Thursday, November 30, 2017

WPF Tip #20 - Extended WPF Toolkit - IconButton Control

It's time to explore a new control in the Extended WPF Toolkit, maintained on GitHub by Xceed and the WPF community. Today, we will take a quick look at the IconButton control, which is new to v3.2.0 of the toolkit (released on Sept. 25th).

IconButton derives from a WPF Button and adds the ability to optionally place an Image to the left or right of your button's Content. There are a handful of properties available on top of the existing Button properties - Icon and IconBackground plus properties to change the button's appearance when users mouse over or press the button:
  • MouseOverBackground
  • MouseOverForeground
  • MouseOverBorderBrush
  • MousePressedBackground
  • MousePressedForeground
  • MousePressedBorderBrush
These state-based properties are self-explanatory, so I created a brief example which uses only the Icon and IconLocation properties.

<xctk:IconButton Content="Launch Me" Padding="4" 
                  HorizontalAlignment="Center" VerticalAlignment="Center" 
         <Image Source="/WpfApp1;component/Images/Launchpad_Icon.png" 
                Width="16" Margin="4,0,0,0"/>


The result is a window with a single "Launch Me" IconButton. There's an Apple-style launch icon to the right of the text set in the Content property. The image I used is a .png file in my project's Images folder set as a Resource. If you wanted to deploy the actual .png file, you would update the file to be "Content" and set the Image's Source property to "Images/Launchpad_Icon.png". This is the same practice you would use for any WPF image source.

All of these properties can be set up via MVVM, data binding and code in your ViewModels to load the image and set its location at runtime based on other application configuration or user preferences.

Here's is a look at the window at runtime:


It's a simple control that can save you a little bit of control templating. If this is something you could use in your project, the toolkit is free and available on NuGet.

Happy coding! Tags: ,

Thursday, September 7, 2017

WPF Tip #19 - Extended WPF Toolkit - Zoom in with the Magnifier Control

It's time to examine another control from the Extended WPF Toolkit, maintained on GitHub by Xceed and the WPF community. Today, we will look at an example of how easy it is to add a zoom feature to your WPF application with the Magnifier control.


In the Xaml below, I have added a Magnifier to the top-level grid in my Window.


         <tk:Magnifier BorderBrush="MediumPurple"
                               ZoomFactor=".4" />

    <tk:CheckListBox ItemsSource="{Binding Sentences, IsAsync=True}"
                      SelectedItem="{Binding SelectedSentence}"
                      Command="{Binding ItemSelectedCommand}"/>

The CheckedListBox from Tip #18 is still in place, displaying results from my Bacon Ipsum generator from Tip #17. Running the application, we see my random list items with a zoom region that follows my mouse as I move it around the Window.


Pretty simple! Go check it out for yourself. You can easily add a bound visibility property to hide/show the control from a toolbar or other button in your app.

Happy coding! Tags: ,,

Monday, August 14, 2017

WPF Tip #18 - Extended WPF Toolkit - Using the CheckedListBox Control

In today's tip, we're going to take a quick look at another control in the Extended WPF Toolkit, the CheckedListBox control.
This control provides all of the functionality expected from a ListBox with the addition of checkboxes as a visual cue to indicate the selection state of each item.

Using the control is quite simple. Here's an example of the XAML required to display a CheckedListBox on a WPF window. It is binding to the same collection of Sentence objects used in Tip #17.

<tk:CheckListBox ItemsSource="{Binding Sentences, IsAsync=True}"
                  SelectedItem="{Binding SelectedSentence}"
                  Command="{Binding ItemSelectedCommand}"/>

ItemsSource binding to a collection to populate the list items. SelectedItem provides a way to find out the currently 'selected' item, the last item checked/unchecked. The Command will fire each time an item in the list is checked or unchecked, allowing ViewModel logic to act on this change.

Go give it a try in your WPF project. Happy coding! Tags: ,

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

WPF Tip #17 - Extended WPF Toolkit - BusyIndicator Control

Welcome back to another Extended WPF Toolkit sample. In this sample, we'll take a look at the BusyIndicator control. This easy to use control provides a quick way to inform your users that a control or Window is currently being refreshed by a long-running process. This is a great way to both update your users of progress and keep them from interacting with the controls that are updating.
Here is a fun little example that wraps a WPF DataGrid in a BusyIndicator. This is the entirety of the XAML inside the root Grid on the application's main window.

