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Displaying Parent/Child Database Relationships through an ASP Page

By Syed Armoghan Qadir Shah

As the Internet grows the need for dynamic data grows. I looked at several techniques on how display data using ASP and HTML. None of the techniques satisfied my needs. I wanted to look at my data over the Internet in Master/Detail fashion. In Relational data bases you can relate to pieces of your data. Like the Parent/Child relationship where, say there is a Customer table and an Orders table, you want to find orders relating to a particular customer. To setup such a relationship, the primary key in Customer table would be a foreign key in the Orders table. This key will pull down information from the data base.

A Master/Detail relationship is the same concept. Let us talk about the Northwind Database. In that database there is an Orders table, If the user wants to see the related records in the Order Details table they would be displayed based on OrderID key which will establish a relationship between the two tables.

What I wanted to do was to be able to display a list of orders from the Orders table, having each record provide a hyperlink, that, if clicked, would display that particular order's entry from the Order Details table. I looked at an ASP-DB solution but that was too sophisticated for my needs.

Therefore, I decided to write my own program to help my users look at order details over the Intranet and internet. I got help from Microsoft in this project and the end result I want to share with you all. In the past I have definitely benefited from articles from 4Guys. This article is the first part of a three part series. In the second part I will show how to link two details with one Master Record. In the third and final part I will utilize ADO Data Shaping techniques to effectively query and Page through Recordsets. (To learn more about data shaping, be sure to read: Data Shaping and Advanced Data Shaping Techniques.)

In my code example in this article I will use the Northwind database which ships with Microsoft Office. Below you can see a quick ER diagram of the Northwind tables I will be using:

... More irrelevant fields ...

Order Details

Another thing I will be displaying in this article would be how to use multiple recordsets using ADO and how to effectively sort and search records.

The system contains two pages, Master.asp and Detail.asp. The code for these two pages are too lengthy to post in this article, but there are links to the source code and to an on-line demo at the bottom of this page. You can also demo the code presented in this article.

If you click on the OrderID field on the master page (Master.asp) it will show you that particular order's details (Detail.asp). I believe that my solution proves to be much simpler than using expensive solutions; furthermore, with my solution the has more control on what information to display. With a little modification to these scripts you can use this code for your own projects!

For feedback please email me at


  • Download the source code for Master.asp in text format
  • Download the source code for Detail.asp in text format
  • Test out the application!

    About the Author:
    My name is Syed Armoghan Qadir Shah. I am consultant with Infoexperts. I am consulting for a company called Sei Incentives, Ltd. SEI is based in Irving Texas. In the past I have done work with EDS as a Data Warehouse programmer. I have done my MBA with MIS as a Major from University of Dallas in Irving TX. My skill set includes Visual Basic, ASP, HTML, SQL Server, Java and MS Access. I started doing web pages as a hobby and then developed immense interest in ASP using ADO and VB Script. This is one of my many solutions I developed for one of my clients. I benefited a lot from web sites like and and wanted to contribute something useful. I saw a lot of postings on the ASP Messageboard about dynamic data bases but solutions to these were either pretty intricate or expensive.

    Some of the sites I have worked on are, and It is my philosophy to make complex coding techniques fairly simple. I further believe that writing computer code is an art and not a science. I can be reached at Happy Programming!

  • Article Information
    Article Title: Displaying Parent/Child Database Relationships through an ASP Page
    Article Author: Syed Armoghan Qadir Shah
    Published Date: Tuesday, February 08, 2000
    Article URL:

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