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Silverlight controls library has been upgraded to Beta 2

Finally this weekend I got  a time to upgrade one of my OpenUp submissions, Silverlight controls library to work with Silverlight 2.0 beta 2. It was very interesting to track changes between developer’s (beta 1) and production (beta 2) go-live licenses. Let’s try to understand what has need changed.

  1. Syntax of DependencyProperty registration. Now instead of DependencyProperty.Register(name, propertyType,ownerType,propertyChangedCallback) you should use DependencyProperty.Register(name, propertyType,ownerType,typeMetadata), which, actually receives only one parameter in constructor – propertyChangedCallback. This make Silverlight to be closer to WPF syntax and open it for future enhancements. You can download updated Visual Studio 2008 snippet for creation of Silverlight Dependency Properties.
  2. OnApplyTemplate method of UserControl become public instead of protected
  3. Thumb DragDelta event argument is not DragEventArg anymore. Now it’s DragDeltaEventArgs. So there is no HorizontalOffset and VerticalOffset attributes. They replaced by HorizontalChange and VerticalChange
  4. DefaultStyleKey is not null anymore
  5. Most of controls migrated from System.Windows.Controls into System.Windows namespace
  6. Some changed to ToolTip service
  7. Now Silverlight checks whether TargetType property of Style is really compatible with the control, you’re applying style to (this not happened in beta 1). Also DependencyObject.SetValue() method checks it’s type.
  8. There is no InitializeFromXaml anymore. Now Silverlight works more “WPF style” with application services – Application.LoadComponent()
  9. You cannot use x:Name and Name property together (someone did it?)

There are a ton of other changed, that was not related to Silverlight Control Library. For example, changed within Storyboard class, networking, cross-domain policy, other controls (e.g. DataGrid), Templates of some controls (e.g. Button, TextBox, etc) and API.

Also I want to invite you to take part into development of Silverlight controls library not because of complimentary ticket to PDC ‘08 or Mobile Memory Mouse 8000, but because Open Source is not “one-men-show”. To get access to SVN, submit your work and begin development of next generation of Silverlight controls, contact me via CodePlex and I’ll add you to the project as new contributor.

Action required: Smart client users group

Recently I browsed INETA to seek for some group and was really surprising. There is no Smart Client user group registered there. Maybe there is a reason? Let’s understand what Smart Client is?

According wikipedia, the term “Smart Client” is meant to refer to simultaneously capturing the benefits of a “thin client” (zero-install, auto-update) and a “fat client” (high performance, high productivity). However, I think, that this term is much wider. It is not only thin-fat client application, it’s also most of applications we’re using today.


Thick Client

We always want to provide our users with best experience and increase their performance. However we are (as developers) want to avoid complicated development and deployment. This why we should know as much as possible about user’s system, when users do not want to have real footprint in their systems. That’s dilemma. Is it possible to solve it? Let’s look deeper…

Are we really need installation? Most of old software installations put things in registry. It because you were never sure what client has in his system and were our application can put files or temporary data. Today, when we have local application or user isolated storage, so we not really need to use registry. Maybe only for our own ego – this is cool to have something like “HKLM/Software/MYNAME” in 1,000,000 user’s computers…

No installation is good, but what to me with maintenance. We want our system connected…

Thin Client

Could you imagine your user to visit product site twice a week to see what’s going on? I can not. However I know, that if I’ll ask him first about automatic updates and he’ll agree to forget about application maintenance, his experience will be much better.

So,we are connected. What now? I want to make time reporting system. Web service? Maybe some kind of distributed application. Maybe, even Twitter? This way we can be sure, that our data is safe and if user reinstall whole system, he do not really need to care about backups.

But users not always have internet access. Sometimes they are offline. How to solve the problem of occasionally connected users? I do not want him every lunch want for two minutes, until I realize, that there is no internet connection and will not even give him a chance to use the application?


So, we also want our system to be useful offline. But what’s up with Web 10.0? We want millions. We want very broad reach for our application. Also we want to be able to manage application updates remotely?

Let’s take a look into other pan of application development. Do you like JavaScript? I do not! I think it’s too complicated to develop things for web. We should invest into at least 50% of coverage and integration tests, while giving customers pretty poor user experience. What is we want to provide the same look and feel everywhere? In web, desktop, mobile and other devices? Our customers want the application everywhere?


This is exactly what Smart client designed for. Technologies such as .NET, WPF, Silverlight from Microsoft, Flex, Thermo from Adobe and others tries to make you to be there with your application. But how to do it? How to answer all those hard questions, I asked?

I want to announce new (currently virtual) user group, dedicated to Smart Client development. I do not want to restrict this group geographically, due to fact, that current infrastructures allows us to forget about distances and be together. Join today “Smart Client development” user group.

In order to join, just send me an email to tamir [at] with information about you. I put the request to create this user group in INETA. Once it will be opened, I’ll send everyone email to register and connect them selves to this group.

Be in touch.

What’s new in MSDN Downloads?

Just look how many new releases those days in MSDN Download web site.

Too much – too cool. Turn your download managers on


Have a nice day

XNA Game Studio 3.0 CTP is now available!

