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Silverlight 5 Essential Training

Dynamically loading UI content with user controls


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Silverlight 5 Essential Training

with Walt Ritscher

Video: Dynamically loading UI content with user controls

I've created many user interfaces over the years. Configuring your screens to dynamically load content goes a long ways toward making a flexible long-living application. For this demonstration I'm using Visual Studio and a solution called dynamically loading UI content. This solution has two projects: ChartingYourData and DynamicallyLoadingUIContent. ChartingYourData is an application from another movie in this title. I'd like to show how you use user controls in this example. Let me run the application. You can see here in the application I have these tabs across the top of the screen, and when I click on each tab I'm loading some content into each of these tabs.
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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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Silverlight 5 Essential Training
8h 51m Beginner Mar 27, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Microsoft Silverlight 5 is a rich application framework for creating high-performance, cross-platform desktop and mobile applications. In this course, author Walt Ritscher demonstrates how to build a variety of applications in Silverlight, with particular focus on building compelling business applications and delivering premium video and audio content. Developers will work with the C# programming language and Visual Studio Professional, as well as Expression Blend, a tool that simplifies creation of the interactive user interfaces expected in modern-day applications.

Topics include:
  • Installing the toolkit and setting up the development environment
  • Using Expression Blend vs. Visual Studio 2010
  • Creating a Silverlight page
  • Compiling an application
  • Exploring the relationship between XAML and .NET
  • Using C#
  • Working with XAML
  • Digging into the Dependency Property System
  • Deploying and debugging code
  • Creating sophisticated layouts with panel elements
  • Managing Visual State with Visual State Manager
  • Transforming the user interface (UI) with templates
  • Understanding the event model
  • Working with text
  • Using business data in a binding
  • Creating an out-of-browser (OOB) application
  • Exploring trust levels
  • Playing audio and video
  • Handling errors
  • Exploring animations
  • Working with application windows
  • Integration with XNA
Subject:
Developer
Software:
Silverlight Visual Studio
Author:
Walt Ritscher

Dynamically loading UI content with user controls

I've created many user interfaces over the years. Configuring your screens to dynamically load content goes a long ways toward making a flexible long-living application. For this demonstration I'm using Visual Studio and a solution called dynamically loading UI content. This solution has two projects: ChartingYourData and DynamicallyLoadingUIContent. ChartingYourData is an application from another movie in this title. I'd like to show how you use user controls in this example. Let me run the application. You can see here in the application I have these tabs across the top of the screen, and when I click on each tab I'm loading some content into each of these tabs.

As I click on each of these tabs, I'm loading content into the tab itself. I'm doing that via a user control. Let me show you what I mean. On my MainPage I have a TabControl--here it is--and then I have individual TabItems. Inside the individual TabItem, all I'm doing is loading one of my user controls. I have a number of user controls, like using a line chart here. These are normal Silverlight user controls. There are a few benefits from using user controls in this fashion. You encapsulate the UI logic into a subcontrol.

It also cleans up the XAML and code in the hosting page. What I mean by that is rather than having 300 lines of XAML that describes the bar chart, I have a single line here that says load that user control. I'm not dynamically loading this content though; this is statically loaded in here at compile time. I'd like to show you an example of dynamic loading. There is a good implementation of this in Visual Studio. We go to Tools > Options. This is an example of dynamically loading a tree view on the left side, and then as you click through the nodes, dynamically loading a user control on the right side.

So these different nodes are discovered at runtime through registry settings or other options. Then when I want to click on the node, it determines what user control will load on this side. I'll show you how to do that in Visual Studio. To do that I'm going to use this DynamicallyLoadingUIContent project. Let me right-click on this and choose Set as StartUp, and then we'll go and look at our main UI, MainPage.xaml. And this UI have a list box in the left-hand side and I have a grid called ContentGrid on the right-hand side. In the real world, I'd probably use a tree view here, but for simplicity's sake, in this demo I'm using a list box.

Then I have a number of controls over here. These are Silverlight user controls. Here's the FontOptions and here is the ProjectOptions and here's the SaveOptions. I created a wrapper class to help me called OptionWrapper. It just has two properties. It has a string title called OptionTitle, and it has a placeholder for user control called UserControl. So I want to instantiate my user control and store it in option wrapper, and I'll also give it a title. I'll then show the title in the list box and when you click on the list box, I'll load the control out of this property.

Let's look at the code behind from MainPage.xaml. Here I'm creating an instance of an observable collection of option wrappers and then loading an option wrapper in this first slot. Here is my title. You see what I mean? It's a string that's going to show up in the user interface, and then I'm going to instantiating the FontOptions control and storing it in this reference. Then I fix up my data context for the entire page, using this observable collection. I tell the menu list box what to display in the list, and then let's see how this works. Press F5 to run the application. Here's the strings from my option wrapper and when I click on one of those, it loads the correct your subuser control. It's nice! Now how am I loading this user control? I'm doing that in the SelectionChanged.

When the user selects an item in the list box, this code runs. I clear up that content grid I showed you, and then I grab this selected item out of the list box, cast it to an option wrapper, and then that allows me to go get the user control list stored in it and add it to the children collection of the grid. In the real world you can find robust implementations of this pattern. Microsoft has one such framework called Managed Extensibility Framework or M-E-F or MEF for short. Let me show you an implementation of that inside Visual Studio. If I go to Tools > Extension Manager, this is using MEF to load the information.

I click on Online Gallery, going out to the Internet and loading a list of available installable packages. So this UI is coming from extensible locations. I'm going to search for a tool called devColor. Here it is. This is also an extensible plug-in. I can click on Download and then Install. It says I must restart Visual Studio. When I restart Visual Studio, it's going to modify the code editor so that whenever I type a color inside my XML or my C# code, it will put a little bar of color underneath it.

In the next movie, I'll show a dynamic loader that also supports a navigation history and provides forward and back buttons.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Silverlight 5 Essential Training.


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Q: I'm trying to access a Silverlight 3D application template, [cid:image001.png@01CD0E7D.3E07ECA0]. I have already installed the Silverlight 5 SDK and my Visual Studio 2010 is professional. Could you please help me?
A: You must install XNA Studio in order to use the new Silverlight 3D templates. Otherwise the new templates will not show up. Download it at http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?id=23714.

For other Silverlight downloads (the toolkit, developer runtime, etc.), see http://www.silverlight.net/downloads.
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