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What's New in WPF Version 4.5
Windows Presentation Foundation [WPF], what's new
WPF [WPF], what's new

What's New in WPF Version 4.5

This topic contains information about new and enhanced features in [!INCLUDETLA#tla_winclient] version 4.5.

This topic contains the following sections:

Ribbon control

WPF 4.5 ships with a xref:System.Windows.Controls.Ribbon.Ribbon control that hosts a Quick Access Toolbar, Application Menu, and tabs. For more information, see the Ribbon Overview.

Improved performance when displaying large sets of grouped data

UI virtualization occurs when a subset of user interface (UI) elements are generated from a larger number of data items based on which items are visible on the screen. The xref:System.Windows.Controls.VirtualizingPanel defines the xref:System.Windows.Controls.VirtualizingPanel.IsVirtualizingWhenGrouping%2A attached property that enables UI Virtualization for grouped data. For more information about grouping data, see How to: Sort and Group Data Using a View in XAML. For more information about virtualizing grouped data, see the xref:System.Windows.Controls.VirtualizingPanel.IsVirtualizingWhenGrouping%2A attached property.

New features for the VirtualizingPanel

  1. You can specify whether a xref:System.Windows.Controls.VirtualizingPanel, such as the xref:System.Windows.Controls.VirtualizingStackPanel, displays partial items by using the xref:System.Windows.Controls.VirtualizingPanel.ScrollUnit%2A attached property. If xref:System.Windows.Controls.VirtualizingPanel.ScrollUnit%2A is set to xref:System.Windows.Controls.ScrollUnit.Item, the xref:System.Windows.Controls.VirtualizingPanel will only display items that are completely visible. If xref:System.Windows.Controls.VirtualizingPanel.ScrollUnit%2A is set to xref:System.Windows.Controls.ScrollUnit.Pixel, the xref:System.Windows.Controls.VirtualizingPanel can display partially visible items.

  2. You can specify the size of the cache before and after the viewport when the xref:System.Windows.Controls.VirtualizingPanel is virtualizing by using the xref:System.Windows.Controls.VirtualizingPanel.CacheLength%2A attached property. The cache is the amount of space above or below the viewport in which items are not virtualized. Using a cache to avoid generating UI elements as they’re scrolled into view can improve performance. The cache is populated at a lower priority so that the application does not become unresponsive during the operation. The xref:System.Windows.Controls.VirtualizingPanel.CacheLengthUnit%2A?displayProperty=nameWithType property determines the unit of measurement that is used by xref:System.Windows.Controls.VirtualizingPanel.CacheLength%2A?displayProperty=nameWithType.

Binding to static properties

You can use static properties as the source of a data binding. The data binding engine recognizes when the property's value changes if a static event is raised. For example, if the class SomeClass defines a static property called MyProperty, SomeClass can define a static event that is raised when the value of MyProperty changes. The static event can use either of the following signatures.

  • public static event EventHandler MyPropertyChanged;

  • public static event EventHandler<PropertyChangedEventArgs> StaticPropertyChanged;

Note that in the first case, the class exposes a static event named PropertyNameChanged that passes xref:System.EventArgs to the event handler. In the second case, the class exposes a static event named StaticPropertyChanged that passes xref:System.ComponentModel.PropertyChangedEventArgs to the event handler. A class that implements the static property can choose to raise property-change notifications using either method.

Accessing collections on non-UI Threads

WPF enables you to access and modify data collections on threads other than the one that created the collection. This enables you to use a background thread to receive data from an external source, such as a database, and display the data on the UI thread. By using another thread to modify the collection, your user interface remains responsive to user interaction.

Synchronously and Asynchronously validating data

The xref:System.ComponentModel.INotifyDataErrorInfo interface enables data entity classes to implement custom validation rules and expose validation results asynchronously. This interface also supports custom error objects, multiple errors per property, cross-property errors, and entity-level errors. For more information, see xref:System.ComponentModel.INotifyDataErrorInfo.

Automatically updating the source of a data binding

If you use a data binding to update a data source, you can use the xref:System.Windows.Data.BindingBase.Delay%2A property to specify an amount of time to pass after the property changes on the target before the source updates. For example, suppose that you have a xref:System.Windows.Controls.Slider that has its xref:System.Windows.Controls.Primitives.RangeBase.Value%2A property data two-way bound to a property of a data object and the xref:System.Windows.Data.Binding.UpdateSourceTrigger%2A property is set to xref:System.Windows.Data.UpdateSourceTrigger.PropertyChanged. In this example, when the user moves the xref:System.Windows.Controls.Slider, the source updates for each pixel that the xref:System.Windows.Controls.Slider moves. The source object typically needs the value of the slider only when the slider's xref:System.Windows.Controls.Primitives.RangeBase.Value%2A stops changing. To prevent updating the source too often, use xref:System.Windows.Data.BindingBase.Delay%2A to specify that the source should not be updated until a certain amount of time elapses after the thumb stops moving.

Binding to types that Implement ICustomTypeProvider

WPF supports data binding to objects that implement xref:System.Reflection.ICustomTypeProvider, also known as custom types. You can use custom types in the following cases.

  1. As a xref:System.Windows.PropertyPath in a data binding. For example, the xref:System.Windows.Data.Binding.Path%2A property of a xref:System.Windows.Data.Binding can reference a property of a custom type.

