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How to: Override the Logical Tree

Although it is not necessary in most cases, advanced control authors have the option to override the logical tree.

This example describes how to subclass StackPanel to override the logical tree, in this case to enforce a behavior that the panel may only have and will only render a single child element. This isn't necessarily a practically desirable behavior, but is shown here as a means of illustrating the scenario for overriding an element's normal logical tree.

public class SingletonPanel : StackPanel
{
    //private UIElementCollection _children;  
    private FrameworkElement _child;

    public SingletonPanel() {

    }

    public FrameworkElement SingleChild
    {

        get { return _child;}
        set
        {
            if (value==null) {
                 RemoveLogicalChild(_child);
            } else {             
                 if (_child==null) {
                     _child = value;
                 } else {
                     // raise an exception?
                     MessageBox.Show("Needs to be a single element");
                 }
            }
        } 
    }
    public void SetSingleChild(object child)
    {
        this.AddLogicalChild(child);
    }

    public new void AddLogicalChild(object child)
    {
        _child = (FrameworkElement)child;
        if (this.Children.Count == 1)
        {
            this.RemoveLogicalChild(this.Children[0]);
            this.Children.Add((UIElement)child);
        }
        else
        {
            this.Children.Add((UIElement)child);
        }
    }

    public new void RemoveLogicalChild(object child)

    {
        _child = null;
        this.Children.Clear();
    }
    protected override IEnumerator LogicalChildren
    {
       get {
       // cheat, make a list with one member and return the enumerator
       ArrayList _list = new ArrayList();
       _list.Add(_child);
       return (IEnumerator) _list.GetEnumerator();}
    }
}

For more information on the logical tree, see Trees in WPF.

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