Silverlight 5 Essential Training
Illustration by Richard Downs

Searching content with the AutoComplete type-ahead control


Silverlight 5 Essential Training

with Walt Ritscher

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Video: Searching content with the AutoComplete type-ahead control

Using a search engine on the internet is second nature to most consumers. Over the last decade, search has moved into mainstream applications too. There is a feature in many search engines called Incremental Search that is very popular with consumers. I'll show you two examples of search. I will switch to my browser and let's talk about Google Search. Google has an incremental search. When I type in their search box, two things happen. On the bottom-half of the screen, Google is loading in suggested links, and in the text box itself is suggesting the next word.
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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

Searching content with the AutoComplete type-ahead control

Using a search engine on the internet is second nature to most consumers. Over the last decade, search has moved into mainstream applications too. There is a feature in many search engines called Incremental Search that is very popular with consumers. I'll show you two examples of search. I will switch to my browser and let's talk about Google Search. Google has an incremental search. When I type in their search box, two things happen. On the bottom-half of the screen, Google is loading in suggested links, and in the text box itself is suggesting the next word.

I can now press Tab to auto-complete the word. This feature goes by many different names in .NET; Autocomplete, type-ahead or Incremental Search. Visual Studio has AutoComplete too. I will switch to my Visual Studio. I'm in a project called UsingAutoComplete and I am on a code page. As I type words here, Microsoft is loading a list control full of content, and as I start typing more letters, it filters it down to one word. Now, I can press the Tab key again to auto-complete.

I'll show you a few of the auto- completion features in Silverlight. I will start by looking at this ListControlsPage. This contains two list controls; the ListBox, and the ComboBox. These controls, by default, support Incremental Search. I'll add some data to both these controls. I will show you the code for that by pressing F7. Down here on line 20, I am declaring a variable of type list of string, and I am loading it with the days of the week. Then, I take that list and I assign it to the ItemsSource of the two controls; the comboBox and the listBox.

Without writing any additional code, my list controls are search-aware. I will press F5 to run the application. I will click on this List Controls button. Then, I'll select an item in my list box. Now, I'm going to type some letters. I will type the letter T, and the letter M, and the letter F, and you can see it's finding those days. Now, our only search is for the beginning of the word. That's one of the limitations of the search mechanism. It's also case-insensitive and you cannot customize the search strategy. It always uses the 'starts with' pattern, and you cannot search through more complex scenarios like searching for a product name and product ID on the same business type.

If you want more search features, use the AutoCompleteBox control. I will return back to Visual Studio, and open this AutoCompletePage. My user interface consists of three AutoComplete boxes. Each of these controls has a custom list of words to use for auto-completion. You add these words to the control in your code behind. I will show you that code by pressing F7. My first AutoComplete box is using the same list of day names that I showed you in the previous example. The code is nearly identical.

When I return back to my XAML page, I'll show you the FilterMode setting. This first AutoCompleteBox is using a FilterMode of StartsWith. What that means is as I type text in the control, it uses the look-up words I just showed you, the day names of the week, and sees if the letter I'm typing matches the starting letters of any of the words in those lists. I will run the application to show you. Click here on the AutoCompleteBox button, and go to this first text control, and type-in F for Friday, T for Tuesday, and so on.

The auto-completion portion happens when I press the Tab key. I will press Tab, and you will notice that it will finish my completion and move to the next control. My second AutoCompleteBox is using a slightly different FilterMode. It's using the Contains mode. What this does is search the inner content of the word list. The word list is coming from the month names, and I thought I would show you a technique for getting the month names from the .NET Framework. I will press F7 to switch to my code behind, and here, I am creating a variable that's going to hold a list of strings.

And then, I am writing a for each loop here, from 0 to 11, and I am calling the CultureInfo class method called DateTimeFormat.MonthNames. Then, I'm asking the CultureInfo object for the MonthName through this MonthName property. Once I've populated this list, I can then set that as an ItemSource. Press F5 to run the application, and I'll start typing in Month Names like December. Notice that I can type in partial names, I can type in em and it finds all the months that have those letters in the center of the word.

I am going to return back to my code. I'm going to comment out this line, and uncomment this line, and this line here. I want to talk about culture again. Silverlight supports all the cultures available in the .NET Framework. The example I showed used the culture information from my computer. If you want to switch to a different culture, use the appropriate culture code. So what I'm doing here is I am instantiating a new CultureInfo object, and I am using the culture code for Vietnamese and then I am using that to load the month names, and then run this application again.

I will type the letter A. You see that the Month Names are returning the culture I specified. For my last demo, I will look at a custom search algorithm. I'm going to use my own class that I created called NumberName. It contains a string called EnglishName, and NumberValue. It also has a method down here called ToString which returns the EnglishName. I then populate this class up here, and load it into a list of NumberNames. So you can see I have the number 1, the word number one, and the numeric value for that.

What I want to do is search on the word or search with the number value. In my XAML, I go to my AutoCompleteBox and I set the FilterMode to Custom. Then, I go to my code behind page, and I set up my custom filter here. I say this number has an ItemFilter. Let's sort in this function called GetWordsByNumber, and this is a predicate function which means it has to return a Boolean value. So this takes the search string and the currentNumberName and the code in here attempts to parse the number and see if I typed a numeric value 2, if that matches the numeric value here.

Press F5 to run the application. Come down here and type-in one, I got a match, tw, I got a match. Now, I'm going to type the numeric value of 2 and I get a match. Now, I will use the Down arrow and then the Tab key. These examples should give you some ideas of ways to search through your own application data.

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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