intrinsic type. The type name is selected from the DataType enumeration type. For example, a string data field that contains e-mail addresses can be specified as the EmailAddress type. This information is then accessed by the field templates to modify how the data field is processed.

You use the DataTypeAttribute attribute for the following reasons:

  • To provide additional type information for a data field. You do this by applying the DataTypeAttribute attribute to a data field in the data model and by specifying the additional type name from the DataType enumeration. The field template that processes the data field can access this additional metadata type information to determine how to process the field. For example, the text field template can generate hyperlinks for e-mail addresses whose intrinsic type is String.

  • To associate a custom field template with a data field. The specified custom field template will then be used to process the data field. This is an alternative to using the UIHintAttribute attribute.

When you apply the DataTypeAttribute attribute to a data field you must do the following:

  • Follow the attribute usage rules.

  • Implement the metadata class that contains the data fields to which you want to apply the attribute.

  • Issue validation errors as appropriate.

For more information, see ASP.NET Dynamic Data Guidelines.

See a run-time code example of this feature: Run.

The following example uses the DataTypeAttribute attribute to customize the display of the EmailAddress data field. The e-mail addresses are shown as hyperlinks instead of as simple text, which is what Dynamic Data would infer from the intrinsic data type. The example code is in three parts, and it performs the following steps:

  • It implements a metadata partial class and the associated metadata class.

  • In the associated metadata class, it applies the DataTypeAttribute attribute to the EmailAddress data field by specifying the EmailAddress enumerated value. This indicates to the Text.ascx field template that it should customize the display of e-mail addresses.

  • It modifies the Text.ascx field template to customize the display of the EmailAddress data fields.

No code example is currently available or this language may not be supported.
No code example is currently available or this language may not be supported.
No code example is currently available or this language may not be supported.

To compile and run the example code, you need the following:

  • Visual Studio 2008 Service Pack 1 or Visual Developer 2008 Express Edition Service Pack 1.

  • The AdventureWorksLT sample database. For information about how to download and install the SQL Server sample database, see Microsoft SQL Server Product Samples: Database on the CodePlex site. Make sure that you install the correct version of the sample database for the version of SQL Server that you are running (SQL Server 2005 or SQL Server 2008).

  • A data-driven Web site. This enables you to create a data context for the database and to create the class that contains the data field to customize. For more information, see Walkthrough: Creating a New Dynamic Data Web Site using Scaffolding.


Any public static (Shared in Visual Basic) members of this type are thread safe. Any instance members are not guaranteed to be thread safe.

Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP SP2, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2003

The .NET Framework and .NET Compact Framework do not support all versions of every platform. For a list of the supported versions, see .NET Framework System Requirements.

.NET Framework

Supported in: 3.5 SP1




July 2008

Added topic for new class.

SP1 feature change.