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Posted 3 Jul 2013


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Tree/Organization structure

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3 Jul 2013CPOL5 min read
Create HTML tree or organization structure for web applications.


A tree structure is a way of representing the hierarchical nature of a structure in a graphical form. ASP.NET provides tree control to represent hierarchy structure, but this is very basic control and do not have capability to show in graphical manner. It’s very easy to understand the relationships between nodes at one glance.

Image 1

This article provides detail on how to create tree structure. I have created sample code that you can either use as-is or customized as per your need.


The tree structure is created with basic HTML Table and Div controls with basic styles, hence supported by all the browsers. HTML table cells hold the node name and the lines to show node relationship. These lines are basically created with DIV tags. Line width is calculated on the bases of its child node.

Code Detail

Basic Data requirements

My data reside in SQL server and used SQL queries to fetch the data. Below table has sample data to create tree structure. In this example column ID has unique values and column PID (Parent ID ) has relationship with ID column. Column Name is self explanatory that is node name in tree.

Below is table structure used to create Hierarchical structure.

2Chief Account Officer1
4Additional Commissioner1
6Administrative Officer1
7Estate Officer1
8Account Officer2
9Account Head2
10Deputy Commissioner14
11Deputy Commissioner 24
12Drug Division10
13Project Division10
14Capital Project10
16Korba project11
17Admin project11
19Officer 29

Column Descriptions:

ID: Represent unique id for each node in tree.

Name: Name of the node

PID: Parent ID of Node ( This is relation with ID column).

Every Tree has only one parent node and in my example parent node has PID value as zero.

Code Detail

How to Use

Step 1: Add below style and DIV tag you aspx page . These style are used while rendering the tree in browser.

Style used for hierarchy structure in ASPX page

<style type="text/css">

{   position:relative;
    width: 2px;
    height: 25px;
    background-color: #000000;

    border-collapse: collapse;
table td { border:0;   vertical-align:top;   text-align:center; word-wrap: break-word;


ASPX page code - Div will hold the tree structure.

    <form id="form1" runat="server">
    <div id="abc" runat="server"></div>

Step 2: Add below code in ASPX page cs file. The first line of Page_load function create the instance of the “OrgTree” class and the second line of the code call the “CreateTreeHtml()” function to generate the application.

protected void Page_Load(object sender, EventArgs e)
    OrgTree orgTree = new OrgTree();
    //Assing output of the CreateTreeHtml function to Div
    abc.InnerHtml = orgTree.CreateTreeHtml();

Step 3: Add Class “OrgTree” in your project and modify the connection string to point it to your database. Change the table name if required. You will find more detail about this class in next section.

Run your application and you will find the tree structure on your screen.

How it works Core Functionality

The class “OrgTree” contains the core logic to create a tree structure. This class contain create two mail function and rest four function are helper to create tree. I will explain each function in detail in subsequent sections.

1. CreateTreeHtml: This is public function and expose to outer world to create tree structure. This function internally calls another function CreateLevelNode which take the input as ID of parent node in tree. In this example I have passes value as 1 because in my example parent node id is one.

public string CreateTreeHtml()
    // CreateLevelNode funtion accept the Root node id. In this example the root node id is 1.
    return CreateLevelNode(1);

2. CreateLevelNode : This is core function that return the HTML string of hierarchy structure. This function is called recursively to create entire tree structure. In the first step it create parent node and then create child node. Each child node again calls this function to create its child node. This process goes continuously until all the leaf nodes are get created. Basic logic is creating table with number of columns equal to child nodes. One extra table row is created in each table to draw horizontal line. This horizontal line is nothing but a DIV tag in HTML having height as 1 pixel, when this DIV is rendered in the browser it appears just as a single line.

Same way for each node creates a vertical line down to each parent node and again this vertical line is DIV tag having width 1 pixel.

private string CreateLevelNode(int PID)
    string finalHdiv;
    StringBuilder sbmainTbl = new StringBuilder();
    DataTable dtparent = GetParentNodeDetails(PID);
    //Caclulate with of tabele cell.     
    int leafNodeCount = GetLeafNodeCount(PID);
    if (leafNodeCount == 0)
        leafNodeCount = 1;//avoid divide by 0 error
    int tdWidth = 100 / leafNodeCount;

    // Get the difference in width to create blank node.
    int tdWidthDiff = 100 - leafNodeCount * tdWidth;

    sbmainTbl.AppendFormat("{0}", tabletag);

    // Add parent Node Text .

