WPF book has been released and Silverlight book will be available on 28th of August

Exactly two years after the first release of the WPF-book the second edition is available since some days. Find more details about the content and where you can order it on http://www.thomasclaudiushuber.com/wpf.

The Silverlight-Book has also been written and is currently running through the process of reading, testing and printing. It will be in stores on 28th of August. Find more information about the Silverlight-Book and where you can order it on http://www.thomasclaudiushuber.com/silverlight.

I hope you like the books and you can master the “programming-challenge” of your wpf- and silverlight-projects with the knowhow you got from the books.

Cheers,
Thomas

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Friday-Evening Fun with Silverlight’s Animation Easing Functions

This weekend I’ve to finish the second edition of my WPF-book. Luckily it’s going to rain tomorrow. But I’ve almost done it. This evening I’ve just ported a small sample for Animation Easing Functions from WPF to Silverlight. It was easy, all I had to do was using a PathGeometry instead of the not existing StreamGeometry to draw the lines of the functions. Use the fun-sample below to play around with these easing functions. You’ll get the code of this version with my upcoming german Silverlight-Book in August. So have fun, Cheers Thomas.

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Visual Studio has been released, Silverlight 4 has been released and the books are on their way…

After Visual Studio has been released on Monday this week, Silverlight 4 is also available since Thursday. I’ll have to speed up my book-writing. As many of you know, I’m writing on a second edition of my WPF-book to .NET 4.0 and Visual Studio 2010. I’m also writing on a Silverlight-book (about Silverlight 4.0). Below some details of the two books.

The WPF-Book:

I’ll finish the update of my WPF-book till end of April, so it’ll be released in June. There are many new things in it, like a section to the Model-View-ViewModel-Pattern, Multitouch, the new Controls DatePicker, Calendar and DataGrid, Animation Easing-Functions, VisualStateManager, Windows 7 Taskbarintegration, Pixel-Shaders and much more. Of course there’s also a new version of the FriendStorage-Application that is using new features and controls, like e.g. the DataGrid:

01_06

FriendStorage now also has integration into the Windows 7 Taskbar. So you can iterate through the friends via the Buttons shown in the Windows 7 Taskbar Thumbnail. Also recognize that the image of the current friend is also displayed as overlay-image on the Taskbar-Button

image 

You find the second edition of my WPF-book here on amazon.de

The Silverlight-book

I’ll write on the Silverlight-book till end of June, so it’ll be released in August. I hope you’re looking forward to it. I gave and will give my best that it’s a great resource to all professional Silverlight-Developers and those who want to become one of those. In May I’ll show the contents of the Silverlight-book on my homepage. I’ll also blog here. For now I can say that there’s a FriendStorageOnline-Application in the Samples with Login/Registration and CRUD-Operations via WCF Ria Services. A logged-in User can create Friendlists and insert data as usual. The app looks like this:

01_04

The Silverlight-book is also already on amazon here. But keep in mind that there could be a change in pages (some more up to 1000) and so maybe also in price. I’ll post more information about the targeted pagecount in May, then you’ll also see some details of the contents.

Ciao,
Thomas

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Silverlight 4 Release Candidate is here

The Mix has started some hours ago, and here it is, the Silverlight 4 Release Candidate. Now you can move your development-environment from Visual Studio 2010 Beta to RC. There are also updates to WCF RIA Services, a WCF RIA Services Toolkit etc. Find everything you need here:

http://www.silverlight.net/getstarted/silverlight-4/

There’s also a fantastic post from Tim Heuer about the changes in the Silverlight RC here:

http://timheuer.com/blog/archive/2010/03/15/whats-new-in-silverlight-4-rc-mix10.aspx

Another great thing is that Silverlight 4 is THE technology for Windows Phone 7. So I think I’ve to sell my iPhone and buy me a new Mobile with Windows Phone 7 on it. If you want to start developing Mobile-apps with Silverlight, also go to Tim Heuers blog: http://timheuer.com/blog/archive/2010/03/15/get-started-with-silverlight-for-windows-phone.aspx

So have fun with the new release. I’ll go downstairs in my dark room now and finish up my Silverlight 4.0 book. It’ll take a while. For now I can say if you like my WPF-book, you’ll love that Silverlight book for sure. :)

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Visual Studio 2010 RC and Silverlight 4 Beta

Yesterday Visual Studio 2010 RC was released to MSDN Subscribers (find the link here), tomorrow it’s available for download for everyone. The performance is great as far as I can say by using it for at least one day. But it lacks on support for Silverlight 4 Beta.

