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Adjusting content alignment, margins, and sizing

From: Silverlight 5 Essential Training

Video: Adjusting content alignment, margins, and sizing

In this movie, I will look at three different ways the element can affect its ultimate location. These properties are Size, Alignment, and Margin. You can hardcode a size for an element, but this is rarely a good idea. It is better to allow an element to grow or shrink based on its content. This is done by setting the AutoSize property, also known as Size To Content. Now when you increase the Font size of the button, it should get taller, unless of course, the button has a fixed height. In Silverlight, the panel and the child element both work at determining the final size of the child.

Adjusting content alignment, margins, and sizing

In this movie, I will look at three different ways the element can affect its ultimate location. These properties are Size, Alignment, and Margin. You can hardcode a size for an element, but this is rarely a good idea. It is better to allow an element to grow or shrink based on its content. This is done by setting the AutoSize property, also known as Size To Content. Now when you increase the Font size of the button, it should get taller, unless of course, the button has a fixed height. In Silverlight, the panel and the child element both work at determining the final size of the child.

For example, a TextBlock's width is determined from its string content; a button's height is determined from its Font size; a StackPanel might stretch a Button's width to match the StackPanel's width. Now look at what happens when a child sets a fixed width. First, if the content of the child gets bigger, the control cannot go larger than the fixed width. Second, the panel will not make the element larger than the requested size. Each panel has to decide what to do if the panel is smaller than the requested width.

The StackPanel will shrink the child to always be within the boundaries of the panel. Now let's talk about AutoSize. An element determines its width based on its content, it then requests that same width from its parent panel. So if I have a long string, I will have a wider button. The panel then applies its normal panel rules. When an element is smaller than the container, then the Alignment property stipulates the placement in the extra space. The default mode for Alignment is Stretch. In the case of the StackPanel that means it will stretch the button to across the width of the StackPanel.

The three other choices are Left, Right, and Center. I am going to use Expression Blend for my demos. I am inside a project called, AdjustingContent, which contains a StackPanel, which currently has one TextBlock; and a Canvas which has one TextBlock. I am going to draw a button inside this StackPanel. I will go to my Toolbox, select the Button and draw. When I draw inside the StackPanel using Blend, it sets some margin properties.

I am going to press the V Key, which is the Selection tool and you can see the margins in these little tips. It says 93 on the side and 39 on this side, that's the margins for this button. If I remove the Margins, set those to zero, then the StackPanel is going to stretch the control to the entire width of the StackPanel. I am going to copy this button, Ctrl +C, and paste it a couple of times.

Notice that each one of these buttons is set to AutoSize. It has a fixed Height but AutoSize for the width. Because there are no margins, again, all three of these are stretched to the width. And if I take this Button and copy it over here to the Canvas, Ctrl+C, I select the Canvas and then do a Ctrl+V, it starts off at a fixed width of 300. Notice there is no margins here. I am going to change the width to 200 and then you can see I can drag this around.

No, I am no longer changing the margin, because I am inside the Canvas. The Canvas understands absolute positioning, so it doesn't need to use margins. I am going to create two buttons and put them in this Canvas. So I will copy this button. This time when I paste it in, it doesn't look like anything happened because they were positioned at exactly the same spot. I want to talk about alignment for a minute. I'm inside this button. The button contains content. I can control first of all the alignment of the button, and second of all, I can control the alignment of its child content.

I am going to go to my Panel and type in ali for Alignment, then I am going to choose this HorizontalContentAlignment and click on Left, Center, and Right. And you can see that it is doing the right thing. Go back to Center. Next, I am going to show you about Size To Content. So for this first button, I am going to leave it at a fixed width of 200 pixels, and for the second button, I'm going to change it to an Auto width.

Since it's already set to fixed, the way you set it back to Auto in Blend is you click on this icon right here, Set to Auto. I am also going to do the same thing with the Height. Click here Set to Auto. Okay, now I am going to select both of these buttons and I am going to change their Font Size to 48 points, and you can see that one of the buttons, because it has a fixed size is cutting off the bottom of the font. While this one, because it was set to AutoSize grows to show the content.

The same thing with the Width, if I change the Content property of this second button to a longer string, then the button grows. If I were to do that inside this button, because it's a fixed width, it would stay at the 200 pixel width. The best way to learn about Alignment, Content, and Margin is by trying it yourself. Have fun!

