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A developer asked me this question and while a simple answer, I thought it would be a good quick tip to share for those who may be in similar situations.

The scenario is the classic master-details scenario where perhaps you have a grid of data and when a user selects the row, the details are enabled in a form (or perhaps the child of the element) for editing.  Maybe something like this:

Master-details Typical view

See you can see the row clearly selected (note: this is using the default DataGrid styling).  But watch what happens when you go to the form to edit:

Focus change on selected row

Notice the focus now on the TextBox in the form, and the row, while still ‘selected’ is much more subtle in which row is selected.  The uninformed eye might miss which one.  For some scenarios this might be important.  Some might even think the row isn’t selected anymore since the visual state changed.

In fact it still *IS* selected and the only thing that changed *IS* the visual state…literally.  Since Silverlight has the concept of the VisualStateManager, that is what we are seeing in action here.  So you want to change that to make your desired UI as expected…having the row retain it’s selected look even when the user is editing.  This is simple.

Using Expression Blend, you can select the DataGrid element and then choose Edit Additional Templates to find the RowStyle template to edit a copy of:

Expression Blend edit template

Once you have this, click the States tab in the tool and you’ll see the various visual states that a DataGridRow can have.  Notice the NormalSelected and UnfocusedSelected states:

Visual States for DataGridRow

You would modify the Fill.Color property of the UnfocusedSelected state to accomplish the desired change.  In this example, I just used the same color as the default grid for illustration.  The end result is what the user may be expecting more.  Notice the focus is on the TextBox in the form still, but the row still has a prominent selected color view:

Fixed focus visual UI

A simple edit, but a helpful UI change to give your users more indication of what they are doing.  Of course I’m just using the default styles of the DataGrid here, but you could use your own styles as well.  Hope this helps!

Here is my style XAML as I completed the task above: StaySelectedStyle.txt


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At PDC the WPF Tookit was made available which provides several new controls to WPF to help bring even more compatibility to the WPF and Silverlight story.  The new controls were the DatePicker, Calendar, DataGrid and the VisualStateManager concept to WPF.  Ribbon controls were also provided to the WPF Toolkit, but are not covered here.

With the introduction of this toolkit, developers now have a way to get some even more common XAML code-base between projects.

Let’s take a look at a very simple example of both UI and code sharing with WPF and Silverlight.  Here’s the simple scenario.  I’m going to use a common “Customer” class that I want to use in both a WPF and Silverlight implementation.  Since there is no binary compatibility for Silverlight and WPF, I’m going to maintain source-level compatibility.  In order to do this, I’m going to create a Silverlight Class Library project and implement my Customer class in that…here’s my simple customer class:

   1: namespace SilverlightClassLibrary1
   2: {
   3:     public class Customer
   4:     {
   5:         public string FirstName { get; set; }
   6:         public string LastName { get; set; }
   7:         public int CustomerId { get; set; }
   8:         public string CustomerLevel { get; set; }
   9:         public DateTime Birthdate { get; set; }
  10:  
  11:         public static ObservableCollection<Customer> GetCustomerData()
  12:         {
  13:             ObservableCollection<Customer> ppl = new ObservableCollection<Customer>();
  14:  
  15:             ppl.Add(new Customer() { FirstName = "Tim", LastName = "Heuer", CustomerId = 1, CustomerLevel = "Platinum", Birthdate = Convert.ToDateTime("9/18/1965") });
  16:             ppl.Add(new Customer() { FirstName = "Ray", LastName = "Ozzie", CustomerId = 1, CustomerLevel = "Gold", Birthdate = Convert.ToDateTime("1/12/1960") });
  17:             ppl.Add(new Customer() { FirstName = "Bill", LastName = "Gates", CustomerId = 1, CustomerLevel = "Silver", Birthdate = Convert.ToDateTime("12/1/1976") });
  18:             ppl.Add(new Customer() { FirstName = "Bart", LastName = "Simpson", CustomerId = 1, CustomerLevel = "Tin", Birthdate = Convert.ToDateTime("7/4/1985") });
  19:  
  20:             return ppl;
  21:         }
  22:     }
  23: }

