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Paging Through a Query Result

Paging through a query result is the process of returning the results of a query in smaller subsets of data, or pages. This is a common practice for displaying results to a user in small, easy to manage chunks.

The DataAdapter provides a facility for returning only a page of data, through overloads of the Fill method. However, this might not be the best choice for paging through large query results because, while the DataAdapter fills the target DataTable or DataSet with only the requested records, the resources to return the entire query are still used. To return a page of data from a data source without using the resources required to return the entire query, specify additional criteria for your query that reduces the rows returned to only those required.

To use the Fill method to return a page of data, specify a startRecord, specifying the first record in the page of data, and a maxRecords, specifying the number of records in the page of data.

The following code example shows how to use the Fill method to return the first page of a query result where the page size is five records.

Dim currentIndex As Integer = 0
Dim pageSize As Integer = 5

Dim orderSQL As String = "SELECT * FROM Orders ORDER BY OrderID"
Dim myDA As SqlDataAdapter = New SqlDataAdapter(orderSQL, nwindConn)

Dim myDS As DataSet = New DataSet()
myDA.Fill(myDS, currentIndex, pageSize, "Orders")
[C#]
int currentIndex = 0;
int pageSize = 5;

string orderSQL = "SELECT * FROM Orders ORDER BY OrderID";
SqlDataAdapter myDA = new SqlDataAdapter(orderSQL, nwindConn);

DataSet myDS = new DataSet();
myDA.Fill(myDS, currentIndex, pageSize, "Orders");

In the previous example, the DataSet is only filled with five records, but the entire Orders table is returned. To fill the DataSet with those same five records, but only return five records, use the TOP and WHERE clauses in your SQL statement, as in the following code example.

Dim pageSize As Integer = 5

Dim orderSQL As String = "SELECT TOP " & pageSize & " * FROM Orders ORDER BY OrderID"
Dim myDA As SqlDataAdapter = New SqlDataAdapter(orderSQL, nwindConn)

Dim myDS As DataSet = New DataSet()
myDA.Fill(myDS, "Orders") 
[C#]
int pageSize = 5;

string orderSQL = "SELECT TOP " + pageSize + " * FROM Orders ORDER BY OrderID";
SqlDataAdapter myDA = new SqlDataAdapter(orderSQL, nwindConn);

DataSet myDS = new DataSet();
myDA.Fill(myDS, "Orders");

Note that, when paging through the query results in this way, you will need to preserve the unique identifier that the rows are ordered by, in order to pass the unique ID to the command to return the next page of records, as shown in the following code example.

Dim lastRecord As String = myDS.Tables("Orders").Rows(pageSize - 1)("OrderID").ToString()
[C#]
string lastRecord = myDS.Tables["Orders"].Rows[pageSize - 1]["OrderID"].ToString();

To return the next page of records using the overload of the Fill method that takes the startRecord and maxRecords parameters, increment the current record index by the page size and fill the table. Remember that the database server returns the entire query results even though only one page of records is added to the DataSet. In the following code example, the table rows are cleared before they are filled with the next page of data. You might want to preserve a certain amount of returned rows in a local cache to reduce trips to the database server.

currentIndex = currentIndex + pageSize

myDS.Tables("Orders").Rows.Clear()

myDA.Fill(myDS, currentIndex, pageSize, "Orders")
[C#]
currentIndex += pageSize;

myDS.Tables["Orders"].Rows.Clear();

myDA.Fill(myDS, currentIndex, pageSize, "Orders");

To return the next page of records without having the database server return the entire query, specify restrictive criteria to the SQL SELECT statement. Because the preceding example preserved the last record returned, you can use it in the WHERE clause to specify a starting point for the query, as shown in the following code example.

orderSQL = "SELECT TOP " & pageSize & " * FROM Orders WHERE OrderID > " & lastRecord & " ORDER BY OrderID"
myDA.SelectCommand.CommandText = orderSQL

myDS.Tables("Orders").Rows.Clear()

myDA.Fill(myDS, "Orders")
[C#]
orderSQL = "SELECT TOP " + pageSize + " * FROM Orders WHERE OrderID > " + lastRecord + " ORDER BY OrderID";
myDA.SelectCommand.CommandText = orderSQL;

myDS.Tables["Orders"].Rows.Clear();

myDA.Fill(myDS, "Orders");

The following is an example of paging through a query result by specifying criteria in the SQL statement to return only one page of records at a time from the database.

