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4 BUILDING THE USER INTERFACE LAYER
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You can take advantage of inheritance in a Windows Application project by building a form that is your base form class The code in this form de nes the standard behavior to reuse in other forms You then inherit from that base form class when you create the other forms for the application These forms are called derived form classes The new forms then inherit all the attributes and behaviors of the base form class You can even put controls on the base form class to display them on every derived form, providing visual inheritance This section details how to build a base form class It then demonstrates how to create a derived form class by inheriting from the base form class By using inheritance with your form classes, you can achieve a consistent behavior across all the forms of your application
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Creating the Base Form Class
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De ning a set of event handlers and hooking them up by iterating through all the controls on the form, as demonstrated in the preceding section, ensures that each control on a form behaves consistently But an application normally has many forms To provide consistent functionality in all the forms in your application, you could add the event handler code to a form template, as described in 3 The code would then be copied into each form that uses the template But what if the user wants to change the behavior, like setting the background color to a different color You would then need to modify the copied code in every form Another option is to build a separate utility class to contain the common event handler code Each form would then call this utility class to hook up the controls But this requires that each form correctly call the utility class methods A much better option is to build a base form class A base form class is a normal Windows form that contains any visual elements you would
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like to have on all your forms It also contains all the code that de nes the common behavior for your forms Any other form in your application can then inherit from this base form class to leverage the common controls and code The technique used to create a base form class is no different from creating any other form: add a new form to the project, and then add visual elements and code as needed The only thing that makes a particular form a base form class is that other forms in the application inherit from this form To build a base form class: 1 Add a project item to your Windows Application project using the Windows Form template If you created your own form template, you can use it here Use a clear name for the base form class This helps you (and your project team) keep track of the base form class 2 Optionally add controls as desired If common user interface elements appear on many of the forms of your application, such as a particular icon or set of buttons, adding these to the base form class may be useful Any controls on the base form class appear on every form that inherits from the base form class, providing visual inheritance Frequently, however, forms need to be tailored for a particular scenario so you won t add controls to the base form class 3 Add code as desired Add any code that is common to the forms of your application to the base form class Event handlers that provide a consistent response to form or control events are one of the most common types of code added to a base form class Adding event handlers to the base form class ensures that speci ed events are handled consistently on any form that inherits from the base form class It also minimizes the amount of repetitive code in the forms Following the example from the prior sections, to implement the Enter and Leave event code in all forms, it makes sense to move all the code from the preceding section to a base form class When working with a base form class, you may need to refer to the instance of the derived form that inherits from this base form class For example, the code in the base form class that calls the AddEventHandlers method for the current form is as follows:
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