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ParseChildrenAttribute Class

Defines a metadata attribute that you can use when developing ASP.NET server controls. Use the ParseChildrenAttribute class to indicate how the page parser should treat content nested inside a server control tag declared on a page. This class cannot be inherited.

Namespace:  System.Web.UI
Assembly:  System.Web (in System.Web.dll)

[AspNetHostingPermissionAttribute(SecurityAction.LinkDemand, Level = AspNetHostingPermissionLevel.Minimal)]
public sealed class ParseChildrenAttribute : Attribute

The ParseChildrenAttribute class allows you to specify parsing logic for a custom server control by marking the server control with the ParseChildrenAttribute metadata attribute.

Marking your server control with the metadata attribute ParseChildren(true) instructs the parser to interpret the elements that are contained within the server control's tags as properties. In this scenario, the ChildrenAsProperties property is true.

Marking your server control with the metadata attribute ParseChildren(true,"<Default Property>") sets the DefaultProperty property to the name of the property that is passed into the attribute.

Marking your server control with the metadata attribute ParseChildren(false), the default value, instructs the parser to interpret the elements that are contained within the server control's tags as content that will be parsed with an associated ControlBuilder that is, as controls. In this scenario, the ChildrenAsProperties property is false.

For information about using attributes, see Extending Metadata Using Attributes.

The code example in this section contains two parts. The first code example demonstrates how to set properties for the ParseChildrenAttribute class. The second code example demonstrates how to use classes in an ASP.NET page.

The following code example demonstrates how to set the ParseChildrenAttribute object of a custom server control named CollectionPropertyControl. The ParseChildrenAttribute sets the ChildrenAsProperties property to true and the DefaultProperty property to the Employee class.

using System;
using System.Collections;
using System.Web;
using System.Web.UI;
using System.Web.UI.WebControls;
using System.Security.Permissions;

namespace Samples.AspNet.CS.Controls
   // The child element class.
   public sealed class Employee
      private String name;
      private String title;
      private String alias;

      public Employee():this ("","",""){}

      public Employee (String name, String title, String alias)
      { = name;
         this.title = title;
         this.alias = alias;
      public String Name
            return name;
            name = value;

      public String Title
            return title;
            title = value;

      public String Alias
            return alias;
            alias = value;
   // Use the ParseChildren attribute to set the ChildrenAsProperties 
   // and DefaultProperty properties. Using this constructor, the 
   // control parses all child controls as properties and must define 
   // a public property named Employees, which it declares as 
   // an ArrayList. Nested (child) elements must correspond to 
   // child elements of the Employees property or to other 
   // properties of the control.  
   [ParseChildren(true, "Employees")]
   public sealed class CollectionPropertyControl : Control
      private String header;
      private ArrayList employees = new ArrayList();

      public String Header
            return header;
            header = value;

      public ArrayList Employees
            return employees;
      // Override the CreateChildControls method to  
      // add child controls to the Employees property when this 
      // custom control is requested from a page. 
      protected override void CreateChildControls()
         Label label = new Label();
         label.Text = Header;
         label.BackColor = System.Drawing.Color.Beige;
         label.ForeColor = System.Drawing.Color.Red;
         Controls.Add(new LiteralControl("<BR> <BR>"));

         Table table = new Table();
         TableRow htr = new TableRow();

         TableHeaderCell hcell1 = new TableHeaderCell();    
         hcell1.Text = "Name";

         TableHeaderCell hcell2 = new TableHeaderCell();
         hcell2.Text = "Title";

         TableHeaderCell hcell3 = new TableHeaderCell();
         hcell3.Text = "Alias";

         table.BorderWidth = 2;
         table.BackColor = System.Drawing.Color.Beige;
         table.ForeColor = System.Drawing.Color.Red;
         foreach (Employee employee in Employees)
            TableRow tr = new TableRow();

            TableCell cell1 = new TableCell();
            cell1.Text = employee.Name;

            TableCell cell2 = new TableCell();
            cell2.Text = employee.Title;

            TableCell cell3 = new TableCell();
            cell3.Text = employee.Alias;



The following code example demonstrates how to use the CollectionPropertyControl and Employee classes in an ASP.NET page. Instances of the Employee class are added declaratively.

<%@ Page Language="C#" Debug="true" %>
<%@ Register TagPrefix="AspSample" Assembly="Samples.AspNet.CS.Controls" Namespace="Samples.AspNet.CS.Controls" %>

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" "">

<script runat="server">

  protected void Page_Load(object sender, EventArgs e)

    // Verify attribute values.
    ParseChildrenAttribute p = 

    StringBuilder sb = new StringBuilder();
    sb.Append("The DefaultProperty property is " + p.DefaultProperty.ToString() + "<br />");
    sb.Append("The ChildrenAsProperties property is " + p.ChildrenAsProperties.ToString() + "<br />");
    sb.Append("The IsDefaultAttribute method returns " + p.IsDefaultAttribute().ToString());
    Message.Text = sb.ToString();


<html xmlns="" >
<head runat="server">
    <title>ParseChildrenAttribute Example</title>
    <form id="form1" runat="server">
      <asp:Label ID="Message"
      <AspSample:CollectionPropertyControl id="CollectionPropertyControl1" 
        <AspSample:Employee Name="Employee 1" 
                            Title="Title 1" 
                            Alias="Alias 1" />
        <AspSample:Employee Name="Employee 2" 
                            Title="Title 2" 
                            Alias="Alias 2" />


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 XP Media Center Edition, Windows XP Professional x64 Edition, Windows XP Starter Edition, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2000 SP4, Windows Millennium Edition, Windows 98

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, 3.0, 2.0, 1.1, 1.0