How to: Add a Custom Control to a Silverlight Screen

You can add Silverlight controls to a LightSwitch screen. By using Silverlight controls, you can display or collect information in ways that go beyond the capabilities of the built-in LightSwitch controls.

You can use controls that are included in the Silverlight runtime and the Silverlight SDK. You can also use controls that you create by using Silverlight project templates, for example, those that are available in Visual Studio 2010. Both kinds of controls are referred to as custom controls in LightSwitch.

For information about how to create custom controls by using Silverlight project templates in Visual Studio, see Control Basics (Silverlight QuickStart).

You can add a custom control to a screen, either as a new control or as a replacement for an existing LightSwitch control.

To add a custom control to a screen

  1. In the Screen Content Tree, select any group.

  2. At the top of the Screen Designer, click Add Layout Item and then click Custom Control.

  3. In the Add Custom Control dialog box, expand the assembly node, expand the namespace node, and then select the control node.

    If the assembly that you want does not appear in the Add Custom Control dialog box, click Add Reference. In the Add Reference dialog box, select an assembly or local project that contains the control that you want to use, and then click OK.

    Note Note

    If you created this control by using Silverlight project templates in Visual Studio, and you bound the control to data by modifying the XAML of the control, you do not have to perform the next step. For more information about how to bind a custom control to data by modifying the XAML of the control, see Using Custom Controls to Enhance Your LightSwitch Application UI. If the custom control is a built-in Silverlight control, or if you created this control by using Silverlight Project templates in Visual Studio, but you want to bind the control to data by using LightSwitch, proceed to the next step.

  4. In the Specify the data for the new custom control field, type the name of the screen data that you want to bind to the control, and then click OK.

    For example, if you want a custom list box to show names from a collection named CustomerSet, type CustomerSet. If you want the control to show the name of the currently selected customer, type CustomerSet.SelectedItem.ContactName.

  5. Add code that binds the data to a specific property of the control. For more information, see Binding Data to a Property of the Custom Control later in this document.

To use a custom control to replace an existing control

  1. In the Screen Content Tree, in the drop-down list next to the control you want to replace, select Custom Control.

  2. In the Properties window, next to the Custom Control field, click Change

  3. In the Add Custom Control dialog box, expand the assembly node, expand the namespace node, select the control node, and then click OK.

    If the assembly that contains the control does not appear in the Add Custom Control dialog box, click Add Reference. In the Add Reference dialog box, select an assembly or local project that contains the control that you want to use, and then click OK.

  4. Add code that binds the data to a specific property of the control. For more information, see Binding Data to a Property of the Custom Control later in this document.

You must bind the data that you specified in the Add Custom Control dialog box to a specific property of the custom control.

To bind data to a property of the custom control

  1. In the Screen Designer, click the arrow next to the Write Code button and then click any method.

    Note Note

    Choose a method that is executed before you want data to appear in the control at run time, for example, CustomerListDetail_Activated.

    A method block appears in the Code Editor.

  2. In the method block, add code that binds the screen data to a property of the custom control.

    The following example references a custom list box control named Customers. This code binds a data collection that was specified in the Add Custom Control dialog box to a specific property of the list box. This code also specifies that data can be modified by using this control.

    Private Sub CustomersListDetail_Activated()
        Me.FindControl("Customers").SetBinding( _
            System.Windows.Controls.ListBox.ItemsSourceProperty, _
                    "Value", System.Windows.Data.BindingMode.TwoWay)
    End Sub
    
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