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Caliburn.Micro Soup to Nuts Pt. 1 – Configuration, Actions and Conventions

In this tutorial we will learn a few of the basics of Caliburn.Micro. Let’s start by getting the framework.  Head on over to http://caliburnmicro.codeplex.com/SourceControl/list/changesets  Either use Mercurial to clone the repo or click on the link for the latest change set, then click on the download link. I recommend that you go ahead and get setup with TortoiseHG for Mercurial. You can read here and/or watch a free TekPub video here for information on that.  Once you have the source downloaded, navigate to the “src” folder. Open the “Caliburn.Micro.sln” Pess Ctrl-Shift-B (or use the Build menu) to build the solution in Visual Studio. Now that we have the framework and it’s been successfully built, let’s create a simple application.

Open Visual Studio and create a new Silverlight 4 Application called “Caliburn.Micro.Hello”. You don’t need a web site or test project. Add a reference to System.Windows.Interactivity.dll and Caliburn.Micro.dll. You can find them both in the \src\Caliburn.Micro.Silverlight\Bin\Release (or Debug) folder. Delete “MainPage.xaml” and clean up your “App.xaml.cs” so that it looks like this:

namespace Caliburn.Micro.Hello
{
    using System.Windows;

    public partial class App : Application
    {
        public App()
        {
            InitializeComponent();
        }
    }
}

Since Caliburn.Micro prefers a View-Model-First approach, let’s start there. Create your first VM and call it ShellViewModel. Use the following code for the implementation:

namespace Caliburn.Micro.Hello
{
    using System.Windows;

    public class ShellViewModel : PropertyChangedBase
    {
        string name;

        public string Name
        {
            get { return name; }
            set
            {
                name = value;
                NotifyOfPropertyChange(() => Name);
                NotifyOfPropertyChange(() => CanSayHello);
            }
        }

        public bool CanSayHello
        {
            get { return !string.IsNullOrWhiteSpace(Name); }
        }

        public void SayHello()
        {
            MessageBox.Show(string.Format("Hello {0}!", Name)); //Don't do this.
        }
    }
}

Notice that the ShellViewModel inherits from PropertyChangedBase. This is a base class that implements the infrastructure for property change notification and automatically performs UI thread marshalling. It will come in handy :)

Now that we have our VM, let’s create the bootstrapper that will configure the framework and tell it what to do. Create a new class named HelloBootstrapper. You can use this tiny bit of code:

namespace Caliburn.Micro.Hello
{
    public class HelloBootstrapper : Bootstrapper<ShellViewModel> {}
}

There are two Bootsrappers available in Caliburn.Micro. This version allows you to specify the type of “root view model” via the generic type. The “root view mdoel” is a VM that Caliburn.Micro will instantiate and use to show your application. Next, we need to place the HelloBootstrapper somewhere where it will be run at startup. To do that, change your App.xaml to match this:

<Application xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/winfx/2006/xaml/presentation"
             xmlns:x="http://schemas.microsoft.com/winfx/2006/xaml"
             xmlns:local="clr-namespace:Caliburn.Micro.Hello"
             x:Class="Caliburn.Micro.Hello.App">
    <Application.Resources>
        <local:HelloBootstrapper x:Key="bootstrapper" />
    </Application.Resources>
</Application>

All we have to do is place a Caliburn.Micro bootstrapper in the Application.Resources and it will do the rest of the work.* Now, run the application. You should see something like this:

ViewNotFound

Caliburn.Micro creates the ShellViewModel, but doesn’t know how to render it. So, let’s create a view. Create a new Silverlight User Control named ShellView. Use the following xaml:

<UserControl x:Class="Caliburn.Micro.Hello.ShellView"
             xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/winfx/2006/xaml/presentation"
             xmlns:x="http://schemas.microsoft.com/winfx/2006/xaml">
    <StackPanel>
        <TextBox x:Name="Name" />
        <Button x:Name="SayHello"
                Content="Click Me" />
    </StackPanel>
</UserControl>

Run the application again. You should now see the UI:

ViewFound

Typing something in the TextBox will enable the Button and clicking it will show a message:

ViweWithData

Caliburn.Micro uses a simple naming convention to locate Views for ViewModels.  Essentially, it takes the FullName and removes “Model” from it. So, given MyApp.ViewModels.MyViewModel, it would look for MyApp.Views.MyView. Looking at the View and ViewModel side-by-side, you can see that the TextBox with x:Name=”Name” is bound to the “Name” property on the VM. You can also see that the Button with x:Name=”SayHello” is bound to the method with the same name on the VM.  The “CanSayHello” property is guarding access to the “SayHello” action by disabling the Button. These are the basics of Caliburn.Micro’s ActionMessage and Conventions functionality. There’s much more to show. But, next time I want to show how we can integrate an IoC container such as MEF. This sample is attached below.

 

 

*All the functionality described in this article works identically for both Caliburn.Micro and Caliburn…with one exception. Caliburn does not have a Bootstrapper currently. At this time, you would inherit from CaliburnApplication and override CreateRootModel. In the coming months, Caliburn’s custom application class will be replaced by a bootstrapper mechanism similar to Caliburn.Micro.


Posted 07-06-2010 1:47 PM by Rob Eisenberg

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