In the 1.3 release of the UCLA Mobile Web Framework, the Forms API was introduced, providing an easy mechanism for styling forms for display on a mobile device.

The CSS rules for the Forms API, however, were attached directly to the form element. In other words, you can simply add a form element to your MWF page:

		<input type="text" name="username" />
	<input class="primary" type="submit" value="Sign-up"/>

And the MWF Forms API will apply styling directly to this element. This is desired behavior in most cases. However, the ASP.NET Web Forms model, in an effort to simulate a stateful Windows Form, requires wrapping many Server Controls in a form element like so:

<form runat="server">
	<!-- Placing this button outside of the form element causes an exception -->
	<asp:Button runat="server" ID="btnAddItem" Text="Add Item" OnClick="OnClickAddItem" />

On top of this, the default Web Forms templates in Visual Studio encourage wrapping the entire page in an all-encompassing form element by dropping the following into the MasterPage:

	<form runat="server">
	<!-- Page Contents -->

However, because the MWF CSS expects that only the traditional form elements will be within a form element on the page, the wrapping form element causes a number of styling errors.

This is a problem that is not likely to go away because it would require adding an API-breaking change to MWF to merely suit the needs of the (arguably misguided) ASP.NET Web Forms model.

Introducing MWF ASP.NET Web Forms

There are two main solutions to this problem:

  • Hack the CSS to fix any styling errors
  • Restructure your page to only use the form element when necessary

The good news here is that I’ve created a repository that covers both of these solutions. More specifically, the repository includes:

  • Override stylesheets to correct the styling errors
  • General guidelines for restructuring ASP.NET Web Forms pages

Instructions for installing and applying the styles are listed in the README. Let me know what you think!