  2. As the value of the xref:System.Windows.DataTemplate.DataType%2A property.

  3. As a type that determines the automatically generated columns in a xref:System.Windows.Controls.DataGrid.

Retrieving data binding information from a binding expression

In certain cases, you might get the xref:System.Windows.Data.BindingExpression of a xref:System.Windows.Data.Binding and need information about the source and target objects of the binding. New APIs have been added to enable you to get the source or target object or the associated property. When you have a xref:System.Windows.Data.BindingExpression, use the following APIs to get information about the target and source.

To find this value of the binding Use this API
The target object xref:System.Windows.Data.BindingExpressionBase.Target%2A?displayProperty=nameWithType
The target property xref:System.Windows.Data.BindingExpressionBase.TargetProperty%2A?displayProperty=nameWithType
The source object xref:System.Windows.Data.BindingExpression.ResolvedSource%2A?displayProperty=nameWithType
The source property xref:System.Windows.Data.BindingExpression.ResolvedSourcePropertyName%2A?displayProperty=nameWithType
Whether the xref:System.Windows.Data.BindingExpression belongs to a xref:System.Windows.Data.BindingGroup xref:System.Windows.Data.BindingExpressionBase.BindingGroup%2A?displayProperty=nameWithType
The owner of a xref:System.Windows.Data.BindingGroup xref:System.Windows.Data.BindingGroup.Owner%2A

Checking for a valid DataContext object

There are cases where the xref:System.Windows.FrameworkElement.DataContext%2A of an item container in an xref:System.Windows.Controls.ItemsControl becomes disconnected. An item container is the UI element that displays an item in an xref:System.Windows.Controls.ItemsControl. When an xref:System.Windows.Controls.ItemsControl is data bound to a collection, an item container is generated for each item. In some cases, item containers are removed from the visual tree. Two typical cases where an item container is removed are when an item is removed from the underlying collection and when virtualization is enabled on the xref:System.Windows.Controls.ItemsControl. In these cases, the xref:System.Windows.FrameworkElement.DataContext%2A property of the item container will be set to the sentinel object that is returned by the xref:System.Windows.Data.BindingOperations.DisconnectedSource%2A?displayProperty=nameWithType static property. You should check whether the xref:System.Windows.FrameworkElement.DataContext%2A is equal to the xref:System.Windows.Data.BindingOperations.DisconnectedSource%2A object before accessing the xref:System.Windows.FrameworkElement.DataContext%2A of an item container.

Repositioning data as the data's values change (Live shaping)

A collection of data can be grouped, sorted, or filtered. WPF 4.5 enables the data to be rearranged when the data is modified. For example, suppose that an application uses a xref:System.Windows.Controls.DataGrid to list stocks in a stock market and the stocks are sorted by stock value. If live sorting is enabled on the stocks' xref:System.Windows.Data.CollectionView, a stock's position in the xref:System.Windows.Controls.DataGrid moves when the value of the stock becomes greater or less than another stock's value. For more information, see the xref:System.ComponentModel.ICollectionViewLiveShaping interface.

Improved Support for Establishing a Weak Reference to an Event

Implementing the weak event pattern is now easier because subscribers to events can participate in it without implementing an extra interface. The generic xref:System.Windows.WeakEventManager class also enables subscribers to participate in the weak event pattern if a dedicated xref:System.Windows.WeakEventManager does not exist for a certain event. For more information, see Weak Event Patterns.

New methods for the Dispatcher class

The Dispatcher class defines new methods for synchronous and asynchronous operations. The synchronous xref:System.Windows.Threading.Dispatcher.Invoke%2A method defines overloads that take an xref:System.Action or xref:System.Func%601 parameter. The new asynchronous method, xref:System.Windows.Threading.Dispatcher.InvokeAsync%2A, also takes an xref:System.Action or xref:System.Func%601 as the callback parameter and returns a xref:System.Windows.Threading.DispatcherOperation or xref:System.Windows.Threading.DispatcherOperation%601. The xref:System.Windows.Threading.DispatcherOperation and xref:System.Windows.Threading.DispatcherOperation%601 classes define a xref:System.Threading.Tasks.Task property. When you call xref:System.Windows.Threading.Dispatcher.InvokeAsync%2A, you can use the await keyword with either the xref:System.Windows.Threading.DispatcherOperation or the associated xref:System.Threading.Tasks.Task. If you need to wait synchronously for the xref:System.Threading.Tasks.Task that is returned by a xref:System.Windows.Threading.DispatcherOperation or xref:System.Windows.Threading.DispatcherOperation%601, call the xref:System.Windows.Threading.TaskExtensions.DispatcherOperationWait%2A extension method. Calling xref:System.Threading.Tasks.Task.Wait%2A?displayProperty=nameWithType will result in a deadlock if the operation is queued on a calling thread. For more information about using a xref:System.Threading.Tasks.Task to perform asynchronous operations, see Task Parallelism (Task Parallel Library).

Markup Extensions for Events

WPF 4.5 supports markup extensions for events. While WPF does not define a markup extension to be used for events, third parties are able to create a markup extension that can be used with events.

See Also

What's New in the .NET Framework