How to Create Search Functionality in ASP.NET Website

How to Create Search Functionality in ASP.NET Website

As your site grows in pages, so does the time required for visitors to locate specific information on it. While it’s obvious to most the benefits of extending a site with search functionality, the ease in which this could be done may not be. Search box is an important thing for a website, for example is in an e-commerce site. An effective site search function on an e-commerce site has a number of potential benefits. Customers are accustomed to finding results quickly and (mainly) accurately from search engines, and will expect a similar experience on e-commerce sites. On e-commerce sites, up to 30% of visitors will use the site search box, and each of these users is showing a possible intent to purchase by entering product names or codes.


In this article we will be creating simple search functionality in ASP.NET. Once the user searches for information, we are going to query our DataBase using Entity Framework and display the results as links in the Client Template of RadSearchBox. The control will be populated with data via Web Service, where the returned data will be structured.

The DataBase

For the sake of the example, we are going to create a simple Table (ControlsTable) adding few columns: ControlID, ControlName, ControlContents and SectionName.

Querying the DataBase Using ASP.NET Entity Framework

ASP.NET Entity Framework is an Object/Relational Mapping (O/RM) framework, which provides an automated mechanism for accessing and storing the data in the database. It provides the ability for the developers to retrieve and manipulate data as strongly typed objects using C# or VB.Net.

DataEntities db = new DataEntities();
        var q = db.ControlsTables.Where(i =>
                  i.ControlName.Contains(context.Text.Trim()) ||
                  i.ControlContents.Contains(context.Text.Trim()) ||

Each time the user types a character in the input of the control a callback is triggered to the WebService and the underlying database is requested with the above query. The retrieved entries from the database would be the ones, which contain the value that was entered in the input.

Displaying the Results

In order to provide RadSearchBox with the needed, we have to manage the returned data source in the WebService in the following manner:

    public SearchBoxData GetSearchResults(SearchBoxContext context)
        List<SearchBoxItemData> resultSet = new List<SearchBoxItemData>(); 
        DataEntities db = new DataEntities(); 
        var q = db.RadControlsTables.Where(i =>
                  i.ControlName.Contains(context.Text.Trim()) ||
                  i.ControlContents.Contains(context.Text.Trim()) ||
        foreach (var item in q)
            string controlName = item.ControlName.ToString();
            string sectionName = item.SectionName.ToString(); 
            string url = string.Format("{0}/{1}/{2}/default.aspx",
            SearchBoxItemData searchItemitem = new SearchBoxItemData();
            searchItemitem.Text = controlName;
            searchItemitem.Value = url;
            searchItemitem.DataItem["Text"] = sectionName;
        SearchBoxData res = new SearchBoxData();
        res.Items = resultSet.ToArray(); 
        return res;

Then you could easily configure the ClientTemplate of ASP.NET SearchBox control, in order to evaluate the structured data:

     <a href="#= Value #">
       <span>#= DataItem.Text #</span>
         <span>#= Text #</span>

User Experience

At the end, what we’ve achieved is quite flexible search functionality, using a WebService and ASP.NET Entity Framework, which serves out the result in a user-friendly manner.


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