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How to: Access Objects Selected in the Current View

  • 6 minutes to read

When working with XAF applications, end-users can select objects displayed in a View. You may often need to access these objects from Controllers and Actions to perform various business tasks. For example, when implementing an Action, you may need to access a focused object to modify its property values when an Action is executed. This topic explains the basics of manipulating focused and selected objects, and provides sample code snippets.


A complete sample project is available in the DevExpress Code Examples database at

Access Currently Selected Objects When an Action is Executed

When an Action is executed, its Execute event is triggered. Regardless of the Action type, arguments passed to the event handler contain the SimpleActionExecuteEventArgs.CurrentObject and SimpleActionExecuteEventArgs.SelectedObjects properties. The CurrentObject property specifies the current object of the active View. If an active View is a List View, this property specifies the focused object. If the View is a Detail View, the property specifies the object displayed by it. The SelectedObjects is a collection of the objects selected in the active View. In the case of a Detail View, this property returns the CurrentObject wrapped in a list.

The following code snippet demonstrates an Action intended for a Contact type. When the Action is executed, it adds a new line displaying information (about the moment when salary is transferred) to the Note property value of the currently selected objects in a List View, or an object displayed in a Detail View.

using System;
using System.Collections;
using DevExpress.ExpressApp;
using DevExpress.ExpressApp.Actions;
using DevExpress.ExpressApp.EF;
public partial class MyNotesController : ViewController {
    public MyNotesController() {
        SimpleAction myAction = new SimpleAction(this, "Salary Info", "Edit");
        myAction.SelectionDependencyType = SelectionDependencyType.RequireMultipleObjects;
        myAction.TargetObjectType = typeof(Contact);
        myAction.Execute += myAction_Execute;
    void myAction_Execute(object sender, SimpleActionExecuteEventArgs e) {
        ArrayList SelectedContacts = new ArrayList();
        if ((e.SelectedObjects.Count > 0) && (e.SelectedObjects[0] is IObjectRecord)) {
            foreach (var selectedObject in e.SelectedObjects) {
        else {
            SelectedContacts = (ArrayList)e.SelectedObjects;
        foreach (Contact selectedContact in SelectedContacts) {
            DateTime now = DateTime.Now;
            selectedContact.Notes += "\r\n[INFO] Your salary is transfered " + 
                now.ToString("M/d/yy") + " at " + now.ToString("hh:mm");


With the code above, each selected Contact object is obtained through a separate database request.

A specific View can be displayed when an Action is executed by specifying the ActionBaseEventArgs.ShowViewParameters property of the Execute event handler or by using a PopupWindowShowAction. However, regardless of the Action type, the Execute event handler arguments always contain focused and selected objects of the View for which the Action was invoked, and not for the View that was displayed as a result of the Action.

Access Currently Selected Objects with a View Controller

A less common task is accessing focused and selected objects of a View from a Controller. In this instance, you should use the View.CurrentObject and View.SelectedObjects properties of the View object specified by the ViewController.View property. The properties exposed by the View object have corresponding change notification events - View.CurrentObjectChanged and View.SelectionChanged. So the best approach to accessing the focused and selected objects from a Controller is to handle these events.

The following code snippet demonstrates a Controller intended for Contact Detail Views. It changes the DeleteObjectsViewController.DeleteAction‘s ActionBase.ConfirmationMessage. If you are going to delete one contact, the FullName of the Contact that is going to be deleted will be added to the ConfirmationMessage. If you want to delete several contacts, the selected Contacts count will be added instead.

public class MyConfirmationController : ViewController {
    private string defaultMessage;
    DeleteObjectsViewController deleteObjectsViewController;
    public MyConfirmationController() {
        this.TargetObjectType = typeof(Contact);
    protected override void OnActivated() {
        deleteObjectsViewController = Frame.GetController<DeleteObjectsViewController>();
        if (deleteObjectsViewController != null) {
            defaultMessage = deleteObjectsViewController.DeleteAction.GetFormattedConfirmationMessage();
            View.SelectionChanged += View_SelectionChanged;
    void View_SelectionChanged(object sender, System.EventArgs e) {
    private void UpdateConfirmationMessage() {
        if (View.SelectedObjects.Count == 1) {
            deleteObjectsViewController.DeleteAction.ConfirmationMessage =
                String.Format("You are about to delete the '{0}' Contact. Do you want to proceed?",
        else {
            deleteObjectsViewController.DeleteAction.ConfirmationMessage =
                String.Format("You are about to delete {0} Contacts. Do you want to proceed?",
    protected override void OnDeactivated() {
        if (deleteObjectsViewController != null) {
            View.SelectionChanged -= View_SelectionChanged;
            deleteObjectsViewController.DeleteAction.ConfirmationMessage = defaultMessage;
            deleteObjectsViewController = null;


The View.CurrentObject and View.SelectedObjects properties return IObjectRecord wrappers instead of original business objects when the View operates in the DataView, ServerView, InstantFeedback, or InstantFeedbackView data access mode. To get the real object, use the View.ObjectSpace.GetObject(obj) method.

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