Imports System
Imports System.Data
Imports System.Data.SqlClient
Imports System.Drawing
Imports System.Windows.Forms

Public Class PagingSample
  Inherits Form

  ' Form controls.
  Dim prevBtn As Button = New Button()
  Dim nextBtn As Button = New Button()

  Shared myGrid As DataGrid = New DataGrid()
  Shared pageLbl As Label = New Label()

  ' Paging variables.
  Shared pageSize As Integer = 10      ' Size of viewed page.
  Shared totalPages As Integer = 0    ' Total pages.
  Shared currentPage As Integer = 0    ' Current page.
  Shared firstVisibleCustomer As String = ""  ' First customer on page to determine location for move previous.
  Shared lastVisibleCustomer As String = ""  ' Last customer on page to determine location for move next.

  ' DataSet to bind to DataGrid.
  Shared custTable As DataTable

  ' Initialize connection to database and DataAdapter.
  Shared nwindConn As SqlConnection = New SqlConnection("Data Source=localhost;Integrated Security=SSPI;Initial Catalog=northwind")
  Shared custDA As SqlDataAdapter = New SqlDataAdapter("", nwindConn)
  Shared selCmd As SqlCommand = custDA.SelectCommand()


  Public Shared Sub GetData(direction As String)

    ' Create SQL statement to return a page of records.
    selCmd.Parameters.Clear()

    Select Case direction
      Case "Next"
        selCmd.CommandText = "SELECT TOP " & pageSize & " CustomerID, CompanyName FROM Customers " & _
                       "WHERE CustomerID > @CustomerId ORDER BY CustomerID"
        selCmd.Parameters.Add("@CustomerId", SqlDbType.VarChar, 5).Value = lastVisibleCustomer
      Case "Previous"
        selCmd.CommandText = "SELECT TOP " & pageSize & " CustomerID, CompanyName FROM Customers " & _
                       "WHERE CustomerID < @CustomerId ORDER BY CustomerID DESC"
        selCmd.Parameters.Add("@CustomerId", SqlDbType.VarChar, 5).Value = firstVisibleCustomer
      Case Else
        selCmd.CommandText = "SELECT TOP " & pageSize & " CustomerID, CompanyName FROM Customers ORDER BY CustomerID"
        
        ' Determine total pages.
        Dim totCMD As SqlCommand = New SqlCommand("SELECT Count(*) FROM Customers", nwindConn)
        nwindConn.Open()
        Dim totalRecords As Integer = CInt(totCMD.ExecuteScalar())
        nwindConn.Close()
        totalPages = CInt(Math.Ceiling(CDbl(totalRecords) / pageSize))
    End Select

    ' Fill a temporary table with query results.
    Dim tmpTable As DataTable = New DataTable("Customers")
    Dim recordsAffected As Integer = custDA.Fill(tmpTable)

    ' If table does not exist, create it.
    If custTable Is Nothing Then custTable = tmpTable.Clone()

    ' Refresh table if at least one record returned.
    If recordsAffected > 0 Then
      Select Case direction
        Case "Next"
          currentPage += 1
        Case "Previous"
          currentPage += -1
        Case Else
          currentPage = 1
      End Select

      pageLbl.Text = "Page " & currentPage & " of " & totalPages

      ' Clear rows and add New results.
      custTable.Rows.Clear()

