Windows 10 Development - Data Binding


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Data binding is a mechanism in XAML application, which provides a simple and easy way for Windows Runtime apps using partial classes to display and interact with data. The management of data is entirely separated from the way data is displayed in this mechanism.

Data binding allows the flow of data between UI elements and data object on user interface. When a binding is established and the data or your business model changes, then it reflects the updates automatically to the UI elements and vice versa. It is also possible to bind, not to a standard data source, but rather to another element on the page. Data binding can be −

  • One-way data binding
  • Two-way data binding
  • Element Binding

One-way Data Binding

In one-way binding, the data is bound from its source, (the object that holds the data) to its target (the object that displays the data).

Let us have a look at a simple example of one way data binding. Given below is the XAML code in which four text blocks are created with some properties.

<Page 
   x:Class = "OneWayDataBinding.MainPage" 
   xmlns = "http://schemas.microsoft.com/winfx/2006/xaml/presentation" 
   xmlns:x = "http://schemas.microsoft.com/winfx/2006/xaml" 
   xmlns:local = "using:OneWayDataBinding" 
   xmlns:d = "http://schemas.microsoft.com/expression/blend/2008" 
   xmlns:mc = "http://schemas.openxmlformats.org/markup-compatibility/2006" 
   mc:Ignorable = "d">  
   
   <Grid Background = "{ThemeResource ApplicationPageBackgroundThemeBrush}"> 
      <StackPanel Name = "Display"> 
         <StackPanel Orientation = "Horizontal" Margin = "50, 50, 0, 0"> 
            <TextBlock Text = "Name: " Margin = "10" Width = "100"/> 
            <TextBlock Margin = "10" Width = "100" Text = "{Binding Name}"/> 
         </StackPanel>
			
         <StackPanel Orientation = "Horizontal" Margin = "50,0,50,0"> 
            <TextBlock Text = "Title: " Margin = "10" Width = "100"/> 
            <TextBlock Margin = "10" Width = "200" Text = "{Binding Title}" /> 
         </StackPanel> 
			
      </StackPanel> 
   </Grid>
	
</Page>

The Text properties of two text blocks are set to “Name” and “Title” statically, while the other two Text properties of the text blocks are bind to “Name” and “Title” which are class variables of Employee class as shown below.

using Windows.UI.Xaml.Controls;  

// The Blank Page item template is documented at  
   http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=402352&clcid=0x409 
 
namespace OneWayDataBinding {
 
   /// <summary>
      /// An empty page that can be used on its own or navigated to within a Frame. 
   /// </summary> 
	
   public sealed partial class MainPage : Page {
      public MainPage(){ 
         this.InitializeComponent(); 
         DataContext = Employee.GetEmployee(); 
      } 
   } 
	
   public class Employee {
      public string Name { get; set; } 
      public string Title { get; set; }  
		
      public static Employee GetEmployee() {
         var emp = new Employee() {
            Name = "Waqar Ahmed", 
            Title = "Development Manager" 
         }; 
			
         return emp; 
      } 
		
   }  
}

In the Employee class, we have variables Name and Title and one static method in which the employee object is initialized and will return that employee object. Therefore, we are binding to the property, Name and Title, but we have not yet selected the object to which the property belongs. The easy way is to assign an object to DataContext, whose properties we are binding in the MainPage Constructor.

When you run this application, you can immediately see in your MainWindow that you have successfully bound to the Name and Title of that Employee object.

One-Way Data Binding

Two-way Data Binding

In Two-Way Binding, the user is able to modify the data through the user interface and have that data updated in the source. For example, if the source changes while the user is looking at the view, you want the view to be updated.

Let us have a look at the below given example in which two labels, two text boxes and one button are created with some properties and events.

<Page 
   x:Class = "TwoWayDataBinding.MainPage" 
   xmlns = "http://schemas.microsoft.com/winfx/2006/xaml/presentation" 
   xmlns:x = "http://schemas.microsoft.com/winfx/2006/xaml" 
   xmlns:local = "using:TwoWayDataBinding" 
   xmlns:d = "http://schemas.microsoft.com/expression/blend/2008" 
   xmlns:mc = "http://schemas.openxmlformats.org/markup-compatibility/2006"
   mc:Ignorable = "d">  
   
   <Grid Background = "{ThemeResource ApplicationPageBackgroundThemeBrush}"> 
	
      <Grid.RowDefinitions> 
         <RowDefinition Height = "Auto" /> 
         <RowDefinition Height = "Auto" /> 
         <RowDefinition Height = "*" /> 
      </Grid.RowDefinitions> 
		
