Pass data to Master Page with ASP.NET MVC

I have a hybrid ASP.NET WebForms/MVC project. In my Master Page, I have a "menu" User Control and a "footer" User Control. Anyways. I need to pass some data (2 strings) to my "menu" User Control on my Master Page (to select the current tab in my menu navigation, etc.) My views are strongly-typed to my data model. How can I push data from my controller to my menu or at least allow my master page to access some data pre-defined in my controller?

Note: I understand this violates pure ASP.NET MVC, but like I said, it is a hybrid project. The main purpose of my introduction to ASP.NET MVC into my project was to have more control over my UI for certain situations only.


Put your strings into the ViewData collection,

ViewData["MenuString1"] = "My First String";
ViewData["MenuString2"] = "My Second String";

and retrieve them in the Master Page like this:

myMenu.Property1 = ViewData["MenuString1"].ToString();
myMenu.Property2 = ViewData["MenuString2"].ToString();

You can use ViewData to share data between the Controller and View that is not in the model. In the Controller, do something like ViewData["menu"] = myMenu; and then in the View do <%= ViewData["menu"] %>. You can pass objects but you need to cast the ViewData[key] back to the object type in the View.

Another way to do this is to put your menus and other non-Model related data needs into a separate controller. Then you can use RenderAction to call the action in your navigation controller that generates the menu. Hack has a blog post on RenderAction that explains this in more detail.

I lean towards using ViewData for temporary values from the controller like select lists and a RenderAction for unrelated things such as the main site navigation.

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