Do you want to build XNA games for Zune? Do you want to do in from Visual Studio 2008, rather, then from Visual Studio 2005? Download new technology preview of XNA Game Studio. Currently you cannot build games for XBox with XNA GS 3.0 – only for Zune and PC? What does it mean? Actually nothing, but worth a try. Also, you can see in my blog what you can do with it.

Where to get it? From XNA Creators Club online. For more information, visit XNA team blog.

How to make Silverlight be AiR?

Today we’ll speak about three issues

  1. How to make Silverlight application to run as stand alone application and how to insert this application inside your application?
  2. How to escape Silverlight from it’s sand box (how to make it run in full trust mode)
  3. When first two items done, how to make Silverlight to access anyfile in your file system?

Looks scary? Let’s see first reasons for those “hackery” targets. The main reason is to make Silverlight Air (you, probably understand what I’m speaking about :)). Why? When I want to build Silverlight Image Upload control. The one similar to those Yahoo, Facebook and many others have. With live preview, editing (before uploading), drag and drop, etc. Yes, I do not want ugly File Open dialog from Silverlight. I want it sexy, yet functional! To do this, we have to make Silverlight be able to access filesystem. Of cause I want to ask user to authorize me first, then I can get an access.


The other reason is to incorporate Silverlight control inside WinForms application. Why? There are some reasons – “light weigh stuff”, maybe :). Maybe banner ads inside desktop application. It’s just cool :). Well, there are some other more serious reasons. So let’s start.

First task – to make it run as stand alone application.

Well, this one is easy. All you have to do is to have WebBrowser control with Silverlight content inside it in your application. So,

WebBrowser wb = new WebBrowser();
wb.Parent = panel1;
wb.Dock = DockStyle.Fill;
wb.Url = new Uri("");

We done. But we’re in desktop, thus I want it full trust… This is most interesting part of today’s post.

Second task – to make it run in User Full Trust mode.

First try – to incorporate Silverlight’s OCX (ActiveX) control. Add npctrl.dll from [Program Files]\Microsoft Silverlight\[Version] – this is ActiveX and Visual Studio will create wrapper with AxHost. This one is cool, but it wont work. why? As you, probably, know Silverlight connected to it’s web page host DOM when we’re using it as stand alone player it cannot find it’s document, thus initialization failed. So what to do? What can provide me DOM from one side and run in full trust from the other side. Someone remember what HTA is (it is not mobile device, it’s very beginning of RIA era). HTML applications were run by very special host, named mshta.exe it’s in [Windows]\System32 folder and it’s still there. Everything running inside MSHTA will run by default in full trust mode. From one hand it’s regular IE, (do we have DOM), from other hand it’s make us able to run full trust internet application. Let’s use it (from code)

ProcessStartInfo mshta = new ProcessStartInfo("mshta", "");
Process p = Process.Start(mshta);

Now we have strange window, running our Silverlight application. What’s next? Incorporate it inside our application. What’s the problem p (my process).MainWindowHandle and then SetParent for to the control I want. Well, it does not work. MSHTA has no (publicly) main window. So, we’ll find it and then change it’s parent. His class named “HTML Application Host Window Class”.

ProcessStartInfo mshta = new ProcessStartInfo("mshta", "");
Process p = Process.Start(mshta);
ptr = FindWindow("HTML Application Host Window Class", null);

SetParent(ptr, panel1.Handle);
SendMessage(ptr, WM_SYSCOMMAND, SC_MAXIMIZE, 0);


Yu-hoo. We hosted Silverlight page inside our application. It’s full trust so, we can access file system. But wait… Silverlight is not designed to have an access to the file system. The only space it can see is isolated storage, thus it has no classes for listing files anywhere. what to do?

Third task – to make it access user’s file system

We need another ActiveX to run from Javascript (or C# code) that knows to access to file system. Our hosting document can initialize it and then expose relevant methods to Silverlight. What’s such class? Let’s back to gold era of unsafe computing – we have Scripting.FileSystemObject there. This class is very dangerous it can do anything in local file system. Many system administrators using this class to script their evil login scripts (those black quick command line promps, that doing something bad to your system each time you’re logging in in your domain). It know everything about your disks and can be run from full trust environment. So, it’s just exactly what we need. Get all drives in your machine

drivetypes = [ ‘Unknown’, ‘Removable’, ‘Fixed’, ‘Network’, ‘CD-ROM’, ‘RAM Disk’ ],
driveprops = [ ‘DriveLetter’, ‘DriveType’, ‘ShareName’, ‘IsReady’, ‘Path’, ‘RootFolder’, ‘FileSystem’, ‘SerialNumber’, ‘VolumeName’, ‘TotalSize’, ‘AvailableSpace’, ‘FreeSpace’ ];

function getdrives() {
var fso = new ActiveXObject( ‘Scripting.FileSystemObject’ ),
  e = new Enumerator(fso.Drives),
  add = function(i) {
   i = driveprops[i];
   var prop = f[i];
   if( ( prop || prop===0 || prop===false ) && ( i!==’AvailableSpace’ || prop!==free ) ) {
    if( /(Type)$/.test( i ) ) { prop = drivetypes[ prop ]; }
    if( /(Size|Space)$/.test( i ) ) { prop = bykb( prop, true ); }
    s.push( i.toCamelCase() + ‘:\t’ + ( i.length < 8 ? ‘\t’ : ” ) + prop );

