.NET Core fundamentals in one picture.

How to fix Microsoft.AspNetCore.Mvc.TagHelpers not being rendered!

Reading Time: 3 minutes.

Ha – another one, that ended up being a simple fix, but since nobody actually explains it well, took me an hour to figure out.

This post ended up being another example of my “I’m going to document every single fix, that took me more than 10 minutes to figure out, since that’ll help me (and others) the next time the same issue arises.” blogging strategy. Snappy name, right? Never was my strongest suit!

Anyway, I ended up banging my head to the wall. Hopefully after documenting this, you wouldn’t have to.

What are TagHelpers then?

I’m quoting and paraphrasing Microsoft for a while here, as they explain it pretty thoroughly:

Tag Helpers enable server-side code to participate in creating and rendering HTML elements in Razor files. There are many built-in Tag Helpers for common tasks – such as creating forms, links, loading assets and more – and even more available in public GitHub repositories and as NuGet packages.

Tag Helpers are authored in C#, and they target HTML elements based on element name, attribute name, or parent tag. For example, the built-in LabelTagHelper can target the HTML element when the LabelTagHelper attributes are applied.

An example of LabelTagHelper would be this:
<label asp-for=”Movie.Title”></label>

This built-in helper would fetch the name / display name for a property called Title on the object of type Movie on a view.

If you’re familiar with HTML Helpers, Tag Helpers reduce the explicit transitions between HTML and C# in Razor views. In many cases, HTML Helpers provide an alternative approach to a specific Tag Helper, but it’s important to recognize that Tag Helpers don’t replace HTML Helpers and there’s not a Tag Helper for each HTML Helper.

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/aspnet/core/mvc/views/tag-helpers/intro?view=aspnetcore-2.2

In short, they reduce the need for you to code menial, boring stuff, that nobody wants to do. That’s good stuff.

How to start using “Microsoft.AspNet.Mvc.TagHelpers”?

The bottom line is this – you need to add this line to your _ViewImports.cshtml file. And you need to make SURE, that the particular _ViewImports file is used for your views!

@using Microsoft.AspNetCore.Identity
@using YourApp
@namespace YourNamespace
@addTagHelper *, Microsoft.AspNetCore.Mvc.TagHelpers

So what was wrong in my case?

I had downloaded an example from Microsoft, and built on top of that. The sample was great, but not meant to familiarize the user with how routing works in ASP.NET Core – it was just expected to work. But suddenly, for me it stopped working, when I added another controller with views!

So what exactly didn’t work?

Code like below wouldn’t route anything anywhere. The anchor elements were not links at all.

<!-- Other stuff here -->
<td>
                    <a asp-action="Edit" asp-route-id="@item.SiteId">Edit</a> |
                    <a asp-action="Details" asp-route-id="@item.SiteId">Details</a> |
                    <a asp-action="Delete" asp-route-id="@item.SiteId">Delete</a>
                </td>
<!-- Other stuff continues -->

Why did this work on some Views, but not on others?

And how to fix that?

The fix ended up being simple – just copypaste a suitable _ViewImports.cshtml under your /Views -folder.

The _ViewImports.cshtml file is required in the folder your Views are in, or its parents. The example I was working with only included _ViewImports -files under /Pages and its subfolders.

Another things, that’s super simple when you know it, but frustrating when you’re picking something new up!

Further Reading

Antti K. Koskela

Antti Koskela is a proud digital native nomadic millenial full stack developer (is that enough funny buzzwords? That's definitely enough funny buzzwords!), who works as a Solutions Architect for Valo Intranet, the product that will make you fall in love with your intranet. Working with the global partner network, he's responsible for the success of Valo deployments happening all around the world.

He's been a developer from 2004 (starting with PHP and Java), and he's been bending and twisting SharePoint into different shapes since MOSS. Nowadays he's not only working on SharePoint, but also on .NET projects, Azure, Office 365 and a lot of other stuff.

This is his personal professional (e.g. professional, but definitely personal) blog.

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