Tags: , | Categories: Articles, Tutorials Posted by RTomlinson on 2/22/2011 10:26 PM | Comments (0)

This is the first in the series of WP7 tips that I picked up whilst developing StackO for Windows Phone 7. I have to say, that I am no Silverlight (or WP7) expert and there may be better ways to do certain things from what I write about in these posts, and if there are then I’d love to here them, so please leave comments. Hopefully, some of these tips will help you along a little quicker in getting your apps to market.

The TheNounProject.com is an absolutely excellent resource for iconography. Their mission is to:

"sharing, celebrating and enhancing the world's visual language".

There are over 500 icons there that fit perfectly with the metro style that the WP7 adopts providing visual metaphors to use throughout your application, absolutely free.

These icons are downloaded as SVG’s and the WP7 ApplicationBar will only accept PNG images. In addition, you will most probably want these images to be themable.

WP7 theming is pretty clever. If you use a PNG icon that has a transparent background and the image itself is completely white. Then if the dark theme is used your image will remain white, however, if you switch to the light theme then the image is changed automatically to black. This tutorial details the steps to take the SVG’s from TheNounProject and convert them to theme aware icons for WP7.

Firstly, choose an appropriate image. For StackO, I used the “Eye” icon. blackeye

Download the icon to somewhere local on your machine.

Next you need to download and install ImageMagick. Again, there might be other ways to do this but this was the first solution I found.

Open up a Command Prompt and navigate to the location of your SVG you downloaded. We are going to use the convert tool from ImageMagick to do the conversion, set the background to transparent, fill the image with white and resize it to 48px (the recommended image size for ApplicationIcons).

Use the following command:

convert -background none -fill white -resize 48 noun_project_388_1.svg whiteeye_42.png


The output is exactly what we want.eye_white_42

Try it out. Add it to your project and set the IconUrl to the PNG. Now if you go into your WP7 Settings and change the theme from dark to light you will see that the icon is changed for you. Brilliant!

Tags: , | Categories: Articles, Tutorials Posted by RTomlinson on 2/11/2011 11:02 PM | Comments (0)

Very simple one here, but one that may not seem completely obvious to those new to Silverlight.

The Scenario

A very common scenario in Silverlight is to databing the visibility of a control to a boolean value in your code. At first you may think you can just do inline binding as normal:

<Image Source="AnImage.png" Visibility="{Binding Accepted}" />


Today I was trying to do similar with a new project I'm working on. A StackExchange (StackOverflow family of sites) application for Windows Phone 7 that brings the popular family of sites to the mobile. In particular I was trying to indicate which answer in particular was the correct one. To do this I used the Image control (as above) to display a green tick icon, similar to that on the StackOverflow website and bind the Accepted property to controls it's visibility.

The Solution

Unfortunately the visibility property is of type System.Windows.Visibility. Therefore we need to implement IValueConverter to take our boolean property and convert that to System.Windows.Visibility. You can then add this IValueConverter implementation to your XAML as a resource and specify the converter as a part of the binding process in your XAML.


   1:      public class VisibilityConverter : IValueConverter
   2:      {
   3:          public object Convert(
   4:              object value,
   5:              Type targetType,
   6:              object parameter,
   7:              CultureInfo culture)
   8:          {
   9:              bool visibility = (bool)value;
  10:              return visibility ? Visibility.Visible : Visibility.Collapsed;
  11:          }
  13:          public object ConvertBack(
  14:              object value,
  15:              Type targetType,
  16:              object parameter,
  17:              CultureInfo culture)
  18:          {
  19:              Visibility visibility = (Visibility)value;
  20:              return (visibility == Visibility.Visible);
  21:          }
  22:      }


And the XAML:


   1:  <helpers:VisibilityConverter x:Key="VisibilityConverter"></helpers:VisibilityConverter>

   1:  <Image Source="/Images/Icons/correct_answer.png" Visibility="{Binding Accepted, Converter={StaticResource VisibilityConverter}}"></Image>


Again it may seem a little obvious but I hope this comes in handy for those new to Silverlight databinding.

Tags: , , | Categories: Articles, Tutorials Posted by RTomlinson on 6/15/2010 10:15 PM | Comments (0)

The Telerik RadGrid is a great grid component for .NET developers and I can't recommend it, or the rest of the ASP.NET controls from Telerik, highly enough. The control has a vast amount of options, from drag and drop columns, filtering, templating and hierarchical databinding. Go and check out the demo's on their demo website. This post will cover setting up the data access for true data paging as well as hooking into the appropriate server side events

The grid can handle 300,000 rows with in-memory databinding, according to the Telerik website. When you potentially reach this upper limit and beyond you want to look at true data paging of results SQL Server side, which is made even more easier in SQL Server 2005 and later using Common Table Expressions. This is the most efficient way of data paging within SQL by supplying a page number and a page size to work out the record set to retrieve, improving website response time and saving memory allocation. See an example below:

CREATE PROCEDURE [dbo].[Web_Accounts_Get]
    @CompanyID int,
    @PageSize int = 10,
    @PageNumber int = 1