      Dim myRow As DataRow
      For Each myRow In tmpTable.Rows
        custTable.ImportRow(myRow)
      Next

      ' Preserve first and last primary key values.
      Dim ordRows() As DataRow = custTable.Select("", "CustomerID ASC")
      firstVisibleCustomer = ordRows(0)(0).ToString()
      lastVisibleCustomer = ordRows(custTable.Rows.Count - 1)(0).ToString()
    End If
  End Sub


  Public Sub New()
    MyBase.New

    ' Initialize controls and add to form.
    Me.ClientSize = New Size(360, 274)
    Me.Text = "NorthWind Data"

    myGrid.Location = New Point(10,10)
    myGrid.Size = New Size(340, 220)
    myGrid.AllowSorting = true
    myGrid.CaptionText = "NorthWind Customers"
    myGrid.ReadOnly = true
    myGrid.AllowNavigation = false
    myGrid.PreferredColumnWidth = 150

    prevBtn.Text = "<<"
    prevBtn.Size = New Size(48, 24)
    prevBtn.Location = New Point(92, 240)
    AddHandler prevBtn.Click, New EventHandler(AddressOf Prev_OnClick)

    nextBtn.Text = ">>"
    nextBtn.Size = New Size(48, 24)
    nextBtn.Location = New Point(160, 240)

    pageLbl.Text = "No Records Returned."
    pageLbl.Size = New Size(130, 16)
    pageLbl.Location = New Point(218, 244)

    Me.Controls.Add(myGrid)
    Me.Controls.Add(prevBtn)
    Me.Controls.Add(nextBtn)
    Me.Controls.Add(pageLbl)
    AddHandler nextBtn.Click, New EventHandler(AddressOf Next_OnClick)


    ' Populate DataSet with first page of records and bind to grid.
    GetData("Default")
    Dim custDV As DataView = New DataView(custTable, "", "CustomerID", DataViewRowState.CurrentRows)
    myGrid.SetDataBinding(custDV, "")
  End Sub



  Public Shared Sub Prev_OnClick(sender As Object, args As EventArgs)
    GetData("Previous")
  End Sub

  Public Shared Sub Next_OnClick(sender As Object, args As EventArgs)
    GetData("Next")
  End Sub
End Class


Public Class Sample
  Shared Sub Main()
    Application.Run(New PagingSample())
  End Sub
End Class
[C#]
using System;
using System.Data;
using System.Data.SqlClient;
using System.Drawing;
using System.Windows.Forms;

public class PagingSample: Form
{
  // Form controls.
  Button prevBtn = new Button();
  Button nextBtn = new Button();

  static DataGrid myGrid = new DataGrid();
  static Label pageLbl = new Label();

  // Paging variables.
  static int pageSize = 10;      // Size of viewed page.
  static int totalPages = 0;      // Total pages.
  static int currentPage = 0;      // Current page.
  static string firstVisibleCustomer = "";  // First customer on page to determine location for move previous.
  static string lastVisibleCustomer = "";    // Last customer on page to determine location for move next.

  // DataSet to bind to DataGrid.
  static DataTable custTable;

  // Initialize connection to database and DataAdapter.
  static SqlConnection nwindConn = new SqlConnection("Data Source=localhost;Integrated Security=SSPI;Initial Catalog=northwind");
  static SqlDataAdapter custDA = new SqlDataAdapter("", nwindConn);
  static SqlCommand selCmd = custDA.SelectCommand;

  public static void GetData(string direction)
  {
    // Create SQL statement to return a page of records.
    selCmd.Parameters.Clear();

    switch (direction)
    {
      case "Next":
        selCmd.CommandText = "SELECT TOP " + pageSize + " CustomerID, CompanyName FROM Customers " +
                      "WHERE CustomerID > @CustomerId ORDER BY CustomerID";
        selCmd.Parameters.Add("@CustomerId", SqlDbType.VarChar, 5).Value = lastVisibleCustomer;
        break;
      case "Previous":
        selCmd.CommandText = "SELECT TOP " + pageSize + " CustomerID, CompanyName FROM Customers " +
                      "WHERE CustomerID < @CustomerId ORDER BY CustomerID DESC";
        selCmd.Parameters.Add("@CustomerId", SqlDbType.VarChar, 5).Value = firstVisibleCustomer;
        break;
      default:
        selCmd.CommandText = "SELECT TOP " + pageSize + " CustomerID, CompanyName FROM Customers ORDER BY CustomerID";
        
