Tip: Avoid repetitive code

I’m still slogging through the aforementioned legacy code, and I keep stumbling upon places where the original coder just worked waaaayyy too hard. Case in point: I step into a page load subroutine in this ASP.Net code, and there’s a page and a half worth of this:

strVar1 = Request("Var1")
If IsDBNull(strVar1) Then strVar1 = vbNullString
strVar2 = Request("Var2")
If IsDBNull(strVar2) Then strVar2 = vbNullString

There’s an easier way.I’d already written some functions to handle DBNull values when pulling records out of the database:

Public Function intFromDB(ByVal dbField As Object) As Integer
    Try
        If Not (dbField Is System.DBNull.Value) Then
            Return Convert.ToInt32(dbField)
        End If
    Catch ex As Exception
    End Try
        Return 0   'DBNull or exception
End Function
Public Function strFromDB(ByVal dbField As Object) As String
    Try
        If Not (dbField Is System.DBNull.Value) Then
            Return Convert.ToString(dbField)
        End If
    Catch ex As Exception
    End Try
    Return ""   'DBNull or exception
End Function

(There are also functions for Dates and Doubles, but you get the idea). When I use this on the lines above, I get something a little more compact:

strVar1 = strFromDB(Request("Var1"))
strVar2 = strFromDB(Request("Var2"))

Update: as I work through this conversion, I’ve found a couple places where I could stand to have an optional param for default value.