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Dressing up your data with DataTemplates

From: Silverlight 5 Essential Training

Video: Dressing up your data with DataTemplates

It is common in Silverlight to have controls bound to underlying data. That data doesn't have to look boring though. Silverlight data templates can be applied to any data type. This means that if you have an item's control bound to a list of invoice items, you can create a UI to wrap each instance of the invoice class as it is added to the control. For this demonstration, I will start in Visual Studio. I'd like to take a brief look at the Rental Manager class. I'm going to be using this for my data for the binding. Here I have a class called RentalManager that derives from ObservableCollection of RentalHouse, and in the constructor of this class I'm instantiating a house in settings and properties, including a property that's important for this demo, ImageLocation. And then I add that to this collection, and then I add a few more houses.

Dressing up your data with DataTemplates

It is common in Silverlight to have controls bound to underlying data. That data doesn't have to look boring though. Silverlight data templates can be applied to any data type. This means that if you have an item's control bound to a list of invoice items, you can create a UI to wrap each instance of the invoice class as it is added to the control. For this demonstration, I will start in Visual Studio. I'd like to take a brief look at the Rental Manager class. I'm going to be using this for my data for the binding. Here I have a class called RentalManager that derives from ObservableCollection of RentalHouse, and in the constructor of this class I'm instantiating a house in settings and properties, including a property that's important for this demo, ImageLocation. And then I add that to this collection, and then I add a few more houses.

I'll switch to Expression Blend to make my data template. I've opened MainPage.xaml and I want to add a list box control to this UI. To do that, I'm going to my Assets pane, type in List, and then select my ListBox. List Box is now added to my toolbox. Now I can just double-click to add it to my artwork. There it is. Press V to get the selector and then move it into the center of the screen, make it a little bit wider. Now I'm ready to do a data binding and a data template.

Expression Blend has a Data tab. Let's see what's inside the Data tab. Not much yet. But if I click on this button here, Create data source, I can create an object-based data source. When I click on that button, it lists all of the potential types that I can use as a data source. The one I'm interested in is the Rental Manager. So I'll select Rental Manager and then click OK. This looks promising. Over here in the Data window I now can see the something called a RentalManager and I can see the properties of my type.

This means that if I have a list box like this, I can drag RentalManager, which you remember as an observable book collection of rental houses, and drag it over here. And look at the blue tooltip I'm getting as I moving this around. If I drop here it says Create a List box and bind its Item Source Property to the RentalManager. This implies that you didn't have to create the list box first. If I hover over an existing list box, it says Data bind the List box Item Source to the RentalManager Data Source. That looks like one I'm looking for.

So I'll drop the data source here. Now you can see that in my list box is one row for each of the items in my underlying data source. Next, I'm going to edit my data template. I do that by going to this dropdown, choosing Edit Additional Templates, and then choosing this one here, Edit Generated Items Items Templates. Let's choose to Edit Current, and now let's look at what I'm working with. Over here it shows I'm working with the ItemTemplate as part of the list box, and the Objects and Timeline specifies I'm working with the template.

You see that right here ItemTemplate, and that shows I have a Stackpanel with five or six TextBlocks in it. That's not what I want. I just want to have a property name, which is this TextBlock here, and I want to have an image control. So I will delete these other TextBlocks from the Template. I'll take the Stackpanel and change its orientation by going to Properties and then changing this value here from Vertical to Horizontal. And then I'll go and I'll add an image control to my Stackpanel, like that.

Let's review what I've done. I took the default Data Template that was generated by Expression Blend, I modified it by changing the Stack panel, deleting some TextBlocks, and adding my own image. Now this TextBlock has a bound property. I can see it because it has a yellow border around it. My image is not currently data bound. Let's fix that. I'll click on Image and I'll go to Source, click on the property peg, and then choose Data Binding. And I choose the correct property.

In this case I'm choosing ImageLocation, and then click OK. I'm close to being done. I need to make sure these pictures align. I'm going to do that by choosing my TextBlock and then changing its Width property to 140 pixels. Let's run the application and see what it looks like. As you can see, it is easy to make your data look beautiful by using data templates.

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This video is part of

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Silverlight 5 Essential Training

106 video lessons · 5479 viewers

Walt Ritscher
Author

 
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  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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