You’ve probably noticed that Jörn Zaefferer’s jQuery validation plugin has been gaining momentum in the ASP.NET community lately. Between Microsoft’s implied endorsement via ASP.NET MVC 2.0 integration and the plugin’s recent inclusion on the Microsoft AJAX CDN, adoption is only increasing. Unfortunately for those who don’t or can’t use ASP.NET MVC yet, using the validation plugin within WebForms applications can be tricky.
Because the WebForms Postback model requires that the entire page be contained within a single form element, form submissions that shouldn’t trigger validation are likely. ASP.NET’s built-in validation controls solve this with ValidationGroups and the CausesValidation property, but that doesn’t help if you’d prefer to use the jQuery validation plugin.
However, there are a couple relatively easy workarounds that make it possible to use the jQuery validation plugin on WebForms pages, without re-architecting the page or its forms. In this post, I’ll show you why the WebForms page structure is a problem, how to make jQuery validation work with it, and an example of implementing those workarounds.
Note: I want to preface this by saying that you should never rely entirely on client-side validation. The jQuery validation plugin can be a great replacement for the client-side part of the ASP.NET Validators, but it is not a complete replacement on its own. Use responsibly!