      <Grid.ColumnDefinitions> 
         <ColumnDefinition Width = "Auto" /> 
         <ColumnDefinition Width = "200" /> 
      </Grid.ColumnDefinitions> 
		
      <TextBlock Name = "nameLabel" Margin = "200,20,0,0">Name:</TextBlock> 
		
      <TextBox Name = "nameText" Grid.Column = "1" Margin = "10,20,0,0" 
         Text = "{Binding Name, Mode = TwoWay}"/>  
			
      <TextBlock Name = "ageLabel" Margin = "200,20,0,0" 
         Grid.Row = "1">Age:</TextBlock> 
			
      <TextBox Name = "ageText" Grid.Column = "1" Grid.Row = "1" Margin = "10,20,0,0" 
         Text = "{Binding Age, Mode = TwoWay}"/>
			
      <StackPanel Grid.Row = "2" Grid.ColumnSpan = "2"> 
         <Button Content = "Display" Click = "Button_Click"  
            Margin = "200,20,0,0"/> 
         <TextBlock x:Name = "txtblock" Margin = "200,20,0,0"/> 
      </StackPanel>  
		
   </Grid> 
	
</Page> 

We can observe the following −

  • The Text properties of both the text boxes bind to the "Name" and "Age" which are class variables of Person class as shown below.

  • In Person class, we have just two variables - Name and Age, and its object is initialized in the MainWindow class.

  • In XAML code, we are binding to the property - Name and Age, but we have not selected the object to which the property belongs.

  • The easier way is to assign an object to the DataContext, whose properties we are binding in the C# code as shown below in the MainWindowconstructor.

using Windows.UI.Xaml; 
using Windows.UI.Xaml.Controls; 
 
// The Blank Page item template is documented at 
   http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=402352&clcid=0x409  
	
namespace TwoWayDataBinding {

   /// <summary> 
      /// An empty page that can be used on its own or navigated to within a Frame. 
   /// </summary>
   
   public sealed partial class MainPage : Page {
      Person person = new Person { Name = "Salman", Age = 26 }; 
		
      public MainPage() {
         this.InitializeComponent(); 
         this.DataContext = person; 
      } 
		
      private void Button_Click(object sender, RoutedEventArgs e) {
         string message = person.Name + " is " + person.Age + " years old"; 
         txtblock.Text = message; 
      } 
		
   }  
	
   public class Person {
      private string nameValue;
		
      public string Name {
         get { return nameValue; } 
         set { nameValue = value; } 
      } 
		
      private double ageValue; 
		
      public double Age {
         get { return ageValue; } 
			
         set {
            if (value != ageValue) {
               ageValue = value; 
            } 
         } 
      }
		
   } 
	
}

When the above code is compiled and executed, you will see the following window. Click the Display button.

Two-Way Data Binding

Let us change the Name and Age and click the Display button again.

Two-Way Data Binding

You can see that in click button ‘Display’, the text of the textboxes are not used to show the data on TextBlock but the class variables are used.

I recommend you to execute the above code with both cases for better understanding.

Element Binding

It is also possible to bind, not to a standard data source, but rather to another element on the page. Let us create an application called ElementBinding in which a Slider and a Rectangle are created and with the slider, the rectangle width and height are bound. Given below is the code in XAML.

<Page 
   x:Class = "ElementBinding.MainPage" 
   xmlns = "http://schemas.microsoft.com/winfx/2006/xaml/presentation" 
   xmlns:x = "http://schemas.microsoft.com/winfx/2006/xaml" 
   xmlns:local = "using:ElementBinding" 
   xmlns:d = "http://schemas.microsoft.com/expression/blend/2008" 
   xmlns:mc = "http://schemas.openxmlformats.org/markup-compatibility/2006" 
   mc:Ignorable = "d">  
   
   <Grid Background = "{ThemeResource ApplicationPageBackgroundThemeBrush}"> 
      <StackPanel VerticalAlignment = "Center" HorizontalAlignment = "Center">
		
         <Rectangle Height = "100" Width = "100" Fill = "SteelBlue"  
            RenderTransformOrigin = "0.5,0.5" Margin = "50"> 
				
            <Rectangle.RenderTransform> 
               <CompositeTransform ScaleX = "{Binding Value, ElementName = MySlider}" 
                  ScaleY = "{Binding Value, ElementName = MySlider}"/> 
            </Rectangle.RenderTransform> 
				
         </Rectangle>
			
         <Slider Minimum = ".5" Maximum = "2.0" StepFrequency = ".1"  
            x:Name = "MySlider" /> 
				
      </StackPanel> 
   </Grid> 
	
</Page> 

When the above code is compiled and executed, you will see the following window.

Element Binding

With a slider, you can change the size of the rectangle as shown below.

Element Binding

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