Drop-Down UI Type Editors in .NET framework

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Drop-Down UI Type Editors
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Here's how the clock control implements these steps to show a drop-down editor for the Face property: public class FaceEditor : UITypeEditor { public override object EditValue( ITypeDescriptorContext context, IServiceProvider provider, object value) { if( (context != null) && (provider != null) ) { // Access the Property Browser's UI display service IWindowsFormsEditorService editorService = (IWindowsFormsEditorService) providerGetService(typeof(IWindowsFormsEditorService)); if( editorService!= null ) { // Create an instance of the UI editor control FaceEditorControl dropDownEditor = new FaceEditorControl(editorService);
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// Pass the UI editor control the current property value dropDownEditorFace = (ClockFace)value; // Display the UI editor control editorServiceDropDownControl(dropDownEditor); // Return the new property value from the UI editor control return dropDownEditorFace; } } return baseEditValue(context, provider, value); } } When it comes to displaying the UI editor control, you must play nicely in the design-time environment, particularly regarding UI positioning in relation to the Property Browser Specifically, drop-down UI editors must appear flush against the bottom of the property entry and must be sized to the width of the property entry To facilitate this, the Property Browser exposes a service, an implementation of the IWindowsFormsEditorService interface, to manage the loading and unloading of UI editor controls as well as their positioning inside the development environment The FaceEditor type references this service and calls its DropDownControl method to display the FaceEditorControl, relative to Property's Browser edit box When displayed, FaceEditorControl has the responsibility of capturing the user selection and returning control to EditValue with the new value This requires a call to IWindowsFormsEditorServiceCloseDropDown from FaceEditorControl, something you do by passing to FaceEditorControl a reference to the IWindowsFormsEditorService interface: public class FaceEditorControl : UserControl { ClockFace face = ClockFaceBoth; IWindowsFormsEditorService editorService = null; public FaceEditorControl(IWindowsFormsEditorService editorService) { thiseditorService = editorService; } public ClockFace Face { get { } set { } } void picBoth_Click(object sender, SystemEventArgs e) { face = ClockFaceBoth; // Close the UI editor control upon value selection editorServiceCloseDropDown(); } void picAnalog_Click(object sender, SystemEventArgs e) { face = ClockFaceAnalog; // Close the UI editor control upon value selection editorServiceCloseDropDown(); } void picDigital_Click(object sender, SystemEventArgs e) { face = ClockFaceDigital; // Close the UI editor control upon value selection editorServiceCloseDropDown(); }
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} The final step is to associate FaceEditor with the Face property by adorning the property with EditorAttribute: [ CategoryAttribute("Appearance"), DescriptionAttribute("Which style of clock face to display"), DefaultValueAttribute(ClockFaceBoth), EditorAttribute(typeof(FaceEditor), typeof(UITypeEditor)) ] public ClockFace Face { } Now FaceEditor is in place for the Face property When a developer edits that property in Propery Browser, it will show a drop-down arrow and the FaceEditorControl as the UI for the developer to use to choose a value of the ClockFace enumeration
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Modal UI Type Editors
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Although drop-down editors are suitable for single-click selection, there are times when unrestricted editing is required In such situations, you would use a modal UITypeEditor implemented as a modal form For example, the clock control has a digital time format sufficiently complex to edit with a separate dialog outside the Property Browser: public class ClockControl : Control { string digitalTimeFormat = "dd/MM/yyyy hh:mm:ss tt"; [ CategoryAttribute("Appearance"), DescriptionAttribute("The digital time format, "), DefaultValueAttribute("dd/MM/yyyy hh:mm:ss tt"), ] public string DigitalTimeFormat { get { return digitalTimeFormat; } set { digitalTimeFormat = value; thisInvalidate(); } } } Date and Time format strings are composed of a complex array of format specifiers that are not easy to remember and certainly aren't intuitive in a property browser, as shown in Figure 929
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Figure 929 The DigitalTimeFormat Property
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Modal UITypeEditors are an ideal way to provide a more intuitive way to construct hard-toformat property values By providing a custom form, you give developers whatever editing experience is the most conducive for that property type Figure 930 illustrates how the Digital Time Format Editor dialog makes it easier to edit the clock control's DigitTimeFormat property
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