Aspx CheckBoxList Alternative that allows for the OnCheckedChanged event

My team had to edit an older apsx website and add a list of CheckBoxes, which are actually html <input type="checkbox"/> tags.  We assumed that CheckBoxList would be perfect for our task. We assumed wrong.

I wrote desktop apps for years and now that I am writing web apps, I am using MVC and Razor, so I missed the aspx days. However, having to work on legacy aspx applications is catching me up.

My use case for list of CheckBoxes

Really, my use case is simple. There are icons that should show up for some products. We wanted to store a map between products and the icons in the database. On the product page, we want a list of the icons with a checkbox by each list item. This would allow the person who creates new products to select which icons to show on a product download page.

  1. Get a list of option from a database and display that list as html checkboxes.
  2. Checking a checkbox should add a row to a database table.
  3. Unchecking a checkbox should remove that row from a database table.

CheckBoxList Fails

So what I needed was an OnClick event which is actually called OnCheckedChanged in an asp:Checkbox. Well, it turns out that the CheckBoxList control doesn’t support the OnCheckedChanged event per CheckBox. The CheckBoxList doesn’t have any type of OnClick method. Instead, there is an OnSelectedIndexChanged event. But OnSelectedIndexChanged doesn’t even tell you which CheckBox was clicked. If a CheckBox is checked, then in the OnSelectedIndexChanged event, the SelectedItem equals the clicked item, however, if the CheckBox is unchecked, the SelectedItem was a completely different CheckBox that is checked.

So to me, this made the CheckBoxList control not usable. So I set out to replicate a CheckBoxList in a way that supports OnCheckedChanged.

Repeater with CheckBox for ItemTemplate

I ended up using the Repeater control with an ItemTemplate containing a CheckBox. Using this method worked pretty much flawlessly. It leaves me to wonder, why was CheckBoxList created in the first place if a Repeater with a CheckBox in the template works perfectly well.

Here is my code:

<%@ Page Title="Home Page" Language="C#" MasterPageFile="~/Site.Master" AutoEventWireup="true" CodeBehind="Default.aspx.cs" Inherits="CheckBoxListExample._Default" %>

<%@ Import Namespace="CheckBoxListExample" %>
<%@ Import Namespace="CheckBoxListExample.Models" %>

<asp:Content ID="BodyContent" ContentPlaceHolderID="MainContent" runat="server">
        <asp:Repeater ID="Repeater1" runat="server">
                <asp:CheckBox ID="cb1" runat="server" AutoPostBack="true" OnCheckedChanged="RepeaterCheckBoxChanged"
                    Text="<%# ((CheckBoxViewModel)Container.DataItem).Name %>"
                    Checked="<%# ((CheckBoxViewModel)Container.DataItem).IsChecked %>" />
using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Web.UI;
using System.Web.UI.WebControls;
using CheckBoxListExample.Models;

namespace CheckBoxListExample
    public partial class _Default : Page
        private List<CheckBoxViewModel> _ViewModels;

        protected void Page_Load(object sender, EventArgs e)
            if (!IsPostBack)
                var _ViewModels = new List<CheckBoxViewModel>
                    new CheckBoxViewModel {Name = "Test1", IsChecked = true},
                    new CheckBoxViewModel {Name = "Test2"},
                    new CheckBoxViewModel {Name = "Test3"}
                Repeater1.DataSource = _ViewModels;

        protected void RepeaterCheckBoxChanged(object sender, EventArgs e)
            var cb = sender as CheckBox;
            if (cb == null) return;
            if (cb.Checked)
                // Insert
                // Delete
namespace CheckBoxListExample.Models
    public class CheckBoxViewModel
        public string Name { get; set; }
        public bool IsChecked { get; set; }

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