Overriding displayfor and editorfor to create custom outputs for mvc

At the Webcamp in Los Angeles, Phil Haack showed off a feature that I wasn’t presently aware of and I thought I’d share it with you. I’ve created a sample model that will be used to show off both a Display Template and Editor Template. You’ll notice I added a UIHint to the EmailAddress property. By default the DisplayFor would use the property type, in this case a string, however we want to override that and there are two ways to do it. One is to add a DataType attribute and the other is a UIHint. UIHint overrides the other attributes.

public class User {
    public string Username { get; set; }

    public string EmailAddress { get; set; }

    public DateTime DOB { get; set; }

Now that we have our simple object let’s create a Display Template for the EmailAddress property.

Display Templates

Display templates are cshtml partials that have the same name as the type they’re going to override the default templates provided by MVC. To create a Display Template you just create a Folder named “DisplayTemplates” within one of your controller views (or the shared folder) like so:

Display Template Folder Structure

I’ve created an EmailAddress.cshtml template that will format an email address with a mailto: link

@inherits System.Web.Mvc.WebViewPage<string>
<a href='mailto:@Model'>@Html.DisplayTextFor(m => m)</a>

I used both methods, @Model and an Html helper to display the actual value of the model. The call is easy enough in code. By default, when you create a Detail strongly typed view it outputs @Model.PropertyName. In this case we want to use the DisplayFor html helper.


    <div class="display-label">Username</div>
    <div class="display-field">@Model.Username</div>

    <div class="display-label">EmailAddress</div>
    <div class="display-field">@Html.DisplayFor( m => m.EmailAddress)</div>

Display For Email Address Link

Easy enough. We can modify the templates to our hearts content.

Editor Templates

Editor Templates are the same as display templates. To create an Editor Template you just create a folder named “EditorTemplates” within one of your controller views (or the shared folder) like so:

Editor Templates Folder Example

In this case I’ve created a DateTime editor to show you a sample of the power of editor templates. I’ve imported the jquery ui library to add a datepicker to our editor.

@inherits System.Web.Mvc.WebViewPage<System.DateTime>
@Html.TextBox("", (Model.ToShortDateString()), new { @class = "datePicker" })

the @class is the html attribute we’re using to assign the datePicker to textbox. Below is the jquery to add the datepicker to our new Textbox with the added class attribute.

<script type='text/javascript'>
    $(document).ready(function() {
        $(".datePicker").datepicker({buttonImage: "/content/images/calendar.gif", showOn: "both"});

And here are the results

Editor DateTime Sample


MVC has really gone to great lengths to allow you to override all kinds of built in methods.

- Ben