Then folders

function getfolder( s ) { s = trim( s ) || ‘C:';
var fso = new ActiveXObject( ‘Scripting.FileSystemObject’ ),
  e, f, i, r = [];
if( fso.FolderExists( s ) ) {
  f = fso.GetFolder( s );
  e = new Enumerator(f.SubFolders);
  for( ; !e.atEnd(); e.moveNext() ) {
   if( ( i = e.item() ) ) { r.push( ‘ ‘ + i ); }
  e = new Enumerator(f.files);
  for( ; !e.atEnd(); e.moveNext() ) {
   if( ( i = e.item() ) ) { r.push( ” + i ); }
return r;

And files at the end

function getfile( form ) {
var fso = new ActiveXObject( ‘Scripting.FileSystemObject’ ),
  forReading = 1, forWriting = 2, forAppending = 8,
  dd = function( o, s ) {
   try {
    s = f[s] + ”;
    o.value = s.replace( /^(\w{3}) (\w+) (\d\d?) ([\d:]+) ([\w+]+) (\d+)$/, ‘$3 $2 $6 $4′ );
   } catch(e) {
    o.value = e.message;

Very cool we have files by using f = fso.GetFile( name ); method, now we can do anything with it. For example get or set attributes f.attributes, or rename f.Name = s, or, even delete it f.Delete(); Isn’t it really evil?

We done. Now you can run Silverlight as full trust desktop application and, even host it wherever you want. Even inside calculator…

ProcessStartInfo calc = new ProcessStartInfo("calc");
using (Process p = Process.Start(calc))
    SetParent(ptr, p.MainWindowHandle);
    SendMessage(ptr, WM_SYSCOMMAND, SC_MAXIMIZE, 0);

Happy programming and be good people.

Quick WPF Tip: How to bind to WPF application resources and settings?

You, probable know, that you can save application resources and settings within handy classes Settings and Properties, provided by Visual Studio code generator. Just put your values, set the usage scope and all you have to do is to save it upon request.


This feature is really useful and great time saver. But how to use it from WPF? Visual Studio do not know to create Dependency Objects for setting and resource… Following the sample of how designer saves setting information

   [global::System.CodeDom.Compiler.GeneratedCodeAttribute("Microsoft.VisualStudio.Editors.SettingsDesigner.SettingsSingleFileGenerator", "")]
   internal sealed partial class Settings : global::System.Configuration.ApplicationSettingsBase {
       private static Settings defaultInstance = ((Settings)(global::System.Configuration.ApplicationSettingsBase.Synchronized(new Settings())));
       public static Settings Default {
           get {
               return defaultInstance;
       public double Left {
           get {
               return ((double)(this["Left"]));
           set {
               this["Left"] = value;

As you can see it creates singleton and publish relevant properties through it, thus you can access the information by using following syntax

UserSettings.Properties.Settings.Default.Left = 10;

But how to create binding for such structure? Simple – this is regular static class. As well as DateTime.Now and so. Also we are not interested to know, whenever this property updated. This means, that following code will do all necessary work.

<Window x:Class="UserSettings.Window1"
    Height="{Binding Source={x:Static p:Settings.Default}, Path=Height, Mode=TwoWay}"
    Width="{Binding Source={x:Static p:Settings.Default}, Path=Width, Mode=TwoWay}"
    Left="{Binding Source={x:Static p:Settings.Default}, Path=Left, Mode=TwoWay}"
    Top="{Binding Source={x:Static p:Settings.Default}, Path=Top, Mode=TwoWay}"

As you see, we just point by using x:Static provider of type UserSettings.Properties.Settings.Default and requesting it’s members. Now all you have to do is to save updated information upon the application exit.

protected override void OnClosing(System.ComponentModel.CancelEventArgs e)

We done. Starting now, user can move and resize WPF window and all information will be saved in Settings class automatically. Next time this user will open the application it will restore it state (position and size) automatically.

Happy coding.

Localization fix for SAP ES Explorer for Visual Studio

A couple of days ago, new great product [PDF] was released by SAP together with Microsoft. It named SAP Enterprise Services Explorer for Microsoft .NET (you can download sneak preview for free). It come to exchange
SAP.NET Connector and enables to use SAP Enterprise Services as regular Web references or WCF services. This product still in beta, however there is already major issue – it does not work in localized version of Visual Studio. Neither 2005 nor 2008. Why this happens? The reason is simple. Visual Studio always asks for localized resources for addins and there is no way to work around it.

From one hand, it’s bad, that such global company as SAP does not want to localize it’s products. From the other hand, there are very few developers, who working with localized versions of development environment. Anyway I started to look into the product to understand what has been done by developers. Oh, my god. They put resources into GAC. How to get them out there?

