In this post, we’ll see how to use the tag helpers inside razor files in ASP.NET Core application.

Table of Contents

  1. Key Takeaways:
  2. What are Tag Helpers in ASP.NET Core?
  3. Why use Tag Helpers?
  4. Using the Tag Helpers
  5. @addTagHelper
  6. @removeTagHelper
  7. Opt out of tag helpers (!)
  8. The scope of Tag helpers
  9. Default Tag helpers
  10. Intellisense support for Tag helpers
  11. Conclusion

Key Takeaways:

  • What are Tag Helpers in ASP.NET core and why use Tag Helpers.
  • Using tag Helpers.
  • How to add/remove/opt-out of tag helpers.
  • Tag helpers scope.

What are Tag Helpers in ASP.NET Core?

Unlike normal HTML Helpers in MVC, the Tag Helpers in ASP.NET Core allow us to have server-side code to customize the HTML elements in razor files.

Why use Tag Helpers?

  • Enables HTML friendly development experience
  • Provides intellisense for using server-side properties

Using the Tag Helpers

We’ll use the input element asp-for attribute and see how the tag helpers work. So, we’ve got a Post Model class here.

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public class PostModel
{
[Display(Name = "Post ID")]
public int PostID { get; set; }

[Required]
[Display(Name = "Post Name")]
public string PostName { get; set; }
}

Now, go to the Views/_ViewImports.cshtml file and add the following

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@addTagHelper *, <your assembly name>

Now in our Index.html file, we’ll just try to get the names of the PostModel into our Razor.

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@model CoreTagHelpers.Models.PostModel
<input asp-for="PostName" />

That should generate the following HTML with the PostName in the id and name attributes. And, it also generated data-val, data-val-required attributes as we have the [Required] data annotation decorated to the Post name property in our model class.

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<input type="text" data-val="true" data-val-required="The Post Name field is required." id="PostName" name="PostName" value="Hello">

The value for the input Hello is generated as I’ve created an object of PostModel in the controller action and passed it to the view.

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public IActionResult Index()
{
var data = new PostModel { PostID = 1, PostName = "Hello" };
return View(data);
}

@addTagHelper

@addTagHelper directive makes the necessary tag helpers available to the view.

In the above input tag helper case, I’ve used a wildcard (*) to get all the model classes but you could use specific model classes only available to the view by giving a fully qualified name.

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@addTagHelper CoreTagHelpers.Models.EmailTagHelper, CoreTagHelpers

@removeTagHelper

This directive will remove the tag helper which was added. We can ignore a tag helper from _ViewImports.cshtml by adding @removeTagHelper in the view.

Adding @removeTagHelper in the Views\_ViewImports.cshtml will remove the tag helper from all the views.

Opt out of tag helpers (!)

The opt-out character (“!”) is used to disable the Tag Helper at the element level.

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<!label asp-for="PostID"></!label>

With the opt-out character, the HTML will not be generated for the label tag in the above case. We can use this opt-out character if we want to conditionally control rendering of the HTML elements.

The scope of Tag helpers

We can add _ViewImports.cshtml to any view folder, and the view engine applies the directives from both the view folder and from the Views\_ViewImports.cshtml.

We can limit the Tag helper scope to specific view folder by adding a _ViewImports.cshtml inside the view folder. If we want to control it in a Home folder then adding Views/Home/_ViewImports.cshtml will make the view imports available within that folder itself.

Default Tag helpers

There are many tag helpers created by Microsoft, which are included by default if you’ve created a dot net core project.

Intellisense support for Tag helpers

Once you start writing any HTML element the icon for the HTML tag displays like this.

This indicates that the element is targeted by Tag Helpers. Normal HTML elements will just display the “<>” icon.

Once you add the asp-for attribute to the HTML element the color of the HTML element will be changed to purple.

So, you can distinguish between a normal HTML tag and a tag helper tag.

Conclusion

With the HTML helpers in ASP.NET MVC projects, it’s hard for the front-end designer to HTML attributes to the elements in the file.

Tag helpers offer the server side code into the HTML elements while keeping the original HTML markup.