    // Get the child node Name
    DataTable dt = GetChildNodeDetails(int.Parse(dtparent.Rows[0]["ID"].ToString()));
    int childNodecount = dt.Rows.Count;

    //Draw Horizontal and Vertical line if child nore are more than one.
    if (childNodecount > 1)
        if (childNodecount > 0)
            sbmainTbl.AppendFormat("<tr><td>{0}</td></tr>", VDiv);

        if (childNodecount == 0)
            finalHdiv = string.Format(HDiv, 0, 0);
            finalHdiv = HLineWidth(PID);// string.Format(HDiv, 100 - 100 / 
              childNodecount, 100 / (2 * childNodecount));
        sbmainTbl.AppendFormat("<tr><td>{0}</td></tr>", finalHdiv);


    //Create Vertical line below parent Node.
    sbmainTbl.AppendFormat("{0}<tr>", tabletag);
    for (int i = 0; i < childNodecount; i++)
        int leafNodeCountchild = GetLeafNodeCount(int.Parse(dt.Rows[i]["ID"].ToString()));
        if (leafNodeCountchild > 0)
            sbmainTbl.AppendFormat("<td style=\"width:{0}%\" >{1}</td>", 
                                   leafNodeCountchild * tdWidth, VDiv);
            sbmainTbl.AppendFormat("<td>{1}</td>", VDiv);
        // sbmainTbl.AppendFormat("<td style=\"width:{0}%\" >{1}</td>", tdWidth, VDiv);
    //Create empty Cell.
    if (tdWidthDiff > 0)
        sbmainTbl.AppendFormat("<td style=\"width:{0}%\" ></td>", tdWidthDiff);

    for (int i = 0; i < childNodecount; i++)
        //Create Child Node Table.
    //Create empty Cell.
    if (tdWidthDiff > 0)
        sbmainTbl.AppendFormat("<td style=\"width:{0}%\" ></td>", tdWidthDiff);
    sbmainTbl.AppendFormat("</td></tr></table>", tabletag);
    return sbmainTbl.ToString();

3. HLineWidth: This function calculate the width of horizontal line and set the left offset point to draw this line. As number of child node in tree are not fixed so width of line is calculated based upon the number of child nodes. If child node is one than no need to draw horizontal line and if Node do not have any child then do nothing. Let’s consider child nodes are three than horizontal line width would be half width of first node + width of second node + half width of last node. Offset point would be half width of first child node.

private string HLineWidth(int PID)
    //This function calculate the width of Horizontal line 

    float HlineWidth = 0;

    int leafNodeCount = GetLeafNodeCount(PID);
    if (leafNodeCount == 0)
        leafNodeCount = 1;//avoid divide by 0 error
    float tdWidth = 100 / leafNodeCount;
    float tdWidthDiff = 100 - tdWidth * leafNodeCount;
    DataTable dt = GetChildNodeDetails(PID);
    int childNodecount = dt.Rows.Count;

    float offset = 0;
    for (int i = 0; i < childNodecount; i++)
        int leafNodeCountchild = GetLeafNodeCount(
        if (i == 0)
            offset = leafNodeCountchild * tdWidth / 2;
            HlineWidth = HlineWidth + offset;                   
        else if (i == (childNodecount - 1))
            HlineWidth = HlineWidth + leafNodeCountchild * tdWidth / 2;                   
            HlineWidth = HlineWidth + leafNodeCountchild * tdWidth;                   

    return string.Format(HDiv, HlineWidth , offset);

4. CellText : This is very simple function and just add the parent node name inside the DIV tag.This function is intentionally created to provide colors and background color to node. You can also customize this to create hyperlink or add custom functionality on this node.

private string CellText(string Celltxt)
    // Set the Node text here. You can customize this as per your requirement.
    return string.Format("<div style=\"display:block; " + 
      "word-wrap: break-word; width: 99%;\">{0}</div>", Celltxt);

5. GetChildNodeDetails : This function just connect to data base and get the child nodes detail for next level only. You must change the connection string to point to your DB to get the required data.