Actually, GAC is regular windows directory, that exists in %windir%\assembly\GAC\ or %windir%\assembly\GAC_MSIL\. But smart Windows replaces regular Explorer view by customize ActiveX. This does not mean, that you cannot pick files from there. To prove it map GAC folder to another disk. From command line run following command “subst z: %windir%\assembly\GAC_MSIL\“. Now you have your GAC mapped to network virtual drive Z

So, if it is regular directory, you can get files from there and put it into any place you want. But why copy it if we can use hard links?

What’s the hell are “hard links”? Hard links are symbolic links or symlinks, we know from Unix environment. Yes, you ca ln -fs in Windows :) To do it, you should use file system utility, named fsutil. Actually, those only pointers to real files in your file system. So, “fsutil hardlink create <copy> <original>” will do the work.

Now, when we know where to get those files and how to make symbolic links to them, we should know what versions of Visual Studio we have installed and what are languages of those products. To do this, we have to make a small trip into registry and look into HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\DevDic\VS\Servicing. There we will find node 8.0 if VS2005 installed and 9.0 if VS2008 installed. Actually, we can pick all necessary information there. Let’s see. This key build according following pattern: HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\DevDiv\[Product Family]\Servicing\[Product Version]\[Product Edition]\[Product Language]. That’s exactly what we need. But what are possible values?

  • Product family
  • URT – .NET framework
  • VB – Visual Basic Express
  • VC – Visual C++ Express
  • VCS – Visual C# Express
  • VJS – Visual J# Express
  • VNS – Visual Web Developer Express
  • VS – Visual Studio (all versions)
  • VSTF – Visual Studio Team Foundation Services
  • Product version
    • 8 (or 8.0) – 2005
    • 9.0 – 2008
  • Product Edition
    • VSTD – Standard
    • PRO – Professional
    • VSTS – Team System
  • Product Language
    • Integer of Culture identifier (or other words LCID)

    Now, when we know what versions and what languages are installed we should detect where Visual Studio is installed. In this case, we’ll need another registry key “HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\VisualStudio\“. Under this node we’ll find again 8 or 9 and then value “InstallDir”, that, actually, tells us where the current version of Visual Studio is installed.

    Last thing to remember, that Visual Studio looks into it’s root directory (that we detected in previous step) for directory with two letter ISO language code and resources there.

    At this point we know all necessary information in order to work, so we have our program ready. You can, even download and use it :)


    So, after running and clicking “Apply fix” button (if possible – you have SAP ESA Explorer and localized version(s) of Microsoft Visual Studio), we can start using this great product in any available version of Visual Studio. In English of cause)


    Have a nice day and do not forget, that not everyone work with English version of development tools.

    Download Localization fix for SAP ESA Explorer for Visual Studio 2005 and 2008 (no installation needed – just unzip and run) >>

    Some new post-mix downloads

    Today is download day at MSDN. There are some very interesting things published.

    Enough for this morning. Warm up your download machines and start downloading.

    Building custom user control in Silverlight 2.0 + how to build code snippet for VS as bonus

    Do you remember, that we have "go-live" for Silverlight 2.0 and already have build machines configured? Now it’s time to build your very own custom control. Today, we’ll build Range Slider.


    What is range slider? Range slider is a control, that lets you input two values, typically an upper and a lower bound. Normal slider just lets you input one value. So, we have new behavior here, thus we’ll have to build our own control without reusing existing one.

    But, before we’ll start, we’ll build code snippet for Visual Studio, that allows us quickly build Dependency Property. Due to fact, that existing snippets (propdp, etc) do not fit Silverlight DP creation pattern. In Silverlight, we have no DependencyPropertyMetadata, so the registration pattern will be


    Open new XML file, read this and let’s start. First of all, general stuff line who am I, what’s the short string for the snippet, etc.

    <CodeSnippets xmlns="">
      <CodeSnippet Format="1.0.0">
          <Title>Define a DependencyProperty for Silverlight application</Title>
            Code snippet for a property using DependencyProperty as the backing store and a Handler for the DependencyPropertyChanged event
          <Author>Tamir Khason</Author>
            <Literal Editable="true">
              <ToolTip>Property Type</ToolTip>
            <Literal Editable="true">
              <ToolTip>Property Name</ToolTip>
            <Literal Editable="false">
                The owning class of this Property. Typically the class that it is declared in.

    Then the interesting stuff. Where my properties and variables.

    <Code Language="csharp">
    #region $property$

    /// <summary>
    /// Gets or sets the $property$ possible Value of the $type$ object.
    /// </summary>
    public $type$ $property$
        get { return ($type$)GetValue($property$Property); }
        set { SetValue($property$Property, value); }

    /// <summary>
    /// Identifies the $property$ dependency property.
    /// </summary>
    public static readonly DependencyProperty $property$Property =

    /// <summary>
    /// $property$Property property changed handler.
    /// </summary>
    /// <param name="d">$ownerclass$ that changed its $property$.</param>
    /// <param name="e">DependencyPropertyChangedEventArgs.</param>
    private static void On$property$PropertyChanged(DependencyObject d, DependencyPropertyChangedEventArgs e)
      $ownerclass$ _$ownerclass$ = d as $ownerclass$;
      if (_$ownerclass$!=null)
        //TODO: Handle new value.
    #endregion $property$

    We done, you can either download the ready snippet for Silverlight Dependency Property creation here. All you have to do is to put it into %MY DOCUMENTS%\Visual Studio 2008\Code Snippets\Visual C#\My Code Snippets or \Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio 9.0\VC#\Snippets\1033\Visual C# directory. Now, we can use "propdps" to quickly define Dependency Property for Silverlight class.

