ASP.NET Core - Razor View Import


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In this chapter, we will discuss the Razor View Import. In addition to the ViewStart file, there is also a ViewImports file that the MVC framework will look for when rendering any view.

Like the ViewStart file, we can drop ViewImports.cshtml into a folder, and the ViewImports file can influence all the views in the folder hierarchy

View Imports
  • This view is new for this version of MVC, in the previous versions of MVC, we could use an XML configuration file to configure certain aspects of the Razor view engine.

  • Those XML files are gone now and we use code instead.

  • The ViewImports file is a place where we can write code and place common directives to pull in namespaces that our views need.

  • If there are namespaces that we commonly use in our views, we can have using directives appear once in our ViewImports file instead of having using directives in every view or typing out the full namespace of a class.

Example

Let us take a simple example to see how to move our using directives into ViewImports. Inside the Index view, we have a using directive to bring in the namespace FirstAppDemo.Controllers as shown in the following program.

@using FirstAppDemo.Controllers 
@model HomePageViewModel  
@{  
   ViewBag.Title = "Home"; 
} 
<h1>Welcome!</h1> 

<table> 
   @foreach (var employee in Model.Employees) { 
      <tr> 
         <td> 
            @Html.ActionLink(employee.Id.ToString(), "Details", new { id = employee.Id })
         </td> 
         <td>@employee.Name</td> 
      </tr> 
   } 
</table>

Using directives will allow the code that is generated from the Razor view to compile correctly. Without using directives, the C# compiler won't be able to find this Employee type. To see the employee type, let us remove the using directive from the Index.cshtml file.

@model HomePageViewModel 
@{  
    ViewBag.Title = "Home"; 
} 
<h1>Welcome!</h1> 

<table> 
   @foreach (var employee in Model.Employees) { 
      <tr>
         <td>
            @Html.ActionLink(employee.Id.ToString(), "Details", new { id = employee.Id })
         </td> 
         <td>@employee.Name</td> 
      </tr> 
   } 
</table> 

Now, run the application.

Index CSHtml

You will see one of the errors that states that the type or namespace HomePageViewModel could not be found. It might be because several of your views need that same using directive. So, instead of placing that inside each view, let us create a View import in the Views folder. This will add using statements to every view with just a right-click on the Views folder and selecting Add → New Item.

Home Page Model View

In the middle pane, select the MVC View Imports Page. By default, the name is _ViewImports.cshtml. Just like ViewStart, we cannot use this file to render HTML, so let us click on the Add button.

View imports Cshtml

Now add the using directive in this into _ViewImports.cshtml file as shown below.

@using FirstAppDemo.Controllers

Now, all the views that appear in this folder or any subfolder will be able to use types from FirstAppDemo.Controllers without specifying that exact using statement. Let us run your application again and you can see that the view is working now.

FirstAppDemo Controllers

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