Morse Coder Part 7 : Data Binding User Controls

User controls offer a way to abstract common areas of your User Interface in a reusable package, allowing you to simplify your views and push some of the complexity of your UI into more manageable pieces.  This tutorial will focus on Data Binding to Properties on a User Control from a ViewModel.

Outcome

By the end of this post we should have a basic User Control bound against some Commands living in the MainViewModel to manipulate the content of the Input, in our case, we’ll offer a way to input Morse Code (dots/dashes) outside of needing to use a Keyboard in preparation for extending the App to translate both ways from the User Interface.
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Morse Coder : GitHub repo now available

The solution for my Morse Coder series of Universal App Tutorials is now available on GitHub:

https://github.com/mjcdev/MorseCoder

Have a look if you’ve been following the tutorials or are just curious.  I’ll be adding to this in alignment with the tutorials.

Hope it helps!

Morse Coder Part 5 : Unit Testing with the Microsoft Unit Test Framework

How do we know that our Morse Code Translation Logic is working correctly? This is where Unit Tests prove to be a valuable tool to have in our toolkit. There are a number of Test Frameworks available, NUnit, XUnit, etc. Given that we’re using PCLs targeting Universal Apps, our choices are limited slightly at this stage, so for simplicity and speed of getting up and running we can use the Libraries and Test projects bundled with Visual Studio. There’s masses of documentation and blog posts around Unit Testing and Test Driven Development (TDD) so I won’t go into the why’s here, but if you’re new to the concept I would recommend you read The Three Rules of TDD by Robert C Martin (Uncle Bob).

(If we were following strict TDD, these tests would have been written before we created the translators, but we’ll look past that for now!)

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Morse Coder Part 4 : Dependency Injection with MVVM Light SimpleIoc

To date, we have a functional, but basic set of Windows Phone and Windows Store applications which can translate Alphabetical Input to Morse Code. One of the key tenets of MVVM Light is the ability to inject design time services or functionality to provide a better design experience. We need somewhere to store our Application Settings, along with a means of setting and retrieving them, we won’t cover the implementation of this, but we will cover the creation of our interface and the implementation of a design time settings class.

Outcome

By the end of this post we will have, at design time, the ability to manipulate a settings class to be used with the designer in Visual Studio, or through Expression Blend. This will be done via an application settings interface detailing what data we need to store and of course what type it needs to be. As we are targeting multiple platforms, the interface, in a future post will be implemented to provide the storage of our settings per operating system.

One of the main benefits of using Dependency Injection to achieve this is that the implementation of our ViewModel is not concerned with where it retrieves information from and doesn’t need to make decisions depending on which context it is being ran in, this moves us closer to alignment with the Single Responsibility Principle.

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Morse Coder Part 3 : Data Binding with MVVM Light in Universal Apps

Data Binding can be used to dynamically bind information from a set of objects (View Model) to controls on a page (View). Following from the previous post, Morse Coder Part 2, we will be adding some flesh to the User Interface to take input from the user, process, in our case ‘translate’, and return output back to the user via our ViewModel.

Outcome

By the end of this post we should have a basic, but functional User Interface, taking a sentence from the user via a TextBox, and returning a Morse translation via a TextBlock. We’ll also start to consider Background Colour bindings. As before, this will cover both Windows 8.1. and Windows Phone.

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Morse Coder Part 2 : Portable Class Libraries with Universal Apps

Portable Class Libraries allow the reuse of code cross-platform, following from the previous post, Morse Coder Part 1, we will be implementing a very basic Portable Class Library (PCL), again targeting Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1.

Background

Portable Class Libraries provide a means of sharing code between Projects targeting different types at the Solution/Project level, they differ from Shared Code Projects in that Shared Projects share resources at compile time and compile as ‘part of’ their host project. You choose your Targets as part of the configuration of the Project, the result being a subset of libraries and namespaces being made available based on intersection of what’s available in the chosen Targets. We will be looking at Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1, this could be extended at a later date to include a number of other platforms, such as Silverlight, Xamarin, etc.

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