Binding to Business Objects Through the Data Sources Window in .NET framework

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Binding to Business Objects Through the Data Sources Window
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Now that we have stepped through how to declare business objects and collections that support the full range of functionality for data binding, let's look again at the easiest way to use them in data-binding scenarios using the Data Sources window The CustomBusinessObjects sample actually declared the Customer, Order, CustomerCollection, and TestDataGenerator classes in a separate class library assembly from the Windows application project that was being used to test them To show how easy it is to use these types with data binding, let's add a new form, called CustomersForm, to the Windows application project CustomBusinessObjectsClient
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1 Set a reference to the CustomBusinessObjects class library in that project
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2 Bring up the Data Sources window, which is initially blank
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3 Click on the Add New Data Source link, which displays the Data Source Configuration wizard
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4 Select Object as the Data source type in the first step 5 On the next page, Select the Object you wish to bind to,"navigate to the CustomerCollection type, as shown inFigure 95
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Figure 95 Selecting the Object Type for a Data Source
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6 Click Finish A data source for theCustomerCollection with the CustomerId, CustomerName, and Orders properties will display, as shown inFigure 96
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Figure 96 Data Sources Window with Custom Object Collection
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7 Drag the CustomerCollection onto the CustomerForm design surface from the Data Sources window, and a DataGridView, BindingSource, and BindingNavigator are added and wired up so that the grid is ready to present customer collections
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8 Add enough code to get an instance of the CustomersCollection (through the TestDataGenerator class), and set the DataSource of the BindingSource to that live instance of a CustomersCollection:
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private void OnFormLoad(object sender, EventArgs e) { m_CustomerCollectionBindingSourceDataSource = TestDataGeneratorGetCustomerCollection(); }
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With these few steps, you can see that it is just as easy to set up data binding to custom objects and collections using the designer as it is to set up data binding for a data set However, as you saw in the rest of this chapter, there is certainly a lot more work involved in defining the custom object and collection types themselves so that they will work properly in a data-binding scenario
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In this chapter, you stepped through the concepts behind defining and using custom business objects for data binding in Windows Forms 20 It all comes down to supporting the various data-binding interfaces at the object and collection level You learned how to define objects that support transacted editing and property change notifications, and about the various kinds of collections you can define and use in data-binding scenarios The bottom line to take away is that you should favor using the BindingList<T> generic type, or a derived class from it, to define collections of business objects that you expect to use for data binding You may also want to provide implementations for sorting, searching, and filtering depending on your needs through your derived collection class implementation In case it isn't clear by now, creating collections and objects that support the full spectrum of data binding is a lot of work I am a big proponent of using typed data sets as containers for business entity data, rather than defining custom objects when they will be used in data-binding scenarios One of the main reasons why is because the data set and its contained objects already do all of this for you in a well-tested and proven way Specifically, the DataView and DataRowView classes provide full implementations of all of the interfaces covered, and the classes will work fine for just about any kind of data that you need to put into them If you are bringing data into your presentation layer for the purposes of data binding, your first instinct should be to use the power of the data set to contain that data, rather than needing to go to a lot of work to properly implement the objects and collections just to make them suitable for data binding in the interest of object-oriented purity Some key takeaways from this chapter are:
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The DataSet class and its contained objects already do all of this for you, so use typed data sets whenever you can to save having to try and recreate the rich data containment functionality that is already written for you Favor using BindingList<T> for a strongly typed collection class that supports rich data binding Inherit from BindingList<T> to add support for sorting, searching, and filtering Add implementations of INotifyPropertyChanged to support ListChanged notifications from a BindingList<T> collection when property values change
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The next chapter finishes the coverage of the concepts behind building data-bound Windows Forms applications with a discussion of validation and error handlingtwo things that are key to building rich and robust data applications that do what the user expects them to do It discusses both the built-in mechanisms for validation and error handling in the Windows Forms controls, and how to supplement what is provided to save repetition in writing your validation and error-handling code
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