Auto UI Overview

This feature is new in DotVVM 4.1.

DotVVM Auto UI is a separate NuGet package DotVVM.AutoUI which contains components for auto-generation of user interface based on model classes and metadata.

It can be used make consistent look & feel of forms and data grid pages in large DotVVM applications, and it saves a lot of repeated and often copy-pasted pieces of markup.


All components from Auto UI have the <auto: tag prefix. Basically, there are three components which helps with the automatic generation of UI elements.

  • Editor generates the editor control for a specified property. You can use this control in some scenarios, but it is mainly used internally by other Auto UI components.

  • Form with its versions BootstrapForm and BulmaForm generates a form for an object in the current binding context.

  • GridViewColumns is a special type of a GridView column which generates the columns based on the current row binding context.


To use the library, you need to register it in the ConfigureServices method in DotvvmStartup.cs:


After that, you can use the Auto UI controls in your DotVVM pages.

Model metadata

To provide field labels, display formats and other metadata to the Auto UI, you can use one of the several options:

  • Data annotation attributes on properties of the model classes:
[Display("First Name")]
[Visible(ViewNames = "List")]
[Enabled(Roles = "Administrator | Moderator")]
public string FirstName { get; set; }
  • Providing metadata by a convention-based approach in the Auto UI configuration:
options.AddAutoUI(config => {
        .For(p => p.Name.EndsWith("ImageUrl"), rule => rule.SetUIHint("Image"));
  • Providing RESX files with field labels and error messages.

  • Implementing your own IPropertyDisplayMetadataProvider and replacing the default implementation in IServiceCollection.

See the Metadata chapter for more info.

Default rules

By default, Auto UI Form controls looks at the property type and infers the best editor for the purpuse.

  • For string and Guid properties, a TextBox controls will be used.
  • For numeric and date-time values, a TextBox with FormatString and appropriate Type (number, datetime-local) will be used.
  • For Enum values, a ComboBox will be used and the items will be generated from the enum members.
  • For bool values, a CheckBox will be used.

The GridViewColumns will use GridViewTextColumn for all of the types above except for bool which use GridViewCheckBoxColumn by default.


Auto UI adds a special Selection attribute which instructs the Auto UI that the value (or values) will be selected from a list of options.

  • For primitive type properties (strings, numbers, date & time values, enums and Guid), a ComboBox will be rendered so the user can pick one value. Nullable versions will allow selecting the null value as well.

  • For collections of primitive types, a group of CheckBox controls will be rendered, so the user can select multiple values.

When you use the selectors, Auto UI will automatically look for a property of type SelectionViewModel<TSelector> that will host the collection of options to select from. Also, you will need to provide an implementation of ISelectionProvider<TSelector> to be able to obtain the list of the options.

See the Selectors chapter for more info.

Custom rules

You can add your own handlers into the FormEditorProviders and GridColumnProviders.

See the Extensibility chapter for more info.

Relationship between Auto UI and Dynamic Data

Auto UI is an improved version of DotVVM Dynamic Data with more features and performance optimizations.

Main improvements in Auto UI:

  • Selectors
  • Pre-compilation of generated controls when the page is loaded for the first time
  • Multiple versions of Form controls for popular CSS frameworks Bootstrap and Bulma
  • Explicit listing of properties that should be generated using the IncludeProperties and ExcludeProperties
  • An option to override templates for specific generated properties

DotVVM Dynamic Data is still working and fully functional, but we don't plan to add new features there. We recommend to migrate to Auto UI.

See also