Image Tag Helper in ASP.NET Core

By Peter Kellner

The Image Tag Helper enhances the <img> tag to provide cache-busting behavior for static image files.

A cache-busting string is a unique value representing the hash of the static image file appended to the asset's URL. The unique string prompts clients (and some proxies) to reload the image from the host web server and not from the client's cache.

If the image source (src) is a static file on the host web server:

  • A unique cache-busting string is appended as a query parameter to the image source.
  • If the file on the host web server changes, a unique request URL is generated that includes the updated request parameter.

For an overview of Tag Helpers, see Tag Helpers in ASP.NET Core.

Image Tag Helper Attributes

src

To activate the Image Tag Helper, the src attribute is required on the <img> element.

The image source (src) must point to a physical static file on the server. If the src is a remote URI, the cache-busting query string parameter isn't generated.

asp-append-version

When asp-append-version is specified with a true value along with a src attribute, the Image Tag Helper is invoked.

The following example uses an Image Tag Helper:

<img src="~/images/asplogo.png" asp-append-version="true">

If the static file exists in the directory /wwwroot/images/, the generated HTML is similar to the following (the hash will be different):

<img src="/images/asplogo.png?v=Kl_dqr9NVtnMdsM2MUg4qthUnWZm5T1fCEimBPWDNgM">

The value assigned to the parameter v is the hash value of the asplogo.png file on disk. If the web server is unable to obtain read access to the static file, no v parameter is added to the src attribute in the rendered markup.

Hash caching behavior

The Image Tag Helper uses the cache provider on the local web server to store the calculated Sha512 hash of a given file. If the file is requested multiple times, the hash isn't recalculated. The cache is invalidated by a file watcher that's attached to the file when the file's Sha512 hash is calculated. When the file changes on disk, a new hash is calculated and cached.

Additional resources