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This video is part of

Image for Silverlight 5 Essential Training
Silverlight 5 Essential Training

106 video lessons · 5706 viewers

Walt Ritscher
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 41s
    1. Welcome
      53s
    2. Using the exercise files
      48s
  2. 35m 0s
    1. Overview of Silverlight
      3m 29s
    2. Setting up a developer computer
      2m 46s
    3. Installing the Silverlight Toolkit
      2m 21s
    4. Exploring the toolkit samples
      2m 35s
    5. Using Visual Studio 2010 to create a Silverlight project
      5m 10s
    6. Using Expression Blend to create a Silverlight project
      3m 13s
    7. Getting to know the Visual Studio interface
      8m 15s
    8. Working in the Expression Blend interface
      7m 11s
  3. 29m 46s
    1. Understanding the Visual Studio project structure
      3m 38s
    2. Creating a Silverlight page
      3m 17s
    3. Compiling your first application
      5m 0s
    4. Using other assemblies in an application
      5m 45s
    5. Deploying a Silverlight application
      3m 43s
    6. Understanding the startup process for an application
      3m 13s
    7. Understanding how users get Silverlight on their computers
      5m 10s
  4. 16m 59s
    1. Exploring the relationship between XAML and .NET
      3m 57s
    2. Using C#
      7m 16s
    3. Exploring the code-behind file
      5m 46s
  5. 43m 22s
    1. Working with XAML elements and Property attributes
      4m 56s
    2. Investigating XAML namespaces
      7m 31s
    3. Converting XAML properties with TypeConverters
      5m 1s
    4. Working with Property elements
      4m 24s
    5. Assigning runtime data with XAML markup extensions
      4m 21s
    6. Digging into the dependency property system
      6m 12s
    7. Creating a custom dependency property
      4m 42s
    8. Understanding attached properties
      6m 15s
  6. 9m 35s
    1. Debugging your code
      5m 17s
    2. Special Silverlight debugging techniques
      4m 18s
  7. 36m 0s
    1. Understanding layout
      4m 55s
    2. Using DockPanel and WrapPanel
      4m 2s
    3. Exploring sophisticated layouts with the Grid
      6m 40s
    4. Absolute positioning with the Canvas panel
      5m 20s
    5. Scrolling content with the ScrollViewer
      3m 28s
    6. Adjusting content alignment, margins, and sizing
      5m 6s
    7. Using the TabControl
      2m 17s
    8. Manipulating elements with transforms
      4m 12s
  8. 20m 32s
    1. Painting the user interface (UI) with SolidColorBrush
      6m 7s
    2. Getting colorful with gradient brushes
      3m 15s
    3. Decorating elements with ImageBrush
      4m 56s
    4. Creating effects with VideoBrush
      6m 14s
  9. 25m 42s
    1. Understanding routed events
      3m 12s
    2. Wiring up event handlers in Silverlight
      6m 4s
    3. Understanding event bubbling
      4m 39s
    4. Exploring mouse events
      7m 43s
    5. Exploring keyboard events
      4m 4s
  10. 32m 31s
    1. Displaying text on the screen
      3m 24s
    2. Gathering text input from the user
      5m 30s
    3. Showing complex text with RichTextBox
      6m 7s
    4. Understanding text overflow and text linking
      3m 14s
    5. Searching content with the AutoComplete type-ahead control
      6m 45s
    6. Using and embedding Silverlight fonts
      7m 31s
  11. 26m 47s
    1. Understanding content controls
      5m 7s
    2. Understanding button controls
      6m 16s
    3. Using the BusyIndicator
      4m 40s
    4. Showing tooltips
      4m 34s
    5. Changing content size with ViewBox
      1m 39s
    6. Exploring more controls
      4m 31s
  12. 55m 36s
    1. Connecting elements with binding
      9m 54s
    2. Using business data in a binding
      9m 21s
    3. Listing data with ItemsControls
      6m 39s
    4. Digging into the DataGrid
      8m 28s
    5. Using the DataForm
      3m 49s
    6. Storing data on the client
      7m 10s
    7. Debugging XAML bindings
      5m 41s
    8. Charting data
      4m 34s
  13. 24m 36s
    1. Creating an Out-of-Browser (OOB) application
      6m 16s
    2. Controlling aspects of an OOB application
      2m 49s
    3. Alerting the user with notification windows
      7m 13s
    4. Hosting HTML content in Silverlight applications
      8m 18s
  14. 30m 2s
    1. Exploring Silverlight trust levels
      3m 51s
    2. Creating an elevated trust application
      5m 57s
    3. Reaping the benefits of XAP signing
      6m 5s
    4. Making cross-domain calls
      5m 1s
    5. Getting started with COM Interop using the Speech API
      4m 21s
    6. Using COM Interop to interact with Microsoft Office
      4m 47s
  15. 16m 33s
    1. Showing child windows
      3m 48s
    2. Using a child window as a dialog window
      5m 7s
    3. Creating native windows
      2m 53s
    4. Maximizing a window with full screen mode
      4m 45s
  16. 13m 20s
    1. Dynamically loading UI content with user controls
      4m 46s
    2. Using the Navigation Framework
      8m 34s
  17. 9m 28s
    1. Using resource files
      3m 53s
    2. Using images in an application
      5m 35s
  18. 16m 32s
    1. Playing audio
      4m 27s
    2. Playing sound effects
      5m 4s
    3. Viewing video content with MediaElement
      4m 58s
    4. Changing video playback speed with TrickPlay
      2m 3s
  19. 14m 40s
    1. Capturing video with a web camera
      4m 16s
    2. Working with a microphone
      3m 47s
    3. Creating print output
      6m 37s
  20. 22m 35s
    1. Understanding Silverlight animations
      4m 35s
    2. Creating animations
      7m 52s
    3. Controlling animations
      4m 18s
    4. Simulating physics with animation easings
      5m 50s
  21. 27m 47s
    1. Placing XAML resources within a FrameworkElement
      6m 47s
    2. Centralizing settings in styles
      4m 8s
    3. Creating an alternate control UI with ControlTemplates
      6m 29s
    4. Dressing up your data with DataTemplates
      4m 33s
    5. Explaining the VisualStateManager: a simple way to manage control states
      5m 50s
  22. 10m 55s
    1. Handling global errors in a Silverlight application
      5m 46s
    2. Showing an application loading screen
      5m 9s
  23. 10m 48s
    1. Integrating with XNA
      7m 40s
    2. Exploring data analysis with PivotViewer
      3m 8s
  24. 1m 6s
    1. Goodbye
      1m 6s

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