        // Determine total pages.
        SqlCommand totCMD = new SqlCommand("SELECT Count(*) FROM Customers", nwindConn);
        nwindConn.Open();
        int totalRecords = (int)totCMD.ExecuteScalar();
        nwindConn.Close();
        totalPages = (int)Math.Ceiling((double)totalRecords / pageSize);

        break;
    }

    // Fill a temporary table with query results.
    DataTable tmpTable = new DataTable("Customers");
    int recordsAffected = custDA.Fill(tmpTable);

    // If table does not exist, create it.
    if (custTable == null)
      custTable = tmpTable.Clone();

    // Refresh table if at least one record returned.
    if (recordsAffected > 0)
    {
      switch (direction)
      {
        case "Next":
          currentPage++;
          break;
        case "Previous":
          currentPage--;
          break;
        default:
          currentPage = 1;
          break;
      }

      pageLbl.Text = "Page " + currentPage + " of " + totalPages;

      // Clear rows and add new results.
      custTable.Rows.Clear();

      foreach (DataRow myRow in tmpTable.Rows)
        custTable.ImportRow(myRow);

      // Preserve first and last primary key values.
      DataRow[] ordRows = custTable.Select("", "CustomerID ASC");
      firstVisibleCustomer = ordRows[0][0].ToString();
      lastVisibleCustomer = ordRows[custTable.Rows.Count - 1][0].ToString();
    }
  }



  public PagingSample()
  {
    // Initialize controls and add to form.
    this.ClientSize = new Size(360, 274);
    this.Text = "NorthWind Data";

    myGrid.Location = new Point(10,10);
    myGrid.Size = new Size(340, 220);
    myGrid.AllowSorting = true;
    myGrid.CaptionText = "NorthWind Customers";
    myGrid.ReadOnly = true;
    myGrid.AllowNavigation = false;
    myGrid.PreferredColumnWidth = 150;

    prevBtn.Text = "<<";
    prevBtn.Size = new Size(48, 24);
    prevBtn.Location = new Point(92, 240);
    prevBtn.Click += new EventHandler(Prev_OnClick);

    nextBtn.Text = ">>";
    nextBtn.Size = new Size(48, 24);
    nextBtn.Location = new Point(160, 240);

    pageLbl.Text = "No Records Returned.";
    pageLbl.Size = new Size(130, 16);
    pageLbl.Location = new Point(218, 244);

    this.Controls.Add(myGrid);
    this.Controls.Add(prevBtn);
    this.Controls.Add(nextBtn);
    this.Controls.Add(pageLbl);
    nextBtn.Click += new EventHandler(Next_OnClick);


    // Populate DataSet with first page of records and bind to grid.
    GetData("Default");
    DataView custDV = new DataView(custTable, "", "CustomerID", DataViewRowState.CurrentRows);
    myGrid.SetDataBinding(custDV, "");
  }



  public static void Prev_OnClick(object sender, EventArgs args)
  {
    GetData("Previous");
  }

  public static void Next_OnClick(object sender, EventArgs args)
  {
    GetData("Next");
  }
}



public class Sample
{
  static void Main()
  {
    Application.Run(new PagingSample());
  }
}

See Also

Sample ADO.NET Scenarios | Accessing Data with ADO.NET | Using .NET Framework Data Providers to Access Data | Creating and Using DataSets | Creating and Using DataTables

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