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Show the Main Window in Windows Forms Applications

  • 6 minutes to read

This topic details the steps performed after an end-user has been authorized, until the moment the main window is shown to the end-user. The main window, as any other window in XAF applications, is defined by two objects: a control called Template and an abstract entity called Window. A Window, in contrast to a Template, does not contain information on what controls must be located on it. Windows only include the information concerning their functions in the eXpressApp Framework applications. In this topic, you will learn how a Window and Template objects are created and associated to present the main window.

Create a Window



Ways to Interfere

Before creating an instance of the Window class, all Controllers listed in the Application Model‘s ActionDesign | Controllers node are created.

Subscribe to the Controller.AfterConstruction event to set up a Controller’s properties. For instance, you can specify the conditions to be satisfied for the Controller’s activation.

Then, a Window is created and all the Controllers are registered in this Window. This means that their WindowController.Window property is set to the current Window object.

Subscribe to the Controller.FrameAssigned event to access the Controller’s Window (see WindowController.Window) and perform the required actions with it. For instance, in the event handler, you can subscribe to the event that is raised before the Controller is activated.

The Controllers that represent the WindowController class’ descendants are activated one after another.

To activate a Window Controller for the main Window only, set its WindowController.TargetWindowType property to Main or Any.

Override a Controller’s WindowChanging method to cancel the activation. Add an item to the Controller.Active collection passing false as the item’s value.

Subscribe to the Controller.Activated event. This is the main entry to perform the required functionality using a Controller.

Assign a Template to the Window



Ways to Interfere

To be visualized, the Window creates a Template, a control (e.g. a form) that supports the XAF architecture. To create a Template, a Frame Template Factory is used. It creates the Template that is appropriate in the Window’s context (see Frame.Context). The main Window is created in the “ApplicationWindow” context. The DefaultFrameTemplateFactory, which is used by default to create Templates, creates the built-in MainForm Template in the “ApplicationWindow” context.

Subscribe to the XafApplication.CreateCustomTemplate event of your WinApplication object, to create a custom Template in the “ApplicationWindow” context. To get the current context in which a Template is created, use the event handler’s Context parameter. To see an example, refer to the Template Customization and How to: Create a Custom WinForms Ribbon Template topics.

Use a custom Frame Template Factory to create custom Templates. Register the required Frame Template Factory in a module where the custom Templates are implemented. In this instance, the module should be added to an application to use the custom Templates. For details, refer to the How to: Distribute Custom Templates with Modules topic.

When a Template is created, all its Action Containers are created as well. Action Containers are the controls that display Actions. The MainForm Template contains the following Action Containers: About, Tools, File, ObjectsCreation, Print, Export, Exit, RecordEdit, RecordsNavigation, ViewsHistoryNavigation, FiltersSearch, Filters, View, Options, navigation, Diagnostic, ViewsNavigation. The Navigation Action Container represents the NavBarControl. The other Action Containers represent BarLinkContainerExItem, some of which create toolbar items for their Actions, and others create menu items.

Subscribe to the XafApplication.CustomizeTemplate event of your WinApplication object. To customize the Template that is created for the main Window, use the event handler’s Context parameter. It must be set to TemplateContext.ApplicationWindow. To see an example, refer to the Template Customization topic.

The created Template is assigned to the Window.Template property.

Create Controls for Actions


Stage Ways to Interfere
The Window’s TemplateChanged event is raised. This event is handled by the FillActionContainersController, which is already activated, since it represents a Window Controller. The TemplateChanged event handler registers Actions in the Action Containers of the Window’s Template. Each Action is registered in the Action Container to which it is mapped in the Application Model’s ActionDesign | ActionToContainerMapping node. The Action Containers create controls for their Actions. Subscribe to the Frame.TemplateChanged event to access the Window’s Template and its Action Containers. To do this, use a Window Controller’s Controller.Activated event. To see an example, refer to the How to: Access the Navigation Control topic.

Set the Template’s Settings



Ways to Interfere

The Template’s ISupportStoreSettings.SetSettings method is called to apply the settings that are specified by an end-user the last time the application was run.

By default, the Template’s settings are saved to the Application Model‘s Templates | Template node. You can save them to another Application Model node. For this purpose, override the GetTemplateCustomizationModel method in your WinApplication class and return the required node in it.

You can save the Template’s setting in another store. To do this, implement a custom Template overriding the methods exposed by the IFrameTemplate interface.

The Template is shown.

Assign a View to the Window


Stage Ways to Interfere
The ShowNavigationItemController.ShowNavigationItemAction is executed as if an item is selected in the navbar. This forces the creation of the View associated with the “selected” item. To imitate the selection of a particular item in the navigation control, inherit from the ShowNavigationItemController and override its GetStartupNavigationItem method. In this method, return the required item from the ShowNavigationItem Action’s Items collection.
The created View is assigned to the current Window. Subscribe to the Frame.ViewChanging event. You can do this in a Window Controller’s Controller.Activated event handler, or in a View Controller’s Controller.FrameAssigned event handler.

View Controllers are Activated



Ways to Interfere

View Controllers from the Window’s Frame.Controllers collection are activated.

You can manage the activation of a View Controller using the following properties: ViewController.TargetViewType, ViewController.TargetViewNesting, ViewController.TargetObjectType and ViewController.TargetViewId.

Override a Controller’s ViewChanging method to cancel the activation. Add an item to the Controller.Active collection passing false as the item’s value.

Subscribe to the Controller.Activated event. This is the main entry to perform the required functionality using a Controller.

Assign the Window’s View to the Template


Stage Ways to Interfere
The View is assigned to the current Window’s Template. This forces the creation of the View’s control (see View.CreateControls). This control is added to the Template’s ViewSite. Handle the View.ControlsCreating and View.ControlsCreated events to perform custom actions before and after the controls that represent the View in a UI are created.