    Well done, and now we can start writing. First of all, we’ll create base logic class to encapsulate Minimum, Maximum, ValueLow, ValueHigh properties and ValueChange routed events. The only object we can derive from in order to use Dependency Property is Control. So we’ll do it.

    public abstract class DoubleRangeBase : Control

    Building Minimum property…

    #region Minimum

            /// <summary>
            /// Gets or sets the Minimum possible Value of the double object.
            /// </summary>
            public double Minimum
                get { return (double)GetValue(MinimumProperty); }
                set { SetValue(MinimumProperty, value); }

            /// <summary>
            /// Identifies the Minimum dependency property.
            /// </summary>
            public static readonly DependencyProperty MinimumProperty =

            /// <summary>
            /// MinimumProperty property changed handler.
            /// </summary>
            /// <param name="d">LowHighRangeBase that changed its Minimum.</param>
            /// <param name="e">DependencyPropertyChangedEventArgs.</param>
            private static void OnMinimumChanged(DependencyObject d, DependencyPropertyChangedEventArgs e)
                DoubleRangeBase _LowHighRangeBase = d as DoubleRangeBase;
                if (_LowHighRangeBase != null)
                    _LowHighRangeBase._requestedMin = (double)e.NewValue;
                    _LowHighRangeBase.OnMinimumChanged((double)e.OldValue, (double)e.NewValue);    

    Isn’t it nice snippet? :) Now events

    public event RoutedPropertyChangedEventHandler<double> ValueLowChanged;
    public event RoutedPropertyChangedEventHandler<double> ValueHighChanged;
    public event RoutedPropertyChangedEventHandler<ValueChangedEventArgs> ValueChanged;

    Handlers… Some virtual and some not

    protected virtual void OnMaximumChanged(double oldMaximum, double newMaximum)

    protected virtual void OnValueChanged(double oldValue, double newValue, ValueChangeType type)
                RoutedPropertyChangedEventHandler<ValueChangedEventArgs> handler = ValueChanged;
                if (handler != null)
                    ValueChangedEventArgs oVal = new ValueChangedEventArgs(oldValue,type);
                    ValueChangedEventArgs nVal = new ValueChangedEventArgs(newValue, type);
                    handler(this, new RoutedPropertyChangedEventArgs<ValueChangedEventArgs>(oVal, nVal));

    Coerces (that we missing in Silverlight, and as for my, this approach much better, then lazy counters, used in extended Silverlight controls)…

    private void CoerceValues()
                // Ensure it’s a valid value
                if (!IsValidDoubleValue(_requestedValueLow) | !IsValidDoubleValue(_requestedValueHigh) | !IsValidDoubleValue(_requestedMax) | !IsValidDoubleValue(_requestedMin))
                    throw new ArgumentException("Invalid double value", MinimumProperty.ToString());

                double minimum = Minimum;
                double maximum = Maximum;
                double valueHigh = ValueHigh;
                double valueLow = ValueLow;

                if (valueHigh < minimum)
                    SetValue(ValueHighProperty, minimum);
                if (valueHigh > maximum)
                    SetValue(ValueHighProperty, maximum);

                if (valueLow < minimum)
                    SetValue(ValueLowProperty, minimum);
                if (valueLow > maximum)
                    SetValue(ValueLowProperty, maximum);

                if (_requestedValueHigh < valueLow)
                    _requestedValueHigh = valueLow;

                if (_requestedValueHigh > maximum)
                    _requestedValueHigh = maximum;

                if (_requestedValueHigh < minimum)
                    _requestedValueHigh = minimum;

                if (_requestedValueHigh != valueHigh)
                    SetValue(ValueHighProperty, _requestedValueHigh);

                if (_requestedValueLow > valueHigh)
                    _requestedValueLow = valueHigh;

                if (_requestedValueLow > maximum)
                    _requestedValueLow = maximum;

                if (_requestedValueLow < minimum)
                    _requestedValueLow = minimum;

                if (_requestedValueLow != valueLow)
                    SetValue(ValueLowProperty, _requestedValueLow);


    And we done… Now the turn of the original class. We want to be able to template it, so, let’s add first generic.xaml with control template of our range slider. This is pretty simple, but there are some chatchus with it. One, you should explicitly specify the assembly, your control resides in. Another, that implicit styles do not work in Silverlight, so you should specify it. Other stuff is rather similar to WPF (even namespace)



    <Grid x:Name="HorizontalTemplateElement">
                                    <ColumnDefinition Width="Auto" />
                                    <ColumnDefinition Width="Auto" />
                                    <ColumnDefinition Width="Auto" />
                                    <ColumnDefinition Width="Auto" />
                                    <ColumnDefinition Width="*" />

