MoXAML 2.4 Released

I’ve just uploaded the newest version of MoXAML Power Toys. MoXAML now includes a version of Scrubber that runs inside Visual Studio – Scrubber was introduced to the world by Robby Ingebretsen in his wonderful Kaxaml tool. Go on – beautify all the XAML in your projects with one simple menu option.

MoXAML 2.1 Released – AKA Iona

I’ve just finished coding up a new version of MoXAML Power Toys. This release adds a new keyword search function and tidies up the commenting functionality based on feedback.

Keyword search

Highlight a word in the source and select Lookup keyword from the menu, and voila – a Google and Live search are performed based on the keyword (using the appropriate language type as well).

Menu in action

Search window in operation

Commenting

The comment feature now places nicely with the existing comment command, so if you have an ordinary XAML comment in place, running the MoXAML commenter on it will handle it just as if the original comment had been done with MoXAML.

Another new feature in the Commenter is the ability to add an empty <!– –> comment so you can add your own comment text in.

Downloads

After downloading, you’ll need to change the extension from .doc to .zip. This is a requirement of WordPress.com

Installer – no source: moxaml21releasezip

Source code: moxamlpowertoys21zip

As always, keep your comments and requests coming in. No idea goes unconsidered.

XAML Power Toys & MoXAML – the one-two knockout punch.

In this post, I’d like to talk about how MoXAML and XAML Power Toys can work together to produce applications quickly and easily. We’re going to look at how to create a working fully databound datagrid in Silverlight, in 1 minute.

Important note:
If you’re running Visual Studio on Vista, please run it as Administrator to follow this tutorial.

So, now that we know what we’re trying to do, let’s start off by creating a Silverlight application in Visual Studio 2008. For this run through, we need to use C# because we are going to use the Notify Property command which works against automatic properties, which are only a feature of C# (unfortunately). For this sample, I’m adding a new ASP.NET web project to host Silverlight, and I’ve set the Project Type to ASP.NET Web Application Project.

Right, now that we’ve created the basic application, we’re going to add a new class to the Silverlight control project which will be the model we’re planning on adding. Normally, we’d create a new DLL for the model, but for the sake of simplicity I’m adding it directly to the control. I’m calling this class Person, and it will consist of 4 properties; Title, Name, Age and Nickname. The class looks like this:

Now, we want to convert the class so that the properties use the PropertyChanged event handler. To do this, I’m going to add the INotifyPropertyChanged interface to the class definition and then implement the interface. (You will need to add using System.ComponentModel; to your class). At this stage, the class looks like:

The problem with the code as it stands is that it won’t properly participate in databinding, because it’s not going to notify bound items of any changes. That’s where the PropertyChanged event comes in. I love automatic properties, but I was so frustrated that they didn’t internally implement this – this was the reason that I wrote the Notify Property command. So, it’s time to fire up MoXAML and rectify the “deficiencies”.

Note:
Before you continue, it’s important to make sure that you have the latest versions of XAML Power Toys and MoXAML Power Toys, and that they are running as an add-in in Visual Studio.

Right click on the Name property and click MoXAML Power Toys > Make Notify Property from the menu. This adds the necessary “plumbing” to make this a notify property.

MoXAML menu

MoXAML converted code

Repeat this with the other properties, to add the relevant implementation into each property. Now we’re going to move onto the Silverlight control. At this stage, it is vital that you build your project, and ensure that it compiles successfully because XAML Power Toys uses reflection to work out what is available in your class.

Once you’ve built the project, right click on the class in the solution explorer and choose XAML Power Toys > Create Form, ListView or Data Grid For Class. When the dialog appears, choose Silverlight Data Grid in the Select Object To Create dropdown.

XAML Power Toys form in action.

Now, we can drag and drop the items we want to appear in the grid. I’m going to add them in the order Title, Name, Nickname and Age. For more information on the template items available in the dialog, please see the videos that Karl has most helpfully produced, but for the moment, please ensure that the mode is set to TwoWay for each item.

Items being added to the datagrid.

Once you’ve added the fields you want, click Create. If this is the first time you’ve used XAML Power Toys, you should see an information box with the message: “Your settings file has been created for you. You can configure your settings using the Set Control Defaults command.” Click OK.

You’ll now see an information box that tells you that you can now paste your XAML in.

Once you’ve pasted your grid into the Page.xaml file, you may notice that the DataGrid has lots of wavy underlines. This is because the System.Windows.Controls.Data assembly isn’t referenced in your project, and the namespace hasn’t been added to the UserControl attributes. To fix this, add the reference into your project, and copy the definition xmlns:data=”clr-namespace:System.Windows.Controls;assembly=System.Windows.Controls.Data” into the UserControl attributes.

We’re going to give our datagrid a name. Let’s call it xamlGrid. To do this, add x:Name=”xamlGrid” to the datagrid. We have done this so that we can hook the grid up with some data. So now, let’s add the Loaded event to our usercontrol. To do this, add Loaded=”UserControl_Loaded” into the control definition (if you type Loaded= into Visual Studio, and press enter when the <New Event Handler> is highlighted, the event handler is added into both the XAML and the codebehind.