Now in my Silverlight project and my WPF application I add a linked file to that class library for customer.  While not binary compat, each time I compile I’m using a common source compat for both projects.  Here’s what my project structure looks like and you can see the linked source code:

Now in my WPF project I want to add some XAML, so I’ll add this to my Window1.xaml:

   1: <Window x:Class="WpfSampler.Window1"
   2:     xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/winfx/2006/xaml/presentation"
   3:     xmlns:x="http://schemas.microsoft.com/winfx/2006/xaml"
   4:     xmlns:controls="clr-namespace:Microsoft.Windows.Controls;assembly=WPFToolkit"
   5:     Title="Window1" Height="600" Width="600">
   6:     <Grid>
   7:         <StackPanel Orientation="Vertical" Margin="15">
   8:             <TextBlock Text="Your Birthdate" />
   9:             <controls:DatePicker x:Name="MyBirthdate" Text="9/18/1965" />
  10:             <controls:DataGrid Height="400" x:Name="CustomerList"/>
  11:         </StackPanel>
  12:     </Grid>
  13: </Window>

Here’s the backing source code logic for the simple windows app:

   1: namespace WpfSampler
   2: {
   3:     /// <summary>
   4:     /// Interaction logic for Window1.xaml
   5:     /// </summary>
   6:     public partial class Window1 : Window
   7:     {
   8:         public Window1()
   9:         {
  10:             InitializeComponent();
  11:             Loaded += new RoutedEventHandler(Window1_Loaded);
  12:         }
  13:  
  14:         void Window1_Loaded(object sender, RoutedEventArgs e)
  15:         {
  16:             CustomerList.ItemsSource = SilverlightClassLibrary1.Customer.GetCustomerData();
  17:         }
  18:     }
  19: }

Now in my Silverlight project I’m going to paste the same XAML:

   1: <UserControl x:Class="SilverlightWpfReuse.Page"
   2:     xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/winfx/2006/xaml/presentation" 
   3:     xmlns:x="http://schemas.microsoft.com/winfx/2006/xaml" 
   4:     xmlns:controls="clr-namespace:System.Windows.Controls;assembly=System.Windows.Controls"
   5:     xmlns:data="clr-namespace:System.Windows.Controls;assembly=System.Windows.Controls.Data"
   6:     Width="600" Height="600">
   7:     <Grid x:Name="LayoutRoot" Background="White">
   8:         <StackPanel Orientation="Vertical" Margin="15">
   9:             <TextBlock Text="Your Birthdate" />
  10:             <controls:DatePicker x:Name="MyBirthdate" Text="9/18/1965" />
  11:             <data:DataGrid Height="400" x:Name="CustomerList"/>
  12:         </StackPanel>
  13:     </Grid>
  14: </UserControl>

and here’s the Silverlight source code logic as well:

   1: namespace SilverlightWpfReuse
   2: {
   3:     public partial class Page : UserControl
   4:     {
   5:         public Page()
   6:         {
   7:             InitializeComponent();
   8:             Loaded += new RoutedEventHandler(Page_Loaded);
   9:         }
  10:  
  11:         void Page_Loaded(object sender, RoutedEventArgs e)
  12:         {
  13:             CustomerList.ItemsSource = SilverlightClassLibrary1.Customer.GetCustomerData();
  14:         }
  15:     }
  16: }

So if you have a keen eye you’ll see it’s not full cut/paste as you note the xmlns declarations in the root control.  Since the implementations are in two different assemblies (System.Windows.Controls.dll for Silverlight and Microsoft.Windows.Controls.dll for WPF Toolkit) we have to make sure they are referenced accordingly.  We can still use the same prefix though of “controls” so that we have greater re-use across our XAML.  For DataGrid, we need to do an additional step since for Silverlight it is on its own assembly.

If we run these applications here is what we get:

WPF Application:

Silverlight application:

Sure we had to do some maneuvering (xmlns stuff) but if you have some great XAML/code you can still get some good re-use out of those implementations with little effort and share code!

