Thursday, 11 September 2014

Using INotifyPropertyChanged to Notify Value Change

Recently I start learning more on Windows development so will write more about this topic from now to the near future.

Among the first things that I have learned is how to use INotifyPropertyChanged to raise notification whenever a property value of a single object changes.

How to Implement The Interface
The steps of how to use this interface:
- first we need to inherit our class from this interface
- include the interface's PropertyChanged event property
- write a method to raise value change notification, i.e.; RaisePropertyChanged()
- call that method from each property that we would like it to have this feature
public class User : INotifyPropertyChanged
 private string _firstName;

 public string FirstName
  get { return _firstName; }
  set { 
   _firstName = value; 

   // this is the old way to do

   // this is now possible in C# 5 that we don't need to specify the property name

 public string LastName { get; set; }

 public event PropertyChangedEventHandler PropertyChanged;

 /* // this is the old way to do
 private void RaisePropertyChanged(string propertyName)
  if (this.PropertyChanged != null)
   this.PropertyChanged(this, new PropertyChangedEventArgs(propertyName));

 // this is now possible in C# 5 that we don't need to specify the property name
 private void RaisePropertyChanged([CallerMemberName] string caller = "")
  if (PropertyChanged != null)
   PropertyChanged(this, new PropertyChangedEventArgs(caller));

Then on the view we specify the class instance as the data context. One simple way to do this is by initialising it in the view code behind constructor. Note that we are only using the simple way here, not a MVVM approach.
DataContext = user;

Then in our .xaml file we can bind the property(ies) to a control(s).
 <TextBlock Text="{Binding FirstName, Mode=OneTime}" HorizontalAlignment="Left"  TextWrapping="Wrap" VerticalAlignment="Top"/>
 <TextBlock Text="{Binding FirstName, Mode=OneWay}" HorizontalAlignment="Left"  TextWrapping="Wrap" VerticalAlignment="Top"/>
 <TextBlock Text="{Binding FirstName}" HorizontalAlignment="Left"  TextWrapping="Wrap" VerticalAlignment="Top"/>
 <TextBox Text="{Binding FirstName, Mode=TwoWay}" HorizontalAlignment="Left" Height="23"  TextWrapping="Wrap" VerticalAlignment="Top" Width="120"/>
 <Button Content="Button" HorizontalAlignment="Left"  VerticalAlignment="Top" Width="75"/>
In the example above, when we try to change the value in the textbox, the new value will be propagated to other controls after we move focus from the textbox. A button is included so that we could click the button after changing the textbox value or press 'tab' key to move the focus away from the textbox.

Binding Modes
Notice that the binding modes specify the direction the change flows:
- TwoWay - data change flows in both directions between source and target properties.
- OneWay - data change only flows from source to target property. This is commonly used for readonly controls.
- OneTime - data change only flows once from source to target property when the control is initialised
- OneWayToSource - the reverse of OneWay mode
- Default - use the default binding mode of the control. If a mode is not specified then the default value is used.
To avoid performance overhead, we should use the mode that is really needed. From the lightest to the heaviest are OneTime, OneWay and TwoWay.

Usage in Collection
If we have a collection of objects which class implements INotifyPropertyChanged then when one of its properties value changes, the change will propagate too. As long as the property raises changes (by calling a raise notification method) like our FirstName property calls RaisePropertyChanged() method, then it will propagate.

Below is a codes example of a collection of users in a List type that will notify change when one of its first names is changed:
<ListView Name="listView1">
    <TextBlock Text="{Binding FirstName}" FontWeight="Bold" />
<Button Content="Change User" HorizontalAlignment="Left"  VerticalAlignment="Top" Width="100" Click="Button_Click"/>

private List<User> users = new List<User> { new User { FirstName = "first", LastName = "last" }, new User { FirstName = "second", LastName = "last2" } };

public MainWindow()

 listView1.ItemsSource = users;

private void Button_Click(object sender, RoutedEventArgs e)
 users[0].FirstName = "CHANGED";

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