<tk:BusyIndicator IsBusy="{Binding IsGridLoading}" BusyContent="Loading, please wait..." DisplayAfter="0">
     <DataGrid local:Commands.DataGridDoubleClickCommand="{Binding GridDoubleClickCommand}" ItemsSource="{Binding Sentences, IsAsync=True}"/>

The DataGridDoubleClickCommand is a work-around to make the DataGrid's MouseDoubleClick event work with ICommand in when data binding in MVVM. More info here.

In the MainViewModel, there is an IsGridLoading boolean property that will be used to toggle the BusyIndicator on/off. The GridDoubleClickCommand invokes OnGridDoubleClicked() when the user double-clicks somewhere on the DataGrid at runtime. In this method, we're clearing and repopulating the Sentences ObservableCollection to which our DataGrid is bound. Notice the use of async/await. This is necessary to make the BusyIndicator appear. Without this, the UI will freeze during the update and never show the BusyIndicator control.

private async void OnGridDoubleClicked()
     //set the IsBusy before you start the thread
     IsGridLoading = true;

     //no direct interaction with the UI is allowed from this method
     lock (_sentenceLock)

     await BuildSentenceList(5, 15, 25, 50);

     //work has completed. you can now interact with the UI
     IsGridLoading = false;

The _sentenceLock allows us to update our ObservableCollection on a background thread. You must also initialize the collection with this code in your constructor. This tells WPF to update the collection on the UI thread and which lock object to use. More info here.

BindingOperations.EnableCollectionSynchronization(Sentences, _sentenceLock);

Each row in the DataGrid will be populated with some random Bacon Ipsum data in the BuildSentenceList method. There is an API if you would like to remove the hard-coded array of words.

private async Task BuildSentenceList(int minWords, int maxWords,
     int minSentences, int maxSentences)

     var words = new[]{"bacon", "ipsum", "dolor", "tail", "amet", "swine",
         "chicken", "short", "loin", "jowl", "turkey", "ball", "tip",
         "beef", "shank", "rump", "t-bone", "ham", "porchetta", "filet",
         "pork", "jerky", "hock", "meatball", "biltong", "steak", "brisket"};

     var rand = new Random();
     int numSentences = rand.Next(maxSentences - minSentences)
                        + minSentences + 1;
     int numWords = rand.Next(maxWords - minWords) + minWords + 1;

     var result = new StringBuilder();

    Task t = Task.Run(() =>
         for (int s = 0; s < numSentences; s++)
             for (int w = 0; w < numWords; w++)
                 if (w > 0)
                     result.Append(" ");
             result.Append(". ");

            lock (_sentenceLock)
                 Sentences.Add(new Sentence() {SentenceContent = result.ToString()});



    await t;


When the code to populate the grid fires, thanks to the 100ms Thread.Sleep between each row generated, you can see the grid slowly populating with data behind the busy indicator.


It's a great control. Just remember to update your data on a background thread!

Happy coding! Tags: ,,,

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

WPF Tip #16 - Extended WPF Toolkit - ChildWindow & MessageBox Controls

Welcome to another Extended WPF Toolkit tip. In this tip, we will look at a couple of simple uses of the ChildWindow and MessageBox controls.

The ChildWindow control is a handy alternative to opening a separate dialog from the current application window, collecting a few pieces of data. The MessageBox operates similarly, but only presents some information and allows the user to respond, like any typical WinForm or WPF MessageBox.

In an MVVM world, opening another dialog typically either involves another View/ViewModel combination or a service to open a simple message/input dialog and return the result to the current View/ViewModel. This control is best used to replace a simple MessageBox service or when another View/ViewModel are being considered, but logically the data collected is limited and still belongs in the current ViewModel.

