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Project Description

The CSS Friendly Control Adapters kit (for ASP.Net 2.0) provides pre-built control adapters that you can easily use to generate CSS-friendly markup from some of the more commonly used ASP.NET controls.


A new version of these adapters is in development! Head over to for more information and to preview what's been done so far.


The goal of the CSS Friendly project is to transform as many of the traditional ASP.Net web controls to provide CSS-friendly, browser-compatible markup. The project will be released as a single DLL which can be referenced in any web project for simple distribution.


Users are expected to be familiar with referencing and using third-party assemblies into their existing ASP.Net projects.

1. Downloading the current release. There are two ways you can do this:
  • Go to the Releases tab. You should see three prominent links to files. The zip file contains the source code, the CSSFriendly.dll file contains the compiled source code, and the the CSSFriendlyAdapters.browser file is a configuration file. You only need the dll and browser files.
  • Go to the Source Code tab. Download the latest change set (source code) by clicking the Download tab. This will include the source code, a test/sample web site, and the CSSFriendlyAdapters.browser configuration file. Open the source code project in Visual Studio, compile it to produce CSSFriendly.dll file. Note that the latest change set has many features and bug fixes over the latest release, but is not as well tested in production environments.

2. Add a reference to CSSFriendly.dll. This is typically done by right-clicking your web project, choosing the Add References command, browsing for the CSSFriendly.dll file, and clicking OK.

3. Add the CSSFriendlyAdapters.browser file to the AppBrowsers folder in the root of your web project. If the AppBrowsers folder doesn't exist, create it.

Note: You can delete lines from the configuration file if you do not want to use the modified adapters for certain controls.

How to join

Generally, the easiest way to help out:
  • Download the latest source code.
  • Make local changes.
  • Send us a copy of the file(s) and change(s) made, along with an explanation (i.e. a "patch").
  • We'll review the changes and integrate them with CodePlex.

Once we're comfortable working together and we get to see the type and quality of the work you do, we'll make you a developer so you can check-in changes to CodePlex directly.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is this the official release of the CSS Friendly Control Adapters? Kind of. Originally, it wasn't, but when Microsoft handed the keys to the community, it became the official release. Still, more information can be found on Microsoft's ASP.Net web site.
  • I had a look at the source code and I noticed that is only embedding three CSS files for three controls: Menu, DetailsView and TreeView. Why are the others missing The original (uncompiled) distribution includes a number of CSS files, . but most of the code therein is non-functional. If you place your custom CSS files in your web project (typically under the App_Themes folder) things will work fine with the pre-compiled distribution.


Getting feedback is important to us. You can provide feedback at the following web sites:

*Only report issues at CodePlex which are clearly an issue with this project. If you are unsure, post on the Comments and Questions forum.


It all started in late 2006 when Microsoft released the original CSS Friendly Control Adapters source code. It worked, but implementing it in a web site required either using a separate Visual Studio project template or manually injecting code files into an existing project. Considering the original project was released at least in some degree as a tutorial, this is not surprising.

Frustrated by the extra steps taken to incorporate these controls into a web project, an independent developer, Brian DeMarzo, repackaged the code so that it compiled into a single DLL, making it easy to include its functionality into any web project.

On March 7, 2007, Microsoft approved the idea of directly letting the community decide on and implement changes to the ASP.NET 2.0 CSS Friendly Control Adapters, undoubtedly thanks to the efforts of the original developer of the CSS adapters, Russ Helfand. This CodePlex project became the source for all future releases of the CSS Friendly Control Adapters.

In October, 2008, development began on a bottom-to-top rewrite of the adapters. Current documentation and source code for the new version is available at

Last edited Oct 27, 2008 at 4:58 PM by bdemarzo, version 14