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.NET Standard 2.0+

How to: Implement a Custom List Editor (WinForms)

  • 9 minutes to read

The eXpressApp Framework is shipped with a number of built-in List Editors. However, in certain scenarios you may need to implement a custom List Editor, to display object collections in a particular way. This topic demonstrates how to implement a custom WinCustomListEditor List Editor that uses a control from the .NET Framework library. This List Editor is designed to display objects, implementing a custom IPictureItem interface as a list of images, one for each object. It can be used, for instance, to display DVD covers.

The following image demonstrates the implemented List Editor in an Album List View:



You can see the code implemented here in the FeatureCenter Demo installed with XAF. This demo is located in the %PUBLIC%\Documents\DevExpress Demos 22.1\Components\XAF\FeatureCenter.NETFramework.XPO folder, by default.


To learn how to support a context menu for the WinCustomListEditor, refer to the How to: Support a Context Menu for a Custom WinForms List Editor topic.

When implementing a custom List Editor that works with specific data, you can design it for a particular class. However, in this example, an interface will be introduced containing the properties required by the List Editor. Then, the List Editor will be designed to display objects implementing the interface. This approach allows you to simultaneously use that same List Editor for different classes. List Views displayed using the WinCustomListEditor will have two columns: Image and Text. The special interface has an additional ID property that represents a unique object identifier.

using System.Drawing;
interface IPictureItem {
    Image Image { get; }
    string Text { get; }
    string ID { get; }

Start implementing the List Editor by inheriting its class from the ListEditor class, and implement basic functionality by overriding the following members. Note that your editor should be public.

  • CreateControlsCore method, that instantiates the List Editor’s control. Override it to create and configure the control.
  • AssignDataSourceToControl method, that assigns the List Editor’s data source to its control. Override it to support object change notification, when the data source implements the IBindingList interface.
  • ListEditor.Refresh method, that refreshes data in the List Editor’s control. Override it to make the control reload all objects from its data source.
  • ListEditor.Dispose method, that disposes of a manually allocated controlDataSource property .
  • To specify that List Views displaying IPictureItem, objects should use the WinCustomListEditor, decorate the List Editor class with the ListEditorAttribute.

The demonstrated List Editor can display a collection of objects implementing the IPictureItem interface. However, it does not support items selection, because it cannot recognize what item is currently selected. To support selection, the following members must be modified:

  • In the CreateControlsCore method, subscribe to the control’s SelectedIndexChanged and ItemSelectionChanged events. In the SelectedIndexChanged event handler, call the OnSelectionChanged method. In the ItemSelectionChanged event handler, call the OnSelectionChanged and OnFocusedObjectChanged methods.
  • Override the ListEditor.SelectionType property. Since the ListView control supports both single and multiple selections, this property must return SelectionType.Full.
  • Override the ListEditor.GetSelectedObjects method. This method must return a list of the selected objects.

In addition to selection, a List Editor should be able to invoke a Detail View for the focused object when an end-user presses ENTER, or double-clicks the object. For this purpose, modify the following members:

  • In the CreateControlsCore method, subscribe to the control’s MouseDoubleClick and KeyDown events. In the event handlers, call the OnProcessSelectedItem method.
  • Override the ListEditor.FocusedObject property, to get and set the focused object. To do this, we implement an additional FindByTag helper method.
  • Modify the ListEditor.Refresh method, to make the List Editor retain focus when refreshing data in the control.

If you need to store the editor settings in the Application Model, implement the ListEditor.SaveModel method. Otherwise, leave this method empty

This code snippet demonstrates the steps above.