The use of the controls consists of a WindowContainer element containing one or more ChildWIndow and MessageBox elements. In this sample, the Window's main grid contains a WindowContainer with two ChildWindow elements and one MessageBox. They all begin with a Closed WindowState, and are opened with a button click. Here is a snippet of the view's XAML:

<StackPanel Grid.Row="2" Orientation="Horizontal" VerticalAlignment="Top">
     <Button Content="Toggle Window 1" Height="40" Width="120" Margin="2" Command="{Binding ButtonOneCommand}"/>
     <Button Content="Toggle Window 2" Height="40" Width="120" Margin="2" Command="{Binding ButtonTwoCommand}"/>
     <Button Content="Toggle Window 3" Height="40" Width="120" Margin="2" Click="ButtonBase_OnClick"/>

<tk:WindowContainer Grid.Row="2">
     <tk:ChildWindow WindowBackground="Blue"
                       Height="125" WindowState="{Binding WindowOneState}">
         <TextBlock Text="This is a child window" Padding="10"/>

    <tk:ChildWindow WindowBackground="Green"
                       Height="125" WindowState="{Binding WindowTwoState}">
             <TextBlock Text="This is a child window with a checkbox." Padding="10"/>
             <CheckBox Content="Check me!" Margin="8"/>

    <tk:MessageBox Caption="Toolkit Message" x:Name="SampleMsgBox"
                      Text="You have an alert!"/>


The MessageBox's button has a Click event handler to display the control:

private void ButtonBase_OnClick(object sender, RoutedEventArgs e)

The two ChildWindows are opened with Commands attached to the first two buttons in our Window's ViewModel:

private void OnButtonOneClicked()
     if (WindowOneState == WindowState.Open)
         WindowOneState = WindowState.Closed;
         WindowOneState = WindowState.Open;

public RelayCommand ButtonOneCommand { get; private set; }

private void OnButtonTwoClicked()
     if (WindowTwoState == WindowState.Open)
         WindowTwoState = WindowState.Closed;
         WindowTwoState = WindowState.Open;

public RelayCommand ButtonTwoCommand { get; private set; }

The ChildWindows can be closed again by using the close button on the element or by clicking it's Open button again. This second option is not available when the ChildWindow has IsModal set to true. You'll notice the WindowState property of the two ChildWindows is bound to the ViewModel. This two-way binding ensures the IF statements in the command methods will work properly regardless of how each window is closed.

Here is a look at the Window with the second ChildWindow open. This control contains a TextBlock and a CheckBox inside a StackPanel. The ChildWindow can contain only one direct child, like a Window or UserControl.


There are tons or other uses for these controls and many properties I haven't touched on at all. Go explore them for yourself and download the toolkit today.

Happy coding! Tags: ,,

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

WPF Tips Update - The Extended WPF Toolkit Has a New Home

Hello WPF fans! You may have noticed that I am a fan of Xceed's free Extended WPF Toolkit. I am actually a huge fan of free tools and productivity gains in general.

This week when I started working on WPF Tip #16, I was pleased to notice that Xceed has released v3.1 of the Extended WPF Toolkit and moved the source code from CodePlex to GitHub! The move to GitHub was, of course, motivated by Microsoft announcement that CodePlex is shutting down in the coming months.

Download, Star and Watch the Extended WPF Toolkit on GitHub

The changelog for v3.1.0 includes 37 fixes and enhancements. The Plus Edition snagged an additional 19 fixes and improvements including a Windows 10 theme, but Plus received v3.1.0 last year. It pays to pay, it seems.


Learn all about the toolkit on GitHub or check out WPF Tip #11. This tip was my introductory post about the controls. And be sure to stay tuned for more WPF Tips about these controls and lots more!

Happy coding!

Saturday, July 8, 2017

WPF Tip #15 - Extended WPF Toolkit - The DataGrid Control

Tip #15 is a quick detour. We'll get back to using the CalculatorUpDown control in Tip #16.

If you are looking for a quick, free way to upgrade your application's DataGrid look and behavior, the Extended WPF Toolkit includes a DataGrid which provides a significant upgrade over the WPF DataGrid in the .NET Framework.

Here is a simple Grid with a standard DataGrid in the first row and the Toolkit's DataGridControl in the second row. Both are bound to the same ItemsSource, an ObservableCollection of three fictional videos.
        <RowDefinition Height="*"/>
        <RowDefinition Height="*"/>
    <DataGrid ItemsSource="{Binding Path=MediaCatalog, IsAsync=True}"/>

    <xcdg:DataGridControl Grid.Row="1" ItemsSource="{Binding Path=MediaCatalog, IsAsync=True}"/>
This is what we get when running the application.

With no customization, there's a much cleaner look. You also get an improved editing experience. When clicking into the PurchaseDate column, the grid detects that the underlying data type is DateTime, and provides a Date Picker to update the value.

For more information about features available in the control, go check out the CodePlex site (migrating soon).

Happy Coding!