Data Binding with WPF

Instructor: David Gloag

David has over 40 years of industry experience in software development and information technology and a bachelor of computer science

In this lesson, we'll take a look at data binding, what it is, what WPF is, and how the two are related. At the end, you should have a solid understanding of this interesting technology.

Simplifying Software Development

Writing software is a complex activity. Programmers have to connect their applications to information sources, then their applications have to crunch the information from those sources, and they have to present the results to their users. It is a difficult endeavor to be sure. It gets even more troublesome when you consider that information can be located anywhere in the world, there is typically a lot of it, and it has to be displayed on a multitude of devices ranging from cell phones to desktop computers. Clearly, some means to simplify the process is in order. One way we can do that is through data binding and WPF.

What is Data Binding?

In its simplest form, data binding is the process of mapping an information source with a display element. That connection allows the display element, such as a text box or a drop-down list, to gather the information it needs for display. As an example, think about the font selection drop-down on the 'Home' tab of Microsoft Word. You click the arrow with your mouse, a small window is displayed, and a list of the fonts available on your system appears in the window. Data Binding can be one-way or two-way. In one-way, the information flows from the data source to the display element. In two-way, it can also flow back.

What is WPF?

WPF is an acronym that stands for Windows Presentation Foundation. It is a Microsoft technology that provides a device independent way of presenting information to the user from a programming perspective. WPF is part of Microsoft's .NET offering, and includes a number of useful features:

  • XAML - Extensible Application Markup Language, a text-based method for specifying and configuring the particulars of a UI
  • Controls - visual objects that a user can interact with such as windows, list boxes, and text boxes
  • Layout - the ability to position elements on the display
  • Graphics - visual objects like icons and images
  • Animation - visual objects like video clips and movies
  • Styles - a method for capturing a visual look and using it in another place
  • Templates - a method for capturing groups of controls for display in other places
  • Documents - the means to represent text in a way that is efficient for display
  • Text - displayed characters
  • Typography - the fonts, sizes, and orientation of text displayed

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