                                <!– Track Layer –>
                                <Rectangle Stroke="Black" StrokeThickness="0.5" Fill="{TemplateBinding BackBrush}" Grid.Column="0" Grid.ColumnSpan="5" Height="3" Margin="5,0,5,0" />

                                <!– Fillters + Thumb –>
                                <Rectangle x:Name="HorizontalLowFillerElement" Fill="Transparent" Grid.Column="0" Height="3" />
                                <Thumb Style="{TemplateBinding ThumbStyle}" x:Name="HorizontalLowThumbElement" Grid.Column="1"/>
                                <Rectangle x:Name="HorizontalCenterFillerElement" Fill="{TemplateBinding SelectionBrush}" Grid.Column="2" Height="3" />
                                <Thumb Style="{TemplateBinding ThumbStyle}" x:Name="HorizontalHighThumbElement" Grid.Column="3" />
                                <Rectangle x:Name="HorizontalHighFillerElement" Fill="Transparent" Grid.Column="4" Height="3" />

    We want to be able to change an orientation of the range slider, so adding another section for vertical alignment.

    <Grid x:Name="VerticalTemplateElement" Visibility="Collapsed">
                                    <RowDefinition Height="*" />
                                    <RowDefinition Height="Auto" />
                                    <RowDefinition Height="Auto" />
                                    <RowDefinition Height="Auto" />
                                    <RowDefinition Height="Auto" />

                                <!– Track Layer –>
                                <Rectangle Stroke="Black" StrokeThickness="0.5" Fill="{TemplateBinding BackBrush}" Grid.Row="0" Grid.RowSpan="5" Width="3" Margin="0,5,0,5" />

                                <!– Fillters + Thumb –>
                                <Rectangle x:Name="VerticalLowFillerElement" Grid.Row="4" Width="3" />
                                <Thumb Style="{TemplateBinding ThumbStyle}" x:Name="VerticalLowThumbElement" Grid.Row="3" />
                                <Rectangle x:Name="VerticalCenterFillerElement" Fill="{TemplateBinding SelectionBrush}" Grid.Row="2" Width="3" />
                                <Thumb Style="{TemplateBinding ThumbStyle}" x:Name="VerticalHighThumbElement" Grid.Row="1" />
                                <Rectangle x:Name="VerticalHighFillerElement" Grid.Row="0" Width="3" />

    Now, when we done, we can start with the code of the control. Don’t forget about TemplatePart attributes….

    [TemplatePart(Name = RangeSlider.ElementHorizontalHighFillerName, Type = typeof(Rectangle))]
        [TemplatePart(Name = RangeSlider.ElementHorizontalLowFillerName, Type = typeof(Rectangle))]
        [TemplatePart(Name = RangeSlider.ElementHorizontalCenterFillerName, Type = typeof(Rectangle))]
        [TemplatePart(Name = RangeSlider.ElementVerticalTemplateName, Type = typeof(FrameworkElement))]
        [TemplatePart(Name = RangeSlider.ElementVerticalLowThumbName, Type = typeof(Thumb))]
        [TemplatePart(Name = RangeSlider.ElementVerticalHighThumbName, Type = typeof(Thumb))]

    public class RangeSlider : DoubleRangeBase

    Don’t forget to create and register those properties in backend.

    /// <summary>
            /// Horizontal low filler
            /// </summary>
            internal virtual Rectangle ElementHorizontalLowFiller { get; set; }
            internal const string ElementHorizontalLowFillerName = "HorizontalLowFillerElement";

            /// <summary>
            /// Vertical template root
            /// </summary>
            internal virtual FrameworkElement ElementVerticalTemplate { get; set; }
            internal const string ElementVerticalTemplateName = "VerticalTemplateElement";

    Internally subscribing to mouse and keyboard events in constructor…

    public RangeSlider()
                Minimum = 0;
                Maximum = 100;
                ValueHigh = 80;
                ValueLow = 20;

                IsTabStop = true;
                IsEnabled = true;
                Orientation = Orientation.Horizontal;
                GotFocus += delegate { IsFocused = true; };
                LostFocus += delegate { IsFocused = false; };
                KeyDown += delegate(object sender, KeyEventArgs e) { OnKeyPressed(e); };
                MouseEnter += delegate(object sender, MouseEventArgs e) { OnMouseEnter(e); };
                MouseLeave += delegate(object sender, MouseEventArgs e) { OnMouseLeave(e); };
                MouseLeftButtonDown += delegate(object sender, MouseButtonEventArgs e) { OnMouseLeftButtonDown(e); };
                MouseLeftButtonUp += delegate(object sender, MouseButtonEventArgs e) { OnMouseLeftButtonUp(e); };
                SizeChanged += delegate { UpdateTrackLayout(); };

    And overriding OnApplyTemplate methods…

    protected override void OnApplyTemplate()

               ElementRoot = GetTemplateChild(ElementRootName) as FrameworkElement;
               ElementHorizontalTemplate = GetTemplateChild(ElementHorizontalTemplateName) as FrameworkElement;
               ElementHorizontalLowThumb = GetTemplateChild(ElementHorizontalLowThumbName) as Thumb;
               ElementHorizontalHighThumb = GetTemplateChild(ElementHorizontalHighThumbName) as Thumb;