private DataTable GetChildNodeDetails(int parentId)
    // Get the Current level child node details (ID , Name, PID)
    SqlConnection con = new SqlConnection();
    con.ConnectionString = ConnectionString;
    SqlCommand cmd = new SqlCommand(
      "select * from tree where pid= " + parentId.ToString(), con);
    //create the DataAdapter & DataSet
    SqlDataAdapter da = new SqlDataAdapter(cmd);
    DataSet ds = new DataSet();
    return ds.Tables[0];

6. GetParentNodeDetails : This function just get the current node name and its ID. This ID would be used to get their child node in further calls. This function return the HTML Hierarchy table.

private DataTable GetParentNodeDetails(int ID)
    // Get the Parent Node Name and ID
    SqlConnection con = new SqlConnection();
    con.ConnectionString = ConnectionString;
    SqlCommand cmd = new SqlCommand("select * from tree where id= " + ID.ToString(), con);
    //create the DataAdapter & DataSet
    SqlDataAdapter da = new SqlDataAdapter(cmd);
    DataSet ds = new DataSet();
    return ds.Tables[0];

7. GetLeafNodeCount: This is last function and just return the leaf level nodes count for parent node.

private int GetLeafNodeCount(int ID)
    // This function return the Leaf node count.
    string query = string.Format(@"WITH Node (ID, name,PID)
                                AS  (
                                    SELECT     tree.ID, , tree.PID
                                    FROM       tree
                                    WHERE      ID ={0}
                                    UNION ALL
                                    SELECT     tree.ID,, tree.PID
                                    FROM       tree
                                    INNER JOIN Node
                                    ON         tree.PID = Node.ID
                                SELECT  ID, name,PID FROM   Node
                                where  ID not in (SELECT  PID FROM   Node)
                                ", ID);

    SqlConnection con = new SqlConnection();
    con.ConnectionString = ConnectionString;
    SqlCommand cmd = new SqlCommand(query, con);
    //create the DataAdapter & DataSet
    SqlDataAdapter da = new SqlDataAdapter(cmd);
    DataSet ds = new DataSet();
    return ds.Tables[0].Rows.Count;


Class level variables: Below are variables used by above functions:

//tableTag variable define the table with style for the Hierarchy structure.
string tabletag = "<table class =\"tbl\" border=\"0\" " + 
  "cellpadding=\"0\" cellspacing=\"0\" style=\" " + 
  "table-layout: fixed;   width:100% ;vertical-align:top; text-align:center\" >";
//HDiv variable Show horizontal  line .
string HDiv = " <div style=\"position:relative; background-color:" + 
  " #000000;width: {0}%; left:{1}%;  height: 2px;\"></div>";
//HDiv variable Show horizontal  line .
string VDiv = " <div class=\"vertical\"></div>";

String ConnectionString = @"Data Source=.\;Initial Catalog=TestDB;Integrated Security=True";


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)


About the Author

Anil kumar Bhardwaj
United States United States
No Biography provided

Comments and Discussions

QuestionNeed your HELP URGENTLY Pin
Amit Bhandari25-Sep-14 19:47
MemberAmit Bhandari25-Sep-14 19:47 
Questionwant to add new functionality on the node Pin
Amit Kumar14326-Dec-13 23:31
professionalAmit Kumar14326-Dec-13 23:31 
hello Anil,
i just want to add two functionality on the node and it will like
1.Add image on the node according with the node text details
2.suppose i hover on node text then there will a option to add child node manually from the page.

the first part i have done,but don't know how to accomplish second part.
kindly help me in second part.

QuestionCan you make this generic, so it can be used as a structure in ASP MVC menu's as well Pin
longnights14-Sep-13 19:31
Memberlongnights14-Sep-13 19:31 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
longnights14-Sep-13 19:30
Memberlongnights14-Sep-13 19:30 
QuestionNot bad. Could take the structure further though for best performance Pin
robvon11-Jul-13 22:10
Memberrobvon11-Jul-13 22:10 
GeneralMy vote of 3 Pin
MB Seifollahi7-Jul-13 22:11
professionalMB Seifollahi7-Jul-13 22:11 
GeneralRe: My vote of 3 Pin
Anil kumar Bhardwaj7-Jul-13 22:47
MemberAnil kumar Bhardwaj7-Jul-13 22:47 
GeneralMy vote of 4 Pin
Ashutosh Phoujdar4-Jul-13 2:53
MemberAshutosh Phoujdar4-Jul-13 2:53 

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