Silverlight 5 Essential Training
Illustration by Richard Downs

Placing XAML resources within a FrameworkElement


Silverlight 5 Essential Training

with Walt Ritscher

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Video: Placing XAML resources within a FrameworkElement

If you are a programmer, you know how to reuse items. You create variables, reusable functions, code modules, or even place code in external DLLs. It's a core ideal of programming: reuse and refactor. Silverlight XAML has an option for defining reusable resources too. It's known as a XAML resource. What this means is that you can instantiate .NET types or other items within your XAML and refer to them elsewhere in your XAML or application code. Resources are stored in a special key value dictionary known as the ResourceDictionary.
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  1. 1m 41s
    1. Welcome
    2. Using the exercise files
  2. 35m 1s
    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 16s
    8. Working in the Expression Blend interface
      7m 11s
  3. 29m 47s
    1. Understanding the Visual Studio project structure
      3m 38s
    2. Creating a Silverlight page
      3m 17s
    3. Compiling your first application
      5m 1s
    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 23s
    1. Working with XAML elements and Property attributes
      4m 56s
    2. Investigating XAML namespaces
      7m 32s
    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 1s
    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 13s
  8. 20m 33s
    1. Painting the user interface (UI) with SolidColorBrush
      6m 7s
    2. Getting colorful with gradient brushes
      3m 15s
    3. Decorating elements with ImageBrush
      4m 57s
    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 48s
    1. Understanding content controls
      5m 7s
    2. Understanding button controls
      6m 17s
    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 34s
    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 46s
  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 41s
    1. Capturing video with a web camera
      4m 16s
    2. Working with a microphone
      3m 47s
    3. Creating print output
      6m 38s
  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 56s
    1. Handling global errors in a Silverlight application
      5m 46s
    2. Showing an application loading screen
      5m 10s
  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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Watch the Online Video Course 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
Silverlight Visual Studio
Walt Ritscher

Placing XAML resources within a FrameworkElement

If you are a programmer, you know how to reuse items. You create variables, reusable functions, code modules, or even place code in external DLLs. It's a core ideal of programming: reuse and refactor. Silverlight XAML has an option for defining reusable resources too. It's known as a XAML resource. What this means is that you can instantiate .NET types or other items within your XAML and refer to them elsewhere in your XAML or application code. Resources are stored in a special key value dictionary known as the ResourceDictionary.

Any .NET type with a parameter list constructor can be added to a ResourceDictionary. Since the ResourceDictionary is a key value dictionary, every item added to the dictionary must have a unique key value. Here are a list of some of the common items I've seen in resource dictionaries: custom brushes, styles and templates, a list of color attributes, even custom value converters. Nearly all Silverlight elements derive from the FrameworkElement class. For convenience sake, Microsoft added a Resources property to the FrameworkElement class.

Do you want to guess what the type of the resources property is? Yes, it's a ResourceDictionary. This provides a convenient way of adding items to the ResourceDictionary within your XAML. I'm inside Visual Studio, in a project called UsingXamlResources. I'm going to start by looking at some XAML in this AddResource.xaml file. I have two elements that can have resources in this file: UserControl and Grid. Let me show you how to add a resource section to the user control.

That's all it takes. Now, within these two tags, I can declare any reusable resource. For instance, I want to have SolidColorBrush. Then I give it a Key because it's inside of ResourceDictionary. Now, I have one resource available. The Grid also has a Resources section, because it's a framework element. Now, I can add items at this level. I like to use Expression Blend to create my resources.

I will show you how. I'm in Blend and I have opened this AddResourceInBlend.xaml file. I'm going to drag a rectangle over to my artboard, and then I'm going to create a Gradient Brush. I do that by coming over to my Fill property, selecting Gradient Brush, and then adding some colors. Here is my custom brush. Now I am ready to turn this into a resource. In Expression Blend, I can click on this white property peg and then choose Convert to New Resource.

Since this is going in a ResourceDictionary, I have to provide a key. And I have to choose the scope of this resource: at the application level, in this document level, and elsewhere. In this document, I can create it at the UserControl level or at the Rectangle level. I'm going to leave the items at the default and then click OK. I'll clear out my brush, and I will add a second resource. Gradient Brush. This time I will do a Radial gradient, and now I'm ready to save this one. And done.

If you look at the XAML, you'll see at the top of my UserControl, a Resources section, and here's my WaterBrush. Now that you have seen how to create a resource, it's time to just go over how to use the Resource in your XAML. The simplest way to access the Resource in your XAML is through the StaticResource Markup Extension. The curly braces in the property attribute signify that you are calling the Markup Extension. Here in the screenshot is an example. On the button, I'm setting the Background property to a StaticResource called RedBrush.

And in the TextBlock, I'm setting the Foreground property to the same resource. Resources can be stored in any framework element in your visual tree. They can go in an element, they can go into any of the parents of that element, they can be at the user control level or at the application level. They can also be in an external file called a Merge Dictionary. Silverlight uses a simple search algorithm to find the specified resource. Using the key provided, Silverlight attempts to find a matching resource, and it does that by walking the object tree.

It starts at the element where the resource is requested and walks the object tree trying to find the match. The first match that it finds as it walks through the tree is the one that is used. Here is an example. I have two buttons in an application on separate pages. In this orange button, if I specify that I want to use the default brush, it will look to see if there is a default brush defined at this button level. If not, then it will look in the grid, then the page and then the application and then in any ResourceDictionaries. This blue button will do the same, only it is walking a different tree.

If I specify a resource at the application level, both buttons could use it. I'm back in Expression Blend, and I'm going to use the Resources now. I will start by creating an ellipse, and deleting my rectangle, and then replacing the current brush that's in this ellipse with a Null brush. This pane, by clicking on this button, shows me all the available brush resources that are in scope at this ellipse level. You can see my FireBrush and you can see my WaterBrush.

When I click on the XAML and scroll down to the element, you can see that the Fill value is coming from a StaticResource Markup Extension. There will be times when you need to programmatically access the resources. I've returned to Visual Studio to show you how that's done. I'm going to open this UseResource file. Let's start by looking at my XAML. I have a RadialGradientBrush with a key value of OrbitBrush. And I also have a LinearGradientBrush with a key value of WaterBrush, plus a Named value.

I will first start by showing you how to get the resource by Key. Since I know it's in a Resource Dictionary, and I know what's at the user control level, I can go to the Resources property, provide the key, check to see if I'm getting a null value back or not, and if I'm getting a non-null value, I can pull that piece of information out and cast to the correct type and then apply it to this property. Now, this works if I know the element that contains the resources. If I don't know the element that contains the resources, I can't programmatically walk the tree unless I do a little recursion.

So here I have a function that does that for you. It's called TryFindResource. Now, my code is greatly simplified if I have a named resource. Then all I need to do is use the name and assign it like any other normal assignment. Now you've seen how to add brushes to the Resource Dictionary. In the next movie, you will see how to add styles to your resources.

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

For other Silverlight downloads (the toolkit, developer runtime, etc.), see
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