Why we Blend & Custom combo boxes

5 Feb

I have been sceptical of Expression Blend for a while now. I have found that it is was a marginally better designer than Visual Studio and I didn’t see what the fuss was about. Yesterday I found out a massively powerful feature that now I wouldn’t develop WPF without. The feature I am talking about is the ability to copy existing styles from framework controls such as  a combo-box and change them. This is best demonstrated at the following blog: http://www.designerwpf.com/2008/10/01/how-to-use-a-listview-or-datagrid-in-a-combobox-drop-down-without-a-line-of-code/. For that blog tutorial you don’t need to add a reference like the tutorial asks if you aren’t going to use a datagrid control.

One thing to be careful of is that there will be two item presenters in the template. If you are like me and wanted to make a customizable combo-box drop down but also have the selected item area update then you will need to make your control isEditable=true and isReadOnly=false. This will use the opposite ItemPresenter once isEditable is changed to true. This initially gave me a fright thinking that I would not be able to use isEditable.

If multiple selection is wanted in your custom combo box you can try: http://jobijoy.blogspot.com/2009/02/simple-multiselect-combobox-using.html

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