Now, open up Page.xaml.cs and take a look at the code. The UserControl_Loaded handler should be present, and hooks up to a RoutedEvent. It’s now time to add some data and bind it in. First of all, let’s add a list of Person objects as a class member. Once this has been done, add in some code to add new Person items to the list and then bind the list to the datagrid ItemsSource. Here’s my code:

If you build and run this project, you’ve got a fully databound grid which displays the items you entered. Change some values, and the properties update as you’d expect. If you want to test this, and I strongly suggest you do because it’s so cool, create a copy of your first grid in the XAML, change it’s name and bind it to the same list. Rerun the project, and change a value in one of the grids – if you’ve done everything right, the other grid will display your updated values.

That’s all there is to getting started with using MoXAML and XAML Power Toys to quickly create a databound Silverlight application. It really is that easy, and I’d like to thank Karl for his hard work in making it so that it is that easy.

Download

You can download the sample here. As always, you’ll need to rename the .doc file to .zip before you can extract it.

samplesilverlightappzip

MoXAML 2.0 Released.

Well – it’s taken me quite a while, but I’ve finally finished the new version of MoXAML Power Toys. This has been quite an undertaking, and has been the most fun I’ve had coding in quite a while. Anyway, what’s new in MoXAML?

AppWizard

As I’ve already intimated, there’s a new AppWizard in MoXAML. This command allows you to add a status bar, toolbar and menu to your application.

Calling the AppWizard

The AppWizard brings up a dialog where you choose whether or not you want to see a toolbar, a menu or a statusbar. If you choose to add a toolbar or menu, you even get standard icons added into your project. The CommandBindings and App.Resources are set up for you, and the relevant user controls are added into your main window. The statusbar hooks up to the Caps Lock, Scroll Lock, Insert and Num Lock keys to reflect the state of them. It also adds in a date and time which updates every second. I love WPF.

The AppWizard in action
The AppWizard in action

Behind the scenes, some of the code injected into your application is C#, but being a nice chap I’ve added a converter in there which translates the C# to VB.NET before it gets added to your project if it detects that your project is VB.NET.

I’ve tested this as well as I can, but I’d appreciate feedback on how you find it.

DependencyProperty

I’d like to thank Jeremy Robertson, aka Hero, for this one. A couple of weeks back he emailed me to say that he’d come up with an addition to MoXAML, and he sent me the code for the DependencyProperty command. In his own words:

“It’s similar to PropertyManager, except it works on Dependency Properties.
Highlight a group of dependency properties, run the tool, and it will put CLR properties for each dependency property on the clipboard.”

Thanks for that Jeremy – it’s much appreciated.

Downloads

Downloads available here.

Next steps

Well, the next step for me is to produce detailed instructions on how to use MoXAML and XAML Power Toys together to produce a Silverlight application. It’s pretty powerful stuff, and I owe a great debt of gratitude to Karl Shifflett for XAML Power Toys. When you see the combination in action, you can see why we’re doing this.

Beyond that, I’m going to be revisiting the commenting code as per Logan’s requests, and I’m also going to be adding in a new command to convert code from one language to another. Another feature on my wishlist that I’ll be looking at soon is selecting a keyword in your source or XAML and then it will search Google, Live, and so on, to get you help on the keyword.

As always, keep your comments coming in and thanks for your feedback so far.

More MoXAML

As promised, MoXAMLPowerToys is being enhanced and updated. To this end, I’ve been hard at work tidying up the code and responding to the comments raised in the original post.

The original code has been heavily rejigged to make it easier for me to add new features and in the process I’ve added a new power toy; now it’s simple to convert an automatic property to use INotifyPropertyChanged. All you need to do is pick the property in the code window and select Notify Property (C# Only), and it will add the necessary plumbing.

Cunningly enough, it adds the Changed method if it’s not already present. ;->

Notify Property in action:

After the command:

Download

You can download the latest source (and a setup) here. (Please redownload this package, I’ve updated the setup project to move the application Addin file into the Addins directory, and to point it to the installation folder as a custom action).

Source moved here.

As always, keep your comments coming in and let me know what else you’d like to see – and while you’re at it, don’t forget to download the original XAMLPowerToys.

MoXAMLPowerToys

Inspired by the truly excellent XAML Power Toys from Karl Shifflett, I’m pleased to introduce MoXAMLPowerToys, which stands for More XAML Power Toys in deference to Karl’s excellent XAMLPowerToys. MoXAMLPowerToys is a Visual Studio addin, which is designed to enhance your productivity in Visual Studio. I have many plans for this utility, but I would love to hear any areas that you think you would like to see adding.

In this initial release, you can comment and uncomment XAML code. To use this addin, simply copy the addin file to C:\Users\xxx\Documents\Visual Studio 2008\Addins\MoXAMLPowerToys – For Testing.AddIn and edit it to point the Assembly at the addin dll.

Requirements

  • Visual Studio 2008 with SP1

Menus

MoXAMLPowerToys menu.
MoXAMLPowerToys menu.

Plans

Future versions of this code will include further productivity enhancements:

  • The ability to automatically assign standard command bindings to tags
  • Convert automatic properties into INotifyPropertyChanged