WPF course with IdentityMine: first day

.NET, Technical stuff, WPF
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We had a great time yesterday! First of all, the weather was wonderful. Way to deny Seattle’s reputation (well, today is quite cloudy, though). We had a wonderful view on the sunshine on Mount Rainier, quite a sight! The hotel is great too.
We started pretty much from scratch, which was good for those of my colleagues who have no prior experience with WPF. Actually, it was very good for me too, a good way to consolidate the knowledge I acquired on my own last year.
We then had lunch at IdentityMine’s office, together with our designer colleagues, who are having a separate session. We had a nice, relaxed lunch, and saw a few impressive demos. Impressive especially because of the short development times! (I hope that noone from our marketing department reads that…)
In the afternoon, we did quite a few labs, and some of them were a bit tough to understand. Especially a lot of work with Templates (quote from the course: “Wow, making a ControlTemplate is quite a lot of work” “Yes, but don’t worry, usually it’s the designers who do that” :)
On my part, and additionally to the whole recap part, I learned two new things which I hadn’t got before:
  • When you want to set the DataContext for a UI element (for example a Window), the easiest way is to just give a name (well, x:Name) to that Window. Then you can use the following syntax for the two ways binding:
<Window x:Class="WindowsApplication3.Window1"
  Title="WindowsApplication3" Height="300" Width="300"
    <TextBox Name="tf"
             Text="{Binding ElementName=myWindow, Path=MyProperty}" />
    <Label Name="lbl"
           Content="{Binding ElementName=myWindow, Path=MyProperty}" />
    <Button Content="Hello world" />    
public static readonly DependencyProperty MyPropertyProperty =
  DependencyProperty.Register( "MyProperty",
    typeof( string ),
    typeof( Window1 ),
    new UIPropertyMetadata( "" ) );
That makes things quite a lot easier than using an ObjectDataProvider like I had done before.
  • A great discovery: For some reason, I was sure that ItemControls (the basis class for ListBox, Treeview…) was abstract and I couldn’t instantiate it. Well, I was totally wrong! Not only you can use it, but using the ItemsPanelTemplate property, you can even use a Canvas (or any other Panel) to render the databound elements. Here’s an example:
<Page x:Class="GalaSoftLb.Wpf.ScrumPanels.Page1"
    <XmlDataProvider x:Key="MyData" XPath="/Entries">
        <Entries xmlns="">
          <Entry Name="Entry1"
                 Text="Hello world"
                 Left="20" />
          <Entry Name="Entry2"
                 Text="Hello again"
                 Left="100" />
          <Entry Name="Entry3"
                 Text="I am in Tacoma!"
                 Left="200" />
    <DataTemplate x:Key="MyTemplate">
      <Label Content="{Binding XPath=@Text}"
             FontWeight="Bold" />
  <ItemsControl Background="Yellow"
                ItemsSource="{Binding Source={StaticResource MyData}, XPath=Entry}"
                ItemTemplate="{StaticResource MyTemplate}">
        <Canvas />
        <Setter Property="Canvas.Top" Value="{Binding XPath=@Top}" />
        <Setter Property="Canvas.Left" Value="{Binding XPath=@Left}" />
Using an ItemsControl to render databound elements on a Canvas
So now I’ll have to rework a few of my projects to integrate that new knowledge ;)
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