    DECLARE @PageRecordStart INT
    DECLARE @PageRecordEnd INT

    SET @PageRecordStart = ((@PageNumber - 1 ) * @PageSize) + 1
    SET @PageRecordEnd = @PageNumber * @PageSize 

    ;WITH Accounts_Page AS
        SELECT Row_Number() OVER (ORDER BY [AccountName]) AS RowNo
        FROM [dbo].[tblAccount] WITH (NOLOCK)
        WHERE [CompanyID] = @CompanyID
    SELECT ,[Id]
    FROM Accounts_Page
    WHERE RowNo BETWEEN @PageRecordStart and @PageRecordEnd 


The Telerik RadGrid exposes an OnNeedDataSource event that you can hook into to provide data access to bind to the grid. Here I use the RadGrid's CurrentPageIndex and PageSize properties to pass to my data access for our SQL CTE.

        protected void rdgrdAccounts_OnNeedDataSource(object sender, GridNeedDataSourceEventArgs e)
            int startRowIndex = rdgrdAccounts.CurrentPageIndex + 1;
            int maximumRows = rdgrdAccounts.PageSize;

            rdgrdAccounts.VirtualItemCount = Account.CountForFilters(CompanyId, filters);
            rdgrdAccounts.DataSource = Account.GetAccounts(CompanyId, maximumRows, startRowIndex);

In the next post I will cover allowing multiple checkbox selection of rows when using true data paging.

Tags: , , | Categories: Articles, Tutorials Posted by RTomlinson on 9/3/2009 6:58 PM | Comments (10)

In Part 1 and Part 2 I covered how I went about building an authorization framework using Rhino Security. I am now going to cover how to integrate this into your domain model (business objects) and how we can use dynamic discovery for permission registration and database persistence.

In essence what I am saying here is that given the scenario whereby we have a domain object (lets use that of a Company business object, for example) we could state what available permissions that object could have. This post will therefore cover:

  • Defining permissions at an object level
  • The ability to register those permissions in the database

Defining Object Permissions

Having considered various implementations, I finally decided to go with an attribute based approach. The attribute requires the operation that you want access control over and to what level of granularity. For example, given the flexibility of the Rhino Security implementation we can use the operation convention of /BUSINESSOBJECT/OPERATION or /BUSINESSOBJECT/METHOD/OPERATION OR /BUSINESSOBJECT/PROPERTY/OPERATION.

In reality this would result in the following examples:

  • /Company/Add
  • /Company/Delete
  • /User/UserName/Set
As you can see this attribute (ACL) used below, it takes as a parameter, the operation and an enum that states what type of permission it is.

namespace MyApp.Core
    [ACL("/User/Add", "Restrict the ability to add new users", ACLType.ObjectLevel)]
    public class User : Entity, IUser
        private IAuthorizationRepository _authRepo;
        protected User(IAuthorizationRepository authRepo) 
            _authRepo = authRepo;

        public User() 
            _authRepo = ResolveType.Of<IAuthorizationRepository>();

        [Length(6, 512)]
        public virtual string UserName { get; set; }

        [Length(6, 512)]
        public virtual string Password { get; set; }


Dynamic Permissions Discovery

Having created an attribute to apply the required information to an object we can use reflection to discover all of our permissions. Those permissions that have not been registered in the database can then be registered and any that no longer exist can be marked accordingly. The way that I implemented this was run this discovery in the Application_Start event of the Global.asax. Therefore whenever we start our application this process takes place and the overhead of some pretty heavy reflection is less of an issue.

This process, although sounding quote complex, is actually very very simple. I call a static Discover method that uses relflection to reflect the assembly, find those objects that the ACLAttribute has been applied to, checks whether that object is registered and if not then registers it.

public static void Discover(Castle.Windsor.IWindsorContainer Container)
  Assembly asm = Assembly.Load("MyApp.Core");

  Type[] types = asm.GetTypes();

  Type securityPermission = asm.GetType("MyApp.Core.Security.ACLAttribute", false);
  PropertyInfo operation = securityPermission.GetProperty("Operation");
  RegisterAssemblyTypes(Container, types, securityPermission, operation);

private static void RegisterAssemblyTypes(Castle.Windsor.IWindsorContainer Container, Type[] types, Type securityPermission, PropertyInfo operation)
  foreach (Type t in types)
    object[] objs = t.GetCustomAttributes(securityPermission, false);

    foreach (object o in objs)
      if (!Registered(operation.GetValue(o, null).ToString(), Container))
        Register(operation.GetValue(o, null).ToString(), Container);

This implementation works very well. It involves minimal work work the developer. When a new permission is required it simply means adding an attribute to the appropriate business object. This permission will then be automatically registered and will be visible within the permissions section of the application, allowing the administrator to associate a particular user with that permission to allow or deny the operation.

In the next post I will detail the how I implemented this using some nice jQuery iPhone checkboxes on top of the standard ASP.NET checkbox control.