So what about VisualStateManager?  How do you use that in WPF if you already have something in Silverlight?  Let’s simplify it to the most common/basic control – Button.  Using Blend we’ve styled a simple Button control and Blend has generated the appropriate VSM resources for us (note that I am not a designer and just used Blend to quickly make 2 changes that probably look horrible :-):

   1: <Style x:Key="StyledButton" TargetType="Button">
   2:             <Setter Property="Background" Value="#FF1F3B53"/>
   3:             <Setter Property="Foreground" Value="#FF000000"/>
   4:             <Setter Property="Padding" Value="3"/>
   5:             <Setter Property="BorderThickness" Value="1"/>
   6:             <Setter Property="BorderBrush">
   7:                 <Setter.Value>
   8:                     <LinearGradientBrush EndPoint="0.5,1" StartPoint="0.5,0">
   9:                         <GradientStop Color="#FFA3AEB9" Offset="0"/>
  10:                         <GradientStop Color="#FF8399A9" Offset="0.375"/>
  11:                         <GradientStop Color="#FF718597" Offset="0.375"/>
  12:                         <GradientStop Color="#FF617584" Offset="1"/>
  13:                     </LinearGradientBrush>
  14:                 </Setter.Value>
  15:             </Setter>
  16:             <Setter Property="Template">
  17:                 <Setter.Value>
  18:                     <ControlTemplate TargetType="Button">
  19:                         <Grid>
  20:                             <vsm:VisualStateManager.VisualStateGroups>
  21:                                 <vsm:VisualStateGroup x:Name="CommonStates">
  22:                                     <vsm:VisualState x:Name="Normal"/>
  23:                                     <vsm:VisualState x:Name="MouseOver">
  24:                                         <Storyboard>
  25:                                             <DoubleAnimationUsingKeyFrames Storyboard.TargetName="BackgroundAnimation" Storyboard.TargetProperty="Opacity">
  26:                                                 <SplineDoubleKeyFrame KeyTime="0" Value="1"/>
  27:                                             </DoubleAnimationUsingKeyFrames>
  28:                                             <ColorAnimationUsingKeyFrames Storyboard.TargetName="BackgroundGradient" Storyboard.TargetProperty="(Rectangle.Fill).(GradientBrush.GradientStops)[1].(GradientStop.Color)">
  29:                                                 <SplineColorKeyFrame KeyTime="0" Value="#F2FFFFFF"/>
  30:                                             </ColorAnimationUsingKeyFrames>
  31:                                             <ColorAnimationUsingKeyFrames Storyboard.TargetName="BackgroundGradient" Storyboard.TargetProperty="(Rectangle.Fill).(GradientBrush.GradientStops)[2].(GradientStop.Color)">
  32:                                                 <SplineColorKeyFrame KeyTime="0" Value="#CCFFFFFF"/>
  33:                                             </ColorAnimationUsingKeyFrames>
  34:                                             <ColorAnimationUsingKeyFrames Storyboard.TargetName="BackgroundGradient" Storyboard.TargetProperty="(Rectangle.Fill).(GradientBrush.GradientStops)[3].(GradientStop.Color)">
  35:                                                 <SplineColorKeyFrame KeyTime="0" Value="#7FE61212"/>
  36:                                             </ColorAnimationUsingKeyFrames>
  37:                                             <ColorAnimationUsingKeyFrames BeginTime="00:00:00" Duration="00:00:00.0010000" Storyboard.TargetName="Background" Storyboard.TargetProperty="(Border.Background).(SolidColorBrush.Color)">
  38:                                                 <SplineColorKeyFrame KeyTime="00:00:00" Value="#FFEE4B4B"/>
  39:                                             </ColorAnimationUsingKeyFrames>
  40:                                         </Storyboard>
  41:                                     </vsm:VisualState>
  42:                                     <vsm:VisualState x:Name="Pressed">
  43:                                         <Storyboard>
  44:                                             <ColorAnimationUsingKeyFrames Storyboard.TargetName="Background" Storyboard.TargetProperty="(Border.Background).(SolidColorBrush.Color)">
  45:                                                 <SplineColorKeyFrame KeyTime="0" Value="#FFF40B0B"/>
  46:                                             </ColorAnimationUsingKeyFrames>
  47:                                             <DoubleAnimationUsingKeyFrames Storyboard.TargetName="BackgroundAnimation" Storyboard.TargetProperty="Opacity">
  48:                                                 <SplineDoubleKeyFrame KeyTime="0" Value="1"/>
  49:                                             </DoubleAnimationUsingKeyFrames>
  50:                                             <ColorAnimationUsingKeyFrames Storyboard.TargetName="BackgroundGradient" Storyboard.TargetProperty="(Rectangle.Fill).(GradientBrush.GradientStops)[0].(GradientStop.Color)">
  51:                                                 <SplineColorKeyFrame KeyTime="0" Value="#D8FFFFFF"/>
