Accessing ASP.NET DropDownList Items from Code behind

Couple days ago I was writing an ASP.NET webform and I wanted to programmatically inspect the items in the drop down. The drop down list in the ASP.NET page looks something like this:

<asp:dropdownlist id="mydropdown" class="dropbox" runat="server">
  <asp:listitem text=" -- select -- " value="" />
  <asp:listitem text="Text 1" value="1" />
  <asp:listitem text="Text 2" value="2" />
  <asp:listitem text="Text 3" value="3" />

and then in the code behind (like I mentioned before) you can do a bunch of useful things. First, if I wanted to set the default selected item in the form, I’d write this:

public void Page_Load(Object sender, EventArgs e) {
  // initialize form
  if (!IsPostBack) {
   mydropdown.SelectedValue = "1";

That’s relatively trivial, it gets more interesting when you consider that you can access the DropDownList items programatically:

foreach (ListItem l in mydropdown.Items) {
  if (l.Value == 1) {
   l.Selected = true;

In the above example I use the foreach statement to iterate through the collection of ListItems in the Items property. If the Value property of the ListItem is 1, then I set that to be selected. You can also access the Text property of the List Item.

The C# foreach construct jogged my memory about Java 1.5 (Tiger) which is supposed to have enhanced ‘for’ loops (also read this); for example this:

for (Iterator i = c.iterator(); i.hasNext(); ) {
  // do stuff with 'i'

becomes this:

for (Object o : c) {
  // do stuff w/ 'o'

When is 1.5 gonna arrive?

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