When an ASP. NET page runs, the page goes through a life cycle in which it performs a series of processing steps. These include initialization, instantiating controls, restoring and maintaining state, running event handler code, and rendering. It is important for you to understand the page life cycle so that you can write code at the appropriate life-cycle stage for the effect you intend.
If you develop custom controls, you must be familiar with the page life cycle in order to correctly initialize controls, populate control properties with view-state data, and run control behavior code. The life cycle of a control is based on the page life cycle, and the page raises many of the events that you need to handle in a custom control.
In general terms, the page goes through the stages outlined in the following table. In addition to the page life-cycle stages, there are application stages that occur before and after a request but are not specific to a page. For more information, see Introduction to the ASP. NET Application Life Cycle and ASP. NET Application Life Cycle Overview for IIS 7.0.
Some parts of the life cycle occur only when a page is processed as a postback. For postbacks, the page life cycle is the same during a partial-page postback (as when you use an UpdatePanel control) as it is during a full-page postback.
The page request occurs before the page life cycle begins. When the page is requested by a user, ASP. NET determines whether the page needs to be parsed and compiled (therefore beginning the life of a page), or whether a cached version of the page can be sent in response without running the page.
In the start stage, page properties such as Request and Response are set. At this stage, the page also determines whether the request is a postback or a new request and sets the IsPostBack property. The page also sets the UICulture property.
During page initialization,
controls on the page are available and each control’s UniqueID property is set. A master page and themes are also applied to the page if applicable. If the current request is a postback, the postback data has not yet been loaded and control property values have not been restored to the values from view state.
During load, if the current request is a postback, control properties are loaded with information recovered from view state and control state.
Postback event handling
If the request is a postback, control event handlers are called. After that, the Validate method of all validator controls is called, which sets the IsValid property of individual validator controls and of the page.
Before rendering, view state is saved for the page and all controls. During the rendering stage, the page calls the Render method for each control, providing a text writer that writes its output to the OutputStream object of the page’s Response property.
The Unload event is raised after the page has been fully rendered, sent to the client, and is ready to be discarded. At this point, page properties such as Response and Request are unloaded and cleanup is performed.