    Don’t forget about Drag events.

    if (ElementHorizontalLowThumb != null)
                    ElementHorizontalLowThumb.DragStarted += delegate(object sender, DragStartedEventArgs e) { OnLowThumbDragStarted(e); };
                    ElementHorizontalLowThumb.DragDelta += delegate(object sender, DragDeltaEventArgs e) { OnLowThumbDragDelta(e); };

    Let’s add some UI related properties like Orientation, IsFocused, IsEnabled, SelectionBrush, BackBrush, etc… Even ThumbStyle (do you remember, it does not work implicitly)

    #region ThumbStyle

            /// <summary>
            /// Gets or sets the ThumbStyle possible Value of the Style object.
            /// </summary>
            public Style ThumbStyle
                get { return (Style)GetValue(ThumbStyleProperty); }
                set { SetValue(ThumbStyleProperty, value); }

            /// <summary>
            /// Identifies the ThumbStyle dependency property.
            /// </summary>
            public static readonly DependencyProperty ThumbStyleProperty =

            #endregion ThumbStyle

    Ah, snippets is cool thing! Now we can override virtual methods to handle it

    protected override void OnValueHighChanged(double oldValue, double newValue)
               base.OnValueHighChanged(oldValue, newValue);
               if (ElementRoot != null)

    Mouse events

    private void OnMouseEnter(MouseEventArgs e)
                e.Handled = true;
                IsMouseOver = true;
                if ((Orientation == Orientation.Horizontal && ElementHorizontalLowThumb != null && !ElementHorizontalLowThumb.IsDragging && ElementHorizontalHighThumb != null && !ElementHorizontalHighThumb.IsDragging) ||
                    (Orientation == Orientation.Vertical && ElementVerticalLowThumb != null && !ElementVerticalLowThumb.IsDragging && ElementVerticalHighThumb != null && !ElementVerticalHighThumb.IsDragging))

    Stubs for possible animations…

    internal void ChangeVisualState(Storyboard state)
                Storyboard previousState = _currentState;
                if (state == previousState)

                if (state != null)
                    if (previousState != null)
                    _currentState = state;

    And position calculations at the end

    private void OnLowThumbDragDelta(DragEventArgs e)
                double offset = 0;

                if (Orientation == Orientation.Horizontal && ElementHorizontalLowThumb != null)
                    offset = e.HorizontalOffset / (ActualWidth – ElementHorizontalLowThumb.ActualWidth) * (Maximum – Minimum);
                else if (Orientation == Orientation.Vertical && ElementVerticalLowThumb != null)
                    offset = -e.VerticalOffset / (ActualHeight – ElementVerticalLowThumb.ActualHeight) * (Maximum – Minimum);

                if (!double.IsNaN(offset) && !double.IsInfinity(offset))
                    _dragValue += IsDirectionReversed ? -offset : offset;

                    double newValue = Math.Min(Maximum, Math.Max(Minimum, _dragValue));

                    if (newValue != ValueLow)
                        ValueLow = newValue;

    The only thing we have to do is to treat those measurement and layout calculations

    protected virtual void UpdateTrackLayout()
                double maximum = Maximum;
                double minimum = Minimum;
                double valueLow = ValueLow;
                double valueHigh = ValueHigh;

                Grid templateGrid = (Orientation == Orientation.Horizontal) ? (ElementHorizontalTemplate as Grid) : (ElementVerticalTemplate as Grid);
                if (templateGrid != null)
                    if (Orientation == Orientation.Horizontal && templateGrid.ColumnDefinitions != null &&
                        templateGrid.ColumnDefinitions.Count == 5)
                        templateGrid.ColumnDefinitions[0].Width = new GridLength(1, IsDirectionReversed ? GridUnitType.Star : GridUnitType.Auto);
                        templateGrid.ColumnDefinitions[4].Width = new GridLength(1, IsDirectionReversed ? GridUnitType.Auto : GridUnitType.Star);                   
                    else if (Orientation == Orientation.Vertical && templateGrid.RowDefinitions != null &&
                        templateGrid.RowDefinitions.Count == 5)
                        templateGrid.RowDefinitions[0].Height = new GridLength(1, IsDirectionReversed ? GridUnitType.Auto : GridUnitType.Star);
                        templateGrid.RowDefinitions[4].Height = new GridLength(1, IsDirectionReversed ? GridUnitType.Star : GridUnitType.Auto);                   

                if (Orientation == Orientation.Horizontal && ElementHorizontalCenterFiller != null &&
                    ElementHorizontalLowFiller != null && ElementHorizontalLowThumb != null &&               
                    ElementHorizontalHighFiller != null && ElementHorizontalHighThumb != null)
                    ElementHorizontalLowFiller.Width = (valueLow – minimum) * (ActualWidth – ElementHorizontalHighThumb.ActualWidth – ElementHorizontalLowThumb.ActualWidth) / (maximum – minimum);
                    ElementHorizontalCenterFiller.Width = (valueHigh – valueLow) * (ActualWidth – ElementHorizontalHighThumb.ActualWidth – ElementHorizontalLowThumb.ActualWidth) / (maximum – minimum);
                    ElementHorizontalHighFiller.Width = (maximum – valueHigh) * (ActualWidth – ElementHorizontalHighThumb.ActualWidth – ElementHorizontalLowThumb.ActualWidth) / (maximum – minimum);

