Creating Windows Forms Controls in .NET

Creation QR Code in .NET Creating Windows Forms Controls

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Creating Windows Forms Controls
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Before You Begin
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To complete the lessons in this chapter, you must have:
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A computer that meets or exceeds the minimum hardware requirements listed in the Introduction at the beginning of the book. Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Professional Edition installed on your computer. An understanding of Microsoft Visual Basic or C# syntax and familiarity with the .NET Framework. Completed 3, Advanced Windows Forms Controls, or have a good understanding of Windows Forms controls and the Visual Studio IDE.
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Real World
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Matt Stoecker Although the controls provided in Visual Studio 2005 cover a wide range of functionality, I find that by developing my own controls when necessary, I can create user interfaces that conform to my requirements rather than trying to bend my requirements to fit the available functionality. With custom controls, I can create exactly what I need for my user interface design.
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Lesson 1: Creating Composite Controls
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Lesson 1: Creating Composite Controls
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Composite controls are the simplest form of user-created controls. The composite con trol designer includes a graphical interface similar to a form that allows you to add preexisting controls and components, which are then bound together in a single func tional unit. In this lesson, you will learn how to create a composite control as well as some general methods for control development.
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After this lesson, you will be able to:
Develop a user (composite) Windows Forms control. Create properties, methods, and events for Windows Forms controls. Expose properties of constituent controls. Configure a control to be invisible at run time. Configure a control to have a transparent background. Provide a Toolbox Bitmap for a control.
Estimated lesson time: 45 minutes
Introduction to Composite Controls
Composite controls (also known as user controls) are just as they sound: controls that are made up of other controls. Composite controls inherit from the UserControl class. The UserControl class provides a base level of functionality that you can build on by adding other controls as well as additional properties, methods, and events. The UserControl class has its own designer that allows you to use the Visual Studio Integrated Design Environment to drag additional controls from the Toolbox to the design sur face and configure them. The UserControl designer is shown in Figure 14-1.
Figure 14-1 The UserControl designer
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Creating Windows Forms Controls
To add a composite control to a solution at design time
1. From the Project menu, choose Add User Control. The Add New Item dialog box opens. 2. Name your control and click Add. The new control is added to the project and opened for editing in the designer. You can create a composite control in code by inheriting from the UserControl class, as shown here:
' VB Public Class myControl
Inherits UserControl
' Add implementation here
End Class // C# public class myControl : UserControl {
// Add implementation here
The subordinate controls that make up the composite control are called constituent controls. You can add constituent controls to your composite control in the same way that you would add a control to a form by dragging it onto the design surface from the Toolbox. You can configure these constituent controls in the same way that you would configure them in a form you can set properties, alter the visual appearance, and create methods that handle control events. When the composite control is built, the functionality that you have coded will be built into the composite control.
Adding Methods, Properties, and Events to Controls
In addition to adding constituent controls, you can also add additional functionality to your control in the form of methods, properties, and events.
NOTE
Classes, controls, and composite controls
The information in this section can be applied to classes and controls of all types, not just to com posite controls.
Adding Methods to a Control
You can add a method to a control in the same way that you would add a method to a form or to any other class. Within the bounds of the class declaration in the Code window, add the method declaration and the method body. For a method that does not return a value, create a Sub (Visual Basic) or a void (C#) method, as shown here:
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