  52:                                             </ColorAnimationUsingKeyFrames>
  53:                                             <ColorAnimationUsingKeyFrames Storyboard.TargetName="BackgroundGradient" Storyboard.TargetProperty="(Rectangle.Fill).(GradientBrush.GradientStops)[1].(GradientStop.Color)">
  54:                                                 <SplineColorKeyFrame KeyTime="0" Value="#C6FFFFFF"/>
  55:                                             </ColorAnimationUsingKeyFrames>
  56:                                             <ColorAnimationUsingKeyFrames Storyboard.TargetName="BackgroundGradient" Storyboard.TargetProperty="(Rectangle.Fill).(GradientBrush.GradientStops)[2].(GradientStop.Color)">
  57:                                                 <SplineColorKeyFrame KeyTime="0" Value="#8CFFFFFF"/>
  58:                                             </ColorAnimationUsingKeyFrames>
  59:                                             <ColorAnimationUsingKeyFrames Storyboard.TargetName="BackgroundGradient" Storyboard.TargetProperty="(Rectangle.Fill).(GradientBrush.GradientStops)[3].(GradientStop.Color)">
  60:                                                 <SplineColorKeyFrame KeyTime="0" Value="#3FFFFFFF"/>
  61:                                             </ColorAnimationUsingKeyFrames>
  62:                                         </Storyboard>
  63:                                     </vsm:VisualState>
  64:                                     <vsm:VisualState x:Name="Disabled">
  65:                                         <Storyboard>
  66:                                             <DoubleAnimationUsingKeyFrames Storyboard.TargetName="DisabledVisualElement" Storyboard.TargetProperty="Opacity">
  67:                                                 <SplineDoubleKeyFrame KeyTime="0" Value=".55"/>
  68:                                             </DoubleAnimationUsingKeyFrames>
  69:                                         </Storyboard>
  70:                                     </vsm:VisualState>
  71:                                 </vsm:VisualStateGroup>
  72:                                 <vsm:VisualStateGroup x:Name="FocusStates">
  73:                                     <vsm:VisualState x:Name="Focused">
  74:                                         <Storyboard>
  75:                                             <DoubleAnimationUsingKeyFrames Storyboard.TargetName="FocusVisualElement" Storyboard.TargetProperty="Opacity">
  76:                                                 <SplineDoubleKeyFrame KeyTime="0" Value="1"/>
  77:                                             </DoubleAnimationUsingKeyFrames>
  78:                                         </Storyboard>
  79:                                     </vsm:VisualState>
  80:                                     <vsm:VisualState x:Name="Unfocused"/>
  81:                                 </vsm:VisualStateGroup>
  82:                             </vsm:VisualStateManager.VisualStateGroups>
  83:                             <Border x:Name="Background" Background="White" BorderBrush="{TemplateBinding BorderBrush}" BorderThickness="{TemplateBinding BorderThickness}" CornerRadius="3">
  84:                                 <Grid Margin="1" Background="{TemplateBinding Background}">
  85:                                     <Border x:Name="BackgroundAnimation" Opacity="0" Background="#FF448DCA"/>
  86:                                     <Rectangle x:Name="BackgroundGradient">
  87:                                         <Rectangle.Fill>
  88:                                             <LinearGradientBrush EndPoint=".7,1" StartPoint=".7,0">
  89:                                                 <GradientStop Color="#FFFFFFFF" Offset="0"/>
  90:                                                 <GradientStop Color="#F9FFFFFF" Offset="0.375"/>
  91:                                                 <GradientStop Color="#E5FFFFFF" Offset="0.625"/>
  92:                                                 <GradientStop Color="#C6FFFFFF" Offset="1"/>
  93:                                             </LinearGradientBrush>
  94:                                         </Rectangle.Fill>
  95:                                     </Rectangle>
  96:                                 </Grid>
  97:                             </Border>
  98:                             <ContentPresenter HorizontalAlignment="{TemplateBinding HorizontalContentAlignment}" Margin="{TemplateBinding Padding}" x:Name="contentPresenter" VerticalAlignment="{TemplateBinding VerticalContentAlignment}" Content="{TemplateBinding Content}" ContentTemplate="{TemplateBinding ContentTemplate}"/>
  99:                             <Rectangle x:Name="DisabledVisualElement" IsHitTestVisible="false" Opacity="0" Fill="#FFFFFFFF" RadiusX="3" RadiusY="3"/>
 100:                             <Rectangle Margin="1" x:Name="FocusVisualElement" IsHitTestVisible="false" Opacity="0" Stroke="#FF6DBDD1" StrokeThickness="1" RadiusX="2" RadiusY="2"/>
 101:                         </Grid>
 102:                     </ControlTemplate>
 103:                 </Setter.Value>
 104:             </Setter>
 105:         </Style>