                else if (Orientation == Orientation.Vertical && ElementVerticalCenterFiller != null &&
                    ElementVerticalLowFiller != null && ElementVerticalLowThumb != null &&
                    ElementVerticalHighFiller != null && ElementVerticalHighThumb != null)
                    ElementVerticalLowFiller.Height = (valueLow – minimum) * (ActualHeight – ElementVerticalLowThumb.ActualHeight – ElementVerticalHighThumb.ActualHeight) / (maximum – minimum);
                    ElementVerticalCenterFiller.Height = (valueHigh – valueLow) * (ActualHeight – ElementVerticalLowThumb.ActualHeight – ElementVerticalHighThumb.ActualHeight) / (maximum – minimum);
                    ElementVerticalHighFiller.Height = (maximum – valueHigh) * (ActualHeight – ElementVerticalLowThumb.ActualHeight – ElementVerticalHighThumb.ActualHeight) / (maximum – minimum);

    …and we done.

    Now we can do to our Silverlight project and add the control there. something like this will work

                ValueHigh="{Binding Value1, Mode=TwoWay}"
                ValueLow="{Binding Value2, Mode=TwoWay}"
                ThumbStyle="{StaticResource thumb}"

                ValueHigh="{Binding Value1, Mode=TwoWay}"
                ValueLow="{Binding Value2, Mode=TwoWay}"

    Of cause you need data in backend to bind to. Silverlight does not support ElementName in binding by now. Thus, you should work with object bindings only.

    public class MyObject : INotifyPropertyChanged
            double val1, val2;
            public double Value1 { get { return val1; } set { val1 = value; fireChanged("Value1"); } }
            public double Value2 { get { return val2; } set { val2 = value; fireChanged("Value2"); } }

            #region INotifyPropertyChanged Members

            void fireChanged(string prop)
                if (PropertyChanged != null)
                    PropertyChanged(this, new PropertyChangedEventArgs(prop));
            public event PropertyChangedEventHandler PropertyChanged;


    As exposed thumb style property, so why not to create cool thumb as well?

        <l:MyObject x:Name="obj"/>
        <Style TargetType="Thumb" x:Key="thumb">
            <Setter Property="Template">
                    <ControlTemplate TargetType="Thumb">
                        <Path Data="M3,1 L2,2 L1,1 L2,3 z" Stretch="Fill" Fill="Yellow" Stroke="Black"/>
            <Setter Property="Width" Value="20"/>
            <Setter Property="Height" Value="20"/>
    <Grid x:Name="LayoutRoot" Background="White" DataContext="{StaticResource obj}">

    And that it. Now we have out range slider up and working. (You cannot see it from your feed reader. Visit the original page to view)

    And the small tip at the end. If you want to register Silverlight MIME extension in your IIS (webhosting, etc), you should use application\x-silverlight-app application type for .xap file extensions.

    Have a nice day and be good people.

    Source code for this article.

    MSBuild tasks for build machines for WPF and Silverlight

    Silverlight got go-life, so we should start preparing automatic build machines for new Silverlight projects. Actually, it is not too complicated, however, there are some new tasks should be taken into account.

    • Output type of any Silverlight application is Library
    • New XML node specializing the output type of the library: SilverlightApplication with True value
    • Another XML node, that specializing the output file type XapOutputs with True value. XAP is, actually, ZIP archive of all assemblies, used within the application.
    • XAP file name can be set with XapFilename property
    • We can decide whither create Silverlight manifest file or not with GenerateSilverlightManifest tag (true)
    • The template of the manifest for generation resides in SilverlightManifestTemplate tag, so you can specify the path to xml file for manifest generation&nbsp;
    • The entry point of your application should be set with SilverlightAppEntry property, that specifying the name of class (for most cases it will be $(AppName).App)
    • You can tell the enviroment to generate test web page, hosting your Silverlight control by specifying CreateTestPage=true
    • If you decided to generate test file, you should specify the test page name by setting TestPageFileName

    There are some new constants for compile conditions

    • DebugType – the type of debug symbols. Instead of general “full”, you should specify “pdbonly” value.
    • NoStdLib defines inclusion of standard libraries with the project (kind of “always copy”). Default = true (not include)
    • NoConfig defines inclusion of config data. Default = true (not include)

    Reference set for standard Silverlight application is

    • System.Windows
    • mscorlib
    • system
    • System.Core
    • System.Xml
    • System.Windows.Browser
    • System.Windows.Controls

    Those are not standard .NET classes, but special Silverlight dlls, resides in \Program Files\Microsoft Silverlight directory

    You can also include your own references by setting Private node of Reference to true. Here the example of such include for Silverlight Extended controls

    <Reference Include=”System.Windows.Controls.Extended”>

    ItemGroup section is rather standard, except of new node SilverlightPage (uses standard MSBuild:CompileXaml generator.

    That’s all, folks. Happy build machines to you.





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