If you’re developing Silverlight 4 applications, it is recommended that you stay on Visual Studio 2010 Beta 2 until new bits of Silverlight come out. “New bits of Silverlight” means a Silverlight Release Candidate. It is expected also for this month. Wow, how the time is ticking away. I just thought it has been some days ago since I read Dr. Tim Sneaths post about the Silverlight 1.0 RC, and now we’ll have the 4.0 Release Candidate soon.

The more I work with Silverlight 4.0, the more I love this Plugin. While I missed some things like e.g. implicit Styles and basedOn Styles in version 2.0, version 4.0 now contains both of them. Also printing is supported, WebCam- and Microphone-Access, Com-Interop for Out-Of-Browser apps etc. And the most important aspects for Business-Apps, Data-Access, Validation etc. are easy to do. With WCF RIA Services (formerly .NET RIA Services) you’ve a great framework for building Business apps. Also I’ve to say that I’m a total fan of the REST-based WCF Data Services (formerly ADO.NET Data Services), which are now also included in Sharepoint 2010. Silverlight contains a small Client API for accessing those services and make the classical CRUD-operations.

Silverlight 4.0 contains many great features to build really powerful apps. But not yet with Visual Studio 2010 RC. As soon as the new Silverlight-bits will be available, you’ll read it here.

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The DataGrid and the “Input string is not in a correct format” message in Silverlight

If you play around with the DataGrid in Silverlight and try some scenarios, maybe you come around the FormatException with the Message “Input String is not in a correct format”. You get this Exception if your Data-Object e.g. has a Property of type int and the user enters some characters in the DataGrid. The Exception doesn’t come up, instead the DataGrid shows it as a validation error. Let’s look at an example. Image you’ve a very simple Person-class containing a FirstName-Property of type string and an Age-Property of type int:

public class Person : INotifyPropertyChanged
{
  private int? _age;
  private string _firstName;
  public string FirstName
  {
    get { return _firstName; }
    set
    {
      _firstName = value;
      Changed("FirstName");
    }
  }

  public int? Age
  {
    get { return _age; }
    set
    {
      _age = value;
      Changed("Age");
    }
  }

  private void Changed(string propertyName)
  {
    if (PropertyChanged != null)
      PropertyChanged(this, 
        new PropertyChangedEventArgs(propertyName));
  }

  public event PropertyChangedEventHandler PropertyChanged;
}

Now let’s fill up a List with some Test-Persons and add that list to the DataContext of your page:

public MainPage()
{
  InitializeComponent();
  this.DataContext = new List { 
    new Person{ FirstName="Thomas",Age=29},
    new Person{ FirstName="Julia",Age=27},
    new Person{ FirstName="Ben",Age=1},
  };
}

No in the XAML-File of your MainPage a DataGrid could be defined like below. Notice the ItemsSource-Property that is bound to the DataContext:

<my:DataGrid ItemsSource="{Binding}"
             AutoGenerateColumns="False">     
  <my:DataGrid.Columns>
    <my:DataGridTextColumn Header="FirstName"
                           Binding="{Binding FirstName}"/>
    <my:DataGridTextColumn Header="Age"
                           Binding="{Binding Age}"/>
  </my:DataGrid.Columns>
</my:DataGrid>

When the User now enters a string as Age, the FormatException is raised before the Property is updated and the Message of the FormatException is displayed in the DataGrid:

image

Now the question is, where to change this string. The DataGrid has a BindingValidationError-Event, but there you have only read access to the FormatException and the Errormessage. In the Property itself you can’t do anything, because the Exception is thrown before the Age-Property is set.

The solution is to define a Property special for Display in the Person-class. Normally you would create a ViewModel that encapsulates the Person-class and contains the additional property. In my case I implement the Property directly in the Person-class. I call it AgeDisplay-Property. Inside that property you can then throw your own FormatException with your special text. My Person-class now looks like this:

public class Person : INotifyPropertyChanged
{
  private int? _age;
  private string _firstName;
  public string FirstName
  {
    get { return _firstName; }
    set
    {
      _firstName = value;
      Changed("FirstName");
    }
  }

  public int? Age
  {
    get { return _age; }
    set
    {
      _age = value;
      Changed("Age");
      Changed("AgeDisplay");
    }
  }


  public string AgeDisplay
  {
    get { return Age.ToString(); ; }
    set
    {
      if (value == null)
      {
        Age = null;
        return;
      }
      int result;
      if (int.TryParse(value, out result))
      {
        Age = result;
      }
      else
      {
        throw new FormatException("Age must be a number. "
                        + " Characters are not allowed.");
      }
    }
  }

  private void Changed(string propertyName)
  {
    if (PropertyChanged != null)
      PropertyChanged(this, 
        new PropertyChangedEventArgs(propertyName));
  }

  public event PropertyChangedEventHandler PropertyChanged;
}

Now you simple bind the DataGrid’s Column to AgeDisplay instead of Age:

<my:DataGrid ItemsSource="{Binding}"
             AutoGenerateColumns="False">     
  <my:DataGrid.Columns>
    <my:DataGridTextColumn Header="FirstName"
                           Binding="{Binding FirstName}"/>
    <my:DataGridTextColumn Header="Age"
                           Binding="{Binding AgeDisplay}"/>
  </my:DataGrid.Columns>
</my:DataGrid>

When the user now enters a string into the Age-Column, the text of the FormatException thrown in the AgeDisplay-Property is displayed:

image

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Great news for Silverlight on Linux

The Silverlight-Plugin runs per default on Windows and MacOs. For Linux-Machines there’s an opensource implementation driven by Microsoft and Novell called Moonlight.

While Silverlight is currently in Version 3 available and Version 4 (already in beta) is expected for spring next year, the Moonlight implementation was only availabe in Version 1. And Version 1 means no C#, no CLR, just hacking JavaScript and XAML. But two days ago the big step for Silverlight on Linux was done and Moonlight reached version 2. It’s available for download: http://www.mono-project.com/Moonlight

I think with reaching that level from “only-JavaScript” to the managed C#-API, the future releases of Moonlight will be more closely to the Silverlight-releases for Windows.

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Silverlight 4 – How to focus a TextBox that is contained in your Custom Control on Startup

Focusing a TextBox that’s inside a Custom Control isn’t so easy at startup of your application. Let me explain the problem that is also discussed on http://forums.silverlight.net/forums/t/151235.aspx. Imagine you’ve created a custom control that has a TextBox as Part-element. The Style that sets the Template would look like this:

<Style TargetType="local:SimpleControl">
  <Setter Property="Template">
    <Setter.Value>
      <ControlTemplate  TargetType="local:SimpleControl">
        <Border Background="{TemplateBinding Background}"
          BorderBrush="{TemplateBinding BorderBrush}"
          BorderThickness="{TemplateBinding BorderThickness}">
          <TextBox x:Name="PART_Text" Margin="10"></TextBox>
        </Border>
      </ControlTemplate>
    </Setter.Value>
  </Setter>
</Style>

You get the TextBox from the Template in the OnApplyTemplate-Method

public override void OnApplyTemplate()
{
  base.OnApplyTemplate();
  _partTextBox = this.GetTemplateChild("PART_Text") as TextBox;
}

Now imaginge you want to focus your SimpleControl in the constructor of your MainPage like below:

public MainPage()
{
  InitializeComponent();
  HtmlPage.Plugin.Focus();
  yourControl.Focus();
}

The Problem that occurs is that the OnApplyTemplate-Method is called after the Focus-Method. So you don’t have the TextBox defined in your Template. The Solution is very easy. Just hide the Focus-Method from the base-class and set a flag. But keep in mind that this won’t work if you store your SimpleControl in a variable of type Control, cause then no polymorphic call is made to the Focus-Method defined in SimpleControl. Here a sample implementation:

public class SimpleControl : Control
{
  private bool _applyFocusToPartTextBox;
  private TextBox _partTextBox;
  public SimpleControl()
  {
    this.DefaultStyleKey = typeof(SimpleControl);
  }
  public override void OnApplyTemplate()
  {
    base.OnApplyTemplate();
    _partTextBox = this.GetTemplateChild("PART_Text") as TextBox;
    if (_partTextBox != null)
    {
      if (_applyFocusToPartTextBox)
        _partTextBox.Focus();
    }
    _applyFocusToPartTextBox = false;
  }
  public new bool Focus()
  {
    if (_partTextBox == null)
    {
      _applyFocusToPartTextBox = true;
      return true;
    }
    return base.Focus();
  }
}
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How to print a List<string> in Silverlight 4 Beta over multiple pages?!

On www.silverlight.net several people are asking how to print the values of a DataGrid in Silverlight. You cannot just assign the DataGrid to the PageVisual-Property of the PrintPageEventArgs. This would just print the DataGrid as it is on one page. The data wouldn’t be splitted on several pages, cause there’s no paging logic to use. You’ve to write this logic.

You’re responsible for the paging! But how to do it? In this post I’ll give you a little idea how it could work by simple printing out a List of string-values. I won’t talk a lot about the details. Just look at the code below:

public partial class MainPage : UserControl
{
  private List _list;
  private const double ROWHEIGHT = 20;
  private const double PAGEMARGIN = 30;
  public MainPage()
  {
    InitializeComponent();
    _list = new List();

    for (int i = 1; i < 101; i++)
    {
      _list.Add(i + " thanks to Thomas for this printing sample");
      _list.Add("Visit http://www.thomasclaudiushuber.com");
    }
  }

  private void Button_Click(object sender, RoutedEventArgs e)
  {
    _currentIndex = 0;

    var pd = new PrintDocument();
    pd.DocumentName = "AListFromThomas";
    pd.PrintPage += pd_PrintPage;
    pd.Print();

  }

  private int _currentIndex;
  private double _currentTop;
  private double _availableSpace;
  void pd_PrintPage(object sender, PrintPageEventArgs e)
  {
    var pageRoot = new Canvas();
    e.PageVisual = pageRoot;

    _currentTop = PAGEMARGIN;
    _availableSpace = e.PrintableArea.Height - PAGEMARGIN*2;
    while (_currentIndex < _list.Count)
    {
      var txt = new TextBlock { Text = _list[_currentIndex] };

      if (ROWHEIGHT > _availableSpace)
      {
        e.HasMorePages = true;
        break;
      }

      txt.SetValue(Canvas.TopProperty, _currentTop);
      txt.SetValue(Canvas.LeftProperty, PAGEMARGIN);
      pageRoot.Children.Add(txt);
      _currentTop += ROWHEIGHT;
      _availableSpace -= ROWHEIGHT;
      _currentIndex++;
    }
  }
}

When the Button_Click-Eventhandler is executed, the List gets printed over 5 pages. You can easily print it to PDFCreator or XPS Printer to test it. The output looks like this:

image

Download the source here and enjoy. Give me feedback by entering a comment to this blogentry or via email on www.thomasclaudiushuber.com/blog.

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How to supress the Alt-Key in Silverlight’s TextBox

You can restrict the input-values in Silverlight’s TextBox by handling the KeyDown-Event. But the KeyDown-Event isn’t fired if the user enters a key by pressing e.g. ALT + 123.

Corresponding to the problem mentioned in http://forums.silverlight.net/forums/t/147718.aspx, I’ll show here a short workaround by using the TextChanged and KeyUp-Event of the TextBox. Just use the following snippet, that removes a character that was added by pressing the ALT- and another Key or Key-Combination:

private void TextBox_TextChanged(object sender, TextCh… e)
{
  if (_altWasPressed)
  {
    // remove the added character
    var textBox = ((TextBox)sender);
    var caretPos = textBox.SelectionStart;
    var text = textBox.Text;
    var textStart = text.Substring(0, caretPos - 1);
    var textEnd = "";
    if (caretPos < text.Length)
      textEnd = text.Substring(caretPos, text.Length-caretPos);
    textBox.Text = textStart + textEnd;
    textBox.SelectionStart = caretPos - 1;

    _altWasPressed = false;
  }
}
private bool _altWasPressed;
private void TextBox_KeyUp(object sender, KeyEventArgs e)
{
  _altWasPressed = e.Key == Key.Alt;
}
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