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This is a bit of a rant, but still - might help someone also plagued with the same problem.

I'm doing several projects at the moment, and finding that templating in ASP.NET is non-existant.  I know it's going to be fixed with the new version in 2005 - but still, I don't want to wait.

So when making a page with a consistent layout you have three choices:

  • Generate all content for the page and feed it to the client, ignore all the object based capabilities of and use it like PHP or Java server pages.
  • Use copious literals to import your header, footer and menu from someplace or auto-generate them at run time.  Again loose any nifty advantages had over the others in the process - but keep them for the main content
  • Output the page as XML then format it using an XSLT.

At the moment I've gone with the literals - it's easiest whilst still being rather than c# generating html and sending it to a client.

But what did Microsoft expect us to do?  This is just downright silly...