There is nothing more we have to do in Silverlight since VSM is a part of the core.  We just annotate our Button with the style:

   1: <Button Content="Styled Button" Style="{StaticResource StyledButton}" />

Now in WPF we can use those same resources by adding them to our Grid.Resources node in our Window1.xaml file.  The thing is that we don’t need the vsm: prefix.  A simple find/replace removes them and we have our style button.  The resulting full XAML for the style looks the exact same (minus any vsm: prefix) and the XAML for the button also looks the same.

I think there has to be a better way to use linked files here as well, so I’ll think about that and report back if I find one.  I know this is a very simple demonstration of only a bit beyond Hello World, but I hope at least it gets you thinking of how you can get source-level compatibility and some XAML re-use out of your Silverlight and WPF applications. 

What are your thoughts?  Have you found better ways?  What are the stumbling blocks you are facing in code sharing?

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We just put up 4 new hands-on labs for Silverlight 2.  These labs are based around some of the training that partners and early adopters had received over the past few months.  A guided lab document and source code (before/after) is provided.

The 4 labs include building a web application based around a travel site.

    • Building the UI: using different layout with Grids, StackPanels, etc.
    • Styling the UI: use styles, templates and VisualStateManager…work with default templates in Expression Blend
    • Binding Data
    • Browser Integration

Be sure to check them out on silverlight.net!

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I’ve just finished updating my modification of Joel’s original concept.  Joel had a really great base for me to build off of and used styling and templates to create simple controls for a standard Silverlight media player that could be embedded.  I took his sample and made some minor adjustments to accommodate automatic sizing as well as make it a bit more parameter-driven.  The end result was (what I think at least) a fairly nice player that could be flexible if needed:

Joel made great use of styling primitive controls to be able to leverage core functionality rather than building it all himself.  One of those controls used was the ToggleButton (the play/pause feature) which makes sense for the implementation.  In the beta 1 version of styling we were able to use different styles for MouseOver states for checked/unchecked features.  A snippet of the styling XAML looked like this:

<Storyboard x:Key="MouseOver Unchecked State">
    <DoubleAnimation Duration="0:0:0.1" Storyboard.TargetName="playSymbol" 
Storyboard.TargetProperty="Opacity" To="1" /> <DoubleAnimation Duration="0:0:0.1" Storyboard.TargetName="pauseSymbol"
Storyboard.TargetProperty="Opacity" To="0" /> </Storyboard>

This worked fine in beta 1.  Beta 2 introduces the VisualStateManager model which is an exciting new feature for developers and designers.  Opening the video player project in the latest tools had some things blow up for us…no problem, let’s make use of VSM to change the styling implementation.

One problem…the ToggleButton no longer supports MouseOver states specifically for Checked/Unchecked as we’ve implemented in the video player.  My first thought (and a few emails to the team) was to inherit from the ToggleButton and do my own implementation, adding those states into the control.  I was able to do this by creating a new class file in my Silverlight project, then inheriting from ToggleButton and a few overrides.  I first wanted to support VSM so I added the appropriate TemplateParts to my class:

[TemplateVisualState(Name = "CheckedMouseOver", GroupName = "CheckStates"), 
TemplateVisualState(Name = "CheckedMouseOut", GroupName = "CheckStates"), TemplateVisualState(Name = "UncheckedMouseOver", GroupName = "CheckStates"),
TemplateVisualState(Name = "UncheckedMouseOut", GroupName = "CheckStates")] public class ToggleButtonEnhanced : ToggleButton {

This worked fine and they showed up in Blend designers as well for me to implement.  I then chose to override the MouseEnter/Leave events and did something quick like this:

protected override void OnMouseEnter(MouseEventArgs e)
{
    base.OnMouseEnter(e);
    if (base.IsEnabled)
    {
        if ((bool)base.IsChecked)
        {
            VisualStateManager.GoToState(this, "CheckedMouseOver", true);
        }
        else if ((bool)!base.IsChecked)
        {
            VisualStateManager.GoToState(this, "UncheckedMouseOver", true);
        }
    }
}

Fair enough right?  Well it appeared to be working.  The problem was that ToggleButton maintained a Normal state that was conflicting with certain scenarios I had in my implementation.  You see the base.OnMouseEnter() was essentially the rathole here.  Some spelunking showed that when a state changed it actualy went from the desired state, then back to ‘Normal’ – for example the Pressed action wend: MouseOver,Pressed,Normal.  The final transition was causing my problem.

Now I was looking at overriding the OnApplyTemplate method and thus virtually having to re-implement all the other state transitions as well.  Now I’m no longer really getting a huge benefit out of my inheritance.  So I went back to some experts for some advice.  Dave gave me some pointers and we chatted about the implementation and desired outcomes.  Dave’s much smarter than me on VSM, well, because he had to implement it :-).  For my particular scenario he pointed out that I really had only one property that was changing in the MouseEnter/Leave events: Opacity.  So why not just change Opacity for the Grid container rather than worry about the elements.  Duh.

So now I no longer needed my custom ToggleButton, but could use the primitive ToggleButton to do my dirty work.  I implemented the MouseOver, Checked, and Unchecked states is all I really needed to manage my transitions.  A few learnings about some things I was doing wrong and boom, the new player works as expected.

I learned a few things in this quick journey through VSMville, and one was that it was pretty easy to implement a custom control to support the VisualStateManager model as well.  I think I’ll be digging into this one deeper soon.

Hope this helps someone!  Here’s the code for the updated Video Player.  While the ToggleButtonEnhanced is not used in the final implementation, I kept it in the code file so you could see what path I started along.

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One of the things I love about the Microsoft developer ecosystem is the partner channels that are enabled to create great add-ons to our platforms and frameworks.  Our partners in this space usually get to the better implementations before we do, taking on the task of filling some gaps in unique implementations while our teams can focus on providing the best framework for enabling that construction.

In December of last year, Telerik showed their intentions of making a control suite for Silverlight (then v1.1).  Well now that beta 2 is released for Silverlight 2, they’ve updated their RadControls for Silverlight 2 suite and have now provided a downloadable CTP of the suite.

Their controls implement support for DataBinding, the new VisualStateManager model, Templates/Styles, etc.  Some of the controls they are providing are some that you may find interesting or enhance the existing control suite from the Silverlight core:

    • Menu
    • TreeView
    • Upload
    • RadCube
    • RadNumericUpDn
    • RadProgressBar
    • Animation framework

One of their key features is they’ve decided to make these source code compatible with WPF.  The full WPF are not yet available.  You can download the CTP for free right now on their site and view some sample implementations on their sample site.

Telerik is widely known for providing great products and this is really great to see them provide controls for Silverlight that are also compatible with WPF.  I’m excited to see this control suite evolve to release state and perhaps more from the Silverlight team at Telerik!