Archive for January, 2008

Multithreaded WPF Progress Dialog

January 17th, 2008

With this WPF progress dialog, you can display a progress window and invoke a method on a background thread with just a few lines of code. Let’s say, you have a worker method called CountTo100, then all you need to get things running is this:

//create a dialog instance
ProgressDialog dlg = new ProgressDialog();
dlg.Owner = this;
dlg.DialogText = "hello world";

//we cannot access the user interface on the worker thread, but we
//can submit an arbitrary object to the RunWorkerThread method
int startValue = int.Parse(txtStartValue.Text);

//start processing and submit the start value
dlg.RunWorkerThread(startValue, CountTo100);

RunWorkerThread displays the dialog as a modal window, and invokes CountTo100 on a background thread. Styling of the dialog is completely up to you, but here’s a screenshot of the dialog running in the sample application:


The dialog uses a BackgroundWorker component and supports updating both progress bar and displayed text directly from the worker thread. Cancelling support, returning results from the worker thread and simplified exception handling are available as well. In order to get you started in no time, I’ve created a little sample application that shows a few scenarios, including parameter submission and the handling of exceptions on the worker thread. Enjoy! 🙂

Download Sample (VS2008 / VS2005 projects included):

Author: Categories: Open Source, WPF Tags: , ,

ReSharper Code Snippet for Dependency Properties

January 17th, 2008

This is a ReSharper code snippet I’ve been using quite a lot lately – it allows you to easily create a WPF dependency property along with event handlers, documentation, and initialization code. Here’s a sample:

#region MyStringProperty dependency property

/// <summary>
/// This is a sample string property.
/// </summary>
public static readonly DependencyProperty MyStringPropertyProperty;

//TODO: copy to static constructor
//register dependency property
//FrameworkPropertyMetadata md = new FrameworkPropertyMetadata("hello world", MyStringPropertyPropertyChanged);
//MyStringPropertyProperty = DependencyProperty.Register("MyStringProperty", typeof (string), typeof (MyControl), md);                                                      

/// <summary>
/// A property wrapper for the <see cref="MyStringPropertyProperty"/>
/// dependency property:<br/>
/// This is a sample string property.
/// </summary>
public string MyStringProperty
  get { return (string) GetValue(MyStringPropertyProperty); }
  set { SetValue(MyStringPropertyProperty, value); }

/// <summary>
/// Handles changes on the <see cref="MyStringPropertyProperty"/> dependency property. As
/// WPF internally uses the dependency property system and bypasses the
/// <see cref="MyStringProperty"/> property wrapper, updates should be handled here.
/// </summary>
/// <param name="d">The currently processed owner of the property.</param>
/// <param name="e">Provides information about the updated property.</param>
private static void MyStringPropertyPropertyChanged(DependencyObject d, DependencyPropertyChangedEventArgs e)
  MyControl owner = (MyControl) d;
  string newValue = (string) e.NewValue;

  //TODO provide implementation
  throw new NotImplementedException("Change event handler for dependency property MyStringProperty not implemented.");


Just import the attached snippet into ReSharper, then type dpp in Visual Studio to trigger the template.

BTW: If you’re using VS without ReSharper but need snippets for dependency properties, routed events or routed commands, Dr. WPF has the cure.

Download File: dpp-snippet.xml

Explicitly update binding sources

January 16th, 2008

In WPF data binding scenarios, the binding source is usually updated implicitly – if you, for example, edit the text of a bound TextBox control, the underlying binding source is updated a soon as the control loses focus.

This is something you might want to prevent sometimes – a common scenario is a model dialog that provides a Cancel button to abort changes. The basic idea is that the underlying data remains unchanged until you commit all your changes at once if the dialog’s OK button is clicked.

The solution to prevent automatic updates of the binding source is to set the UpdateSourceTrigger property to Explicit, which prevents automatic updates of the underlying data item:

<TextBox Text="{Binding Path=Name, UpdateSourceTrigger=Explicit}" />

However, this feature comes with a catch: You’ll have to trigger updates on all your controls manually. Beatriz Costa posted a generic solution, but I found it a bit tedious to explicitly update every single control on my dialog. As a result, I came up with a solution that recursively processes a visual tree from a given starting point and updates all controls that provide one or several bindings of your choice:

/// <summary>
/// Recursively processes a given dependency object and all its
/// children, and updates sources of all objects that use a
/// binding expression on a given property.
/// </summary>
/// <param name="obj">The dependency object that marks a starting
/// point. This could be a dialog window or a panel control that
/// hosts bound controls.</param>
/// <param name="properties">The properties to be updated if
/// <paramref name="obj"/> or one of its childs provide it along
/// with a binding expression.</param>
public static void UpdateBindingSources(DependencyObject obj,
                          params DependencyProperty[] properties)
  foreach (DependencyProperty depProperty in properties)
    //check whether the submitted object provides a bound property
    //that matches the property parameters
    BindingExpression be =
      BindingOperations.GetBindingExpression(obj, depProperty);
    if (be != null) be.UpdateSource();

  int count = VisualTreeHelper.GetChildrenCount(obj);
  for(int i=0; i<count; i++)
    //process child items recursively
    DependencyObject childObject = VisualTreeHelper.GetChild(obj, i);
    UpdateBindingSources(childObject, properties);

Using the above method is quite simple: Just set a starting point (window, grid, whatever) along with an arbitrary number of dependency properties you’d like to have processed. As an example: The snipped below commits all bound Text properties of a dialog’s TextBox controls as well bound items of XamComboEditor dropdown controls:

//update TextBox and ComboBox controls of the dialog
DependencyProperty dpText = TextBox.TextProperty;
DependencyProperty dpSelectedItem = XamComboEditor.SelectedItemProperty;
UpdateBindingSources(this, dpText, dpSelectedItem);
Author: Categories: WPF Tags: , ,

hello world!

January 16th, 2008

avatar-bigI always had the feeling that the world was waiting for something really big ever since the Internet was invented by the USA in the early 30’s. I have no clue what that might be, however – if you’re looking for the really big answers, then you should probably go here.

But: If you are looking for all that geeky .NET stuff, you’re hopefully at the right place, because that’s what it’s all about. I plan to contribute here on a regular basis about interesting findings and various stuff I’m currently working on. And I hope that over time, this blog will become a place for fellow developers that provides some cool resources and (hopefully smart) solutions to problems that already bothered me a while ago. The blog’s content will probably reflect my current technological focus (expect a lot of WPF content coming in the near future), but there should be time to share some other things with you, too. So have a look, grab whatever content you can, and don’t forget to tell your friends!

If you made it this far, you’re obviously related to me or you have much too much time on your hands. So, if you really want to know more about me, have a look at the About page.

And now I have to configure that blogging software. Cheers!

Author: Categories: Personal Tags: