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STYLES, CONTROL TEMPLATES, AND CUSTOM USERCONTROLS
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public UC_GreenButton() { // Required to initialize variables InitializeComponent(); } } } Now that we have registered our DependencyProperty we need to have the TextBlock of our UserControl show that text. Before we can write the C# code to do that, we need to save our changes and switch back to Blend and give the TextBlock a Name property. This is required when you are going to code against an object.
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1. Switch back to Blend, go into UC_GreenButton, and select the TextBlock by clicking it. 2. The first thing we need to do is to make the TextBlock the same length as the UserControl.
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You can see that I have done this in Figure 11-32.
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Figure 11-32. Make the TextBlock the same length as the UserControl.
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3. With the TextBlock still selected, go into the Text bucket of the Properties panel, click the
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Paragraph tab, and change the alignment to Center, as I have done in Figure 11-33.
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Figure 11-33. Change the alignment for the TextBlock to Center.
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4. In the Name field at the very top of the Properties panel, change the Name of the TextBlock
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to MainText, as I have done in Figure 11-34.
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Figure 11-34. Give the TextBlock a Name property of MainText.
Now that you have named the TextBlock, we need to make sure it doesn t keep its default Text of TextBlock. We actually want it to be the value of our DependencyProperty. But first we should give that a value, as up until now we have only registered it. Let s do that now:
1. Switch to MainPage.xaml and select your UC_GreenButton control. 2. In the Miscellaneous bucket of the Properties panel, you should now see the
GreenButtonsText field (see Figure 11-35). Pretty neat how Blend picked that up, isn t it
Figure 11-35. Blend now has a field for our new DependencyProperty.
3. Click in that field, type Click Here, and press Enter.
Now that our DependencyProperty has a value of Click Here, we can Data Bind the Text property of the MainText TextBlock. Let s do that now!
4. Switch to UC_GreenButton.xaml in Blend and select the MainText TextBlock. 5. In the Common Properties bucket of the Properties panel, click the Advanced Options
button, as I am doing in Figure 11-36.
Figure 11-36. Click the Advanced Options button for the TextBlock.
6. Click Data Binding, as I am doing in Figure 11-37.
STYLES, CONTROL TEMPLATES, AND CUSTOM USERCONTROLS
Figure 11-37. Click Data Binding in the Advanced Options menu.
7. When the Create Data Binding dialog box appears
a. b. c. d. Select the Element Property tab. In the Scene elements box select userControl. In the Properties box select GreenButtonsText. Click the OK button (see Figure 11-38).
Figure 11-38. Data Binding to the UserControls GreenButtonsText DependencyProperty.
8. Press Control+Shift+B to rebuild again, switch back to MainPage.xaml, and notice how your
UC_GreenButton changes to read Click Here ! See Figure 11-39.
Figure 11-39. Our UC_GreenButton now shows the correct text in Blend. You have successfully created your first custom UserControl, complete with a new DependencyProperty that allows you to specify right in Blend s Properties panel the text that the UserControl will display. My project: http://www.windowspresentationfoundation.com/Blend4Book/ControlTemplateProject. zip
For some additional information on Data Binding, watch my free Silverlight video tutorial called Working with Data in Blend : http://www.windowspresentationfoundation.com/ p=56
STYLES, CONTROL TEMPLATES, AND CUSTOM USERCONTROLS
For information on how to use Template Binding, watch my video tutorial on that here: http://windowspresentationfoundation.com/Tutorials/TempBinding/Default.html
Summary
In this chapter, you learned about Styles and how they work with ControlTemplates. You also learned that you can overwrite the default Styles provided by Silverlight controls, such as ListBoxes using Styles. You then learned how easy it is to apply Resources to controls in Silverlight, as well as the value of keeping your Resources, such as Styles, in a Resource Dictionary. You learned how to create your very own Silverlight custom UserControl complete with mouse States. You then learned about DependencyProperties and even how to register and make use of your own custom DependencyProperty, which then becomes an additional property of the object, just like built-in properties such as Background, Width, and Height. Thus far, we have been using only built-in Silverlight panels such as StackPanel, Grid, and Canvas. Each of these panels lays out its children in a different way. What if none of these panels meets our requirements In that case, we would need a custom panel. In the next chapter, I show you how to build just such a custom Silverlight panel.
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12
Writing a Custom Content Panel
What this chapter covers:
How to write a custom Silverlight panel
Recently I was tasked with creating an image viewer that held thumbnails of lots of images. The problem was that I had to at least partially show all the thumbnail images that were all held in an ObservableCollection. Further, because the images were held in an ObservableCollection of data, I could never know how many images would be in the collection at any one time. For this reason, it was an obvious choice to put the thumbnails into a StackPanel and let the StackPanel arrange its children. The catch with this is that a StackPanel can only arrange its children vertically or horizontally, and with a lot of thumbnail images that would just take up too much space. So, I decided to arrange the thumbnails in Z space (one on top of the other) rather than in X or Y space (arranged left/right or top/bottom). The problem is that no panel currently exists in Silverlight that can arrange its children in Z space. So, my final answer was to create a brand new Silverlight panel that does, in fact, arrange its children in Z space, as the following illustration shows. Notice how each image is slightly off-center and rotated, as if dropped onto a surface. That is what I am going to show you how to do in this chapter.
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