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Using business data in a binding

From: Silverlight 5 Essential Training

Video: Using business data in a binding

Business data is the lifeblood of any real-world application. Whether it is medical data, astronomy data, or social data there has to be a way to manipulate a report on that information. Silverlight has a magnificent binding framework, which I will show you in this movie. For this demonstration, I'm using Visual Studio and a project called Using Business Data in Binding. I will start by showing you one of my business classes. I have a class called RentalHouse which contains a number of properties like MarketingName, WeekPrice, IsWaterFront, and so on.

Using business data in a binding

Business data is the lifeblood of any real-world application. Whether it is medical data, astronomy data, or social data there has to be a way to manipulate a report on that information. Silverlight has a magnificent binding framework, which I will show you in this movie. For this demonstration, I'm using Visual Studio and a project called Using Business Data in Binding. I will start by showing you one of my business classes. I have a class called RentalHouse which contains a number of properties like MarketingName, WeekPrice, IsWaterFront, and so on.

This class works in conjunction with another class called RentalManager. RentalManager has one interesting method called GetHouses, which returns an observable collection of RentalHouse. This is a generic collection, and the nice thing about the observable collection is it works really well with the Silverlight binding engine. In the body of my code, I'm instantiating a house, setting some properties, and then adding it to the houses collection. And then I add a second house.

My UI for this demonstration is over here in BasicOfDataBindingPage. And I just unpinned my tab. Let me repin that. You can always repin a tab in Visual Studio by holding down the Ctrl key and double-clicking on the title bar. There is my UI. It consists of several text boxes, a checkbox, and an image. I'm going to bind these controls to my underlying data source. So first let's go and look at the underlying data source in my code behind.

Press F7 to switch over there. For a successful binding in Silverlight, you need to set up five different parts. First of all of course, I need a data source. My data source here is coming from the DataClasses.Rental Manager, that class I showed you just a few seconds ago. I am called GetHouses, and then I am returning the first item in that collection. I am storing this house in this variable. Next, I am going to take that house variable and I am going to go my LayoutRoot-- the grid is part of my UI--and I am going to set as a DataContext to that house.

What this does is it provides the data source for this element and all of its children. So any element that is part of my layout root, any of the children elements, will have access to this data. Now the other four parts of the successful binding are listed here. I have the data source, but I also need to set the DataSource property. For example, that would be the MarketingName or the Location. I have to specify that target; in this case that will be one of my UI elements: my text box or my text block. I have to specify which property on my target is going to be bound.

That might be the text property or the IsChecked property. This has to be a dependency property for Silverlight to do the binding correctly. I also have to use the Silverlight binding class. Now that we have seen these parts, let's move over to XAML and set this up. I will start by looking at my Image. My image is one part of those five. The image is the data target, and the Source property is the data target property. It as two parts. The third part is the Binding class.

The fourth part is the name of the property on my underlying data source, and the fifth part was the part that I set my code behind, where I instantiated my data source and assigned it to the data context. With those five pieces, I can load the picture into this image. I am going to add a binding to this Weekly Price text box to show you how this works. I will go up here. I will set the Text property equal to, I will type in a curly brace. Visual Studio recognizes I am working with a markup extension and adds the second curly brace.

It also shows me a list of available markup extensions. I want this first one, Binding, and then I'm going to type in the name of my source. I underline the source, so I am going to choose Weekly Price. I think this is the name I picked. No, WeekPrice, it's called WeekPrice, WeekPrice. And now I will save the Binding works. Press F5. I have a build error.

I see somehow have added a second empty text property here. I will delete that, press F5 and run the application, and I have success. There is the weekly price, there is the image, and there is the house name. If your business data changes in the underlying data store, the Silverlight Binding framework should update your UI. It will manage your updates for you if you configure your data sources correctly. The mechanism of alerting Silverlight about data changes is the INotifyPropertyChanged interface.

Your data source implements this interface and raises an event whenever the data changes. The Silverlight dependency system listens for that event and updates the UI accordingly. I will return back to Visual Studio, and I will look at a different business class. Here I have a RentalHouseUpdate class. It's nearly the same as the business class I showed you a few minutes ago, except it implements INotifyPropertyChanged, and this requires me to have an event called PropertyChanged.

Here it is. And then I raise this event when I want to notify Silverlight that something changed. Here is the code that does that. When I set my weekPrice right here in the center, I am assigning the value to my underlying back invariable, and then I'm using a little helper class RaisePropertyChange event to notify Silverlight, yes, I have just changed the weekPrice. I have a helper class that works with this. Over here, this helper class instantiates my RentalHouseUpdate class and then returns some data. And to just simulate that the data is changing on the back end, I have a DispatcherTimer which fires every three seconds. That's being set up right here, Interval equal three seconds.

I set up a timer.Tick event procedure here and start my timer and then every time this function runs, I have a random number generator that calculates a new price for that house. Now when I run the application and click on this one here called Updating source, you can see that the Weekly Price is changing. Remember this RentalHouse class? It didn't implement INotifyPropertyChanged. Your business classes might not implement this interface and you might not have permission to alter the business code.

There is a pattern in the Silverlight world that works around this problem. It is called the The Model-View-View-Model pattern, or MVVM. The way this works is instead of binding directly to my RentalHouse, I create an intermediate class called the View model. The View model instantiates my RentalHouse on my behalf and then exposes it through properties on the View model, and then my form--in this case the BasicsOfBusinessBinding--instead of binding directly to the RentalHouse, binds to my view model instead.

I suggest you learn more about MVVM, as it is a common UI pattern in the Silverlight community. From my last demonstration, I thought I would show you binding to a different data source and also how you could bind the tooltip to the underlying data source. My business data in this case is CalendarDays, which has two properties: DayName and IsWeekend. And then I also have a class down here called Calendar Days which implements List of calendar day. And as you can see in the body here, I'm setting up some days and whether IsWeekend is true or false.

My UI is over here in this binding tooltip section. What am I doing here? I have a list box and I am binding it to the CalenderDays. If you looked in my code behind, you see I am instantiating the calendar days. And then I'm replacing the standard template that shows in a list box with my own custom template. That's called the DataTemplate. And within the DataTemplate I specify Stackpanel and then any other valid Silverlight UI. So for each row of data in my underlying source, it's going to draw a Stackpanel and then a Border and then a TextBlock, and the text property of this TextBlock will be bound to the DayName inside my Source. And then down here in this checkbox, we will have this IsChecked property bound to IsWeekend.

To make tooltip work, I go up to the ListBox itself and I bind the toolTipService.TooTip property to a Binding, and I say go to the SelectedItem of the ElementName DayListBox--that's my list box--determine which is the selected row, and get it's DayName value and show that in the tooltip. Let's see. Click over here, select Friday, hover my mouse over the ListBox, and the tooltip pops up that says Friday.

Select Sunday, hover my mouse over to ListBox, and the toolTip says Sunday. I wish I had more time to show you more business-binding features. It is a vital skill to have Silverlight developers. To do justice to the topic would take many days, however. Watch the next movie, and I'll introduce you to list binding.

Show transcript

This video is part of

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Silverlight 5 Essential Training

106 video lessons · 5399 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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