using System;
using System.Collections;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.ComponentModel;
using System.Drawing;
using System.Windows.Forms;
using DevExpress.ExpressApp;
using DevExpress.ExpressApp.Editors;
using DevExpress.ExpressApp.Model;
using DevExpress.ExpressApp.SystemModule;
using DevExpress.ExpressApp.Templates;
using DevExpress.ExpressApp.Utils;
using DevExpress.ExpressApp.Win.Controls;
using DevExpress.ExpressApp.Win.SystemModule;
using DevExpress.Utils.Menu;
using DevExpress.XtraBars;
// ...
public class WinCustomListEditor : ListEditor {
    private System.Windows.Forms.ListView control;
    private System.Windows.Forms.ImageList images;
    private Object controlDataSource;
    private void dataSource_ListChanged(object sender, ListChangedEventArgs e) {
    private void control_MouseDoubleClick(object sender, MouseEventArgs e) {
        if(e.Button == MouseButtons.Left) {
    private void control_KeyDown(object sender, System.Windows.Forms.KeyEventArgs e) {
        if(e.KeyCode == Keys.Enter) {
    private void control_ItemSelectionChanged(object sender, System.Windows.Forms.ListViewItemSelectionChangedEventArgs e) {
    private void control_SelectedIndexChanged(object sender, EventArgs e) {
    private System.Windows.Forms.ListViewItem FindByTag(object tag) {
        IPictureItem itemToSearch = (IPictureItem)tag;
        if(control != null && itemToSearch != null) {
            foreach(System.Windows.Forms.ListViewItem item in control.Items) {
                if(((IPictureItem)item.Tag).ID == itemToSearch.ID)
                    return item;
        return null;
    protected override object CreateControlsCore() {
        control = new System.Windows.Forms.ListView();
        control.Sorting = SortOrder.Ascending;
        images = new System.Windows.Forms.ImageList();
        images.ImageSize = new System.Drawing.Size(104, 150);
        images.ColorDepth = ColorDepth.Depth32Bit;
        control.LargeImageList = images;
        control.HideSelection = false;
        control.SelectedIndexChanged += control_SelectedIndexChanged;
        control.ItemSelectionChanged += control_ItemSelectionChanged;
        control.MouseDoubleClick += control_MouseDoubleClick;
        control.KeyDown += control_KeyDown;
        return control;
    protected override void AssignDataSourceToControl(Object dataSource) {
        if(dataSource is DevExpress.Xpo.XPServerCollectionSource) {
            throw new Exception("The WinCustomListEditor doesn't support Server mode and so cannot use an XPServerCollectionSource object as the data source.");
        if(controlDataSource != dataSource) {
            IBindingList oldBindable = controlDataSource as IBindingList;
            if(oldBindable != null) {
                oldBindable.ListChanged -= new ListChangedEventHandler(dataSource_ListChanged);
            controlDataSource = dataSource;
            IBindingList bindable = controlDataSource as IBindingList;
            if(bindable != null) {
                bindable.ListChanged += dataSource_ListChanged;
    public WinCustomListEditor(IModelListView info)
        : base(info) {
    public override void Dispose() {
        controlDataSource = null;
    public override void Refresh() {
        if(control == null)
        object focused = FocusedObject;
        try {
            if(ListHelper.GetList(controlDataSource) != null) {
                foreach(IPictureItem item in ListHelper.GetList(controlDataSource)) {
                    int imageIndex = 0;
                    if(item.Image != null) {
                        imageIndex = images.Images.Count - 1;
                    System.Windows.Forms.ListViewItem lItem =
                        new System.Windows.Forms.ListViewItem(item.Text, imageIndex);
                    lItem.Tag = item;
        finally {

        FocusedObject = focused;
        if(FocusedObject == null && control.Items.Count > 1) {
            FocusedObject = control.Items[0].Tag;
    public override IList GetSelectedObjects() {
        if(control == null)
            return new object[0] { };

        object[] result = new object[control.SelectedItems.Count];
        for(int i = 0; i < control.SelectedItems.Count; i++) {
            result[i] = control.SelectedItems[i].Tag;
        return result;
    public override void SaveModel() {
    public override SelectionType SelectionType {
        get { return SelectionType.Full; }
    public override object FocusedObject {
        get {
            return (control != null) && (control.FocusedItem != null) ? control.FocusedItem.Tag : null;
        set {
            System.Windows.Forms.ListViewItem item = FindByTag(value);
            if(item != null) {

                item.Focused = true;
                item.Selected = true;
See Also