Developing for Windows Mobile – XAML for Win Forms

Many years ago (2004/5?) I was given the task of writing a XAML engine for System.Windows.Forms. It was a great experience and to do the job properly (I hope) it took quite some time. It had support for most of what’s available in WPF’s XAML – namespaces, markup extensions, attached properites (IExtenderProviders in WinForms speak), type converters, late bound binding, styles, triggers etc. plus a bunch of stuff that isn’t – #include, using parameterized constructors, simplified referencing etc.

In my Windows Mobile UI Framework the idea of having the capability of defining screens in XAML was kind of an afterthought. I had truly forgotten how painful it is to define UI’s programmatically. I’ve also never been a fan of form designers – I think they are slow, in-accurate and generate hard to maintain code/XAML. To this day I do 90% of my XAML using an XML editor (VS or Kaxaml).

So as per my last post I whipped up a very simplified XAML parser/renderer to use with my Mobile UI Framework. However, the latest control that I added to the framework was FormHost which allows a System.Windows.Forms control to be hosted within a DrawingElement (my UI base class). Of course when I say “hosted” the FormHost is really just acting as a placeholder so that the hosted control can be positioned during the render pass.

Here’s the code I had to add for FormHost:

using System;
using System.Drawing;
using System.Windows.Forms;
using Spencen.Mobile.UI.Primitives;
namespace Spencen.Mobile.UI.Controls
public class FormHost : DrawingContainer
private Control _hostControl;
public FormHost( IDrawingHost host ) : base( host )
_hostControl = host as Control;
if ( _hostControl == null )
throw new ArgumentException(
"FormHost must have an IDrawingHost that is a Windows.Forms.Control.", "host");
// By default we have no background or border Background = new SolidBrush( Color.Transparent ); Stroke = null; } public Control HostedControl { get; set; } public override bool SupportsRotation { get { return false; } } protected override void OnRender( GraphicsContext context ) { base.OnRender( context ); var transformedBounds = TransformedBounds( context ); if ( !_hostControl.Controls.Contains( HostedControl ) ) _hostControl.Controls.Add( HostedControl ); var newLocation = new Point( transformedBounds.Left, transformedBounds.Top ); if ( newLocation != HostedControl.Location ) HostedControl.Location = newLocation; var newSize = new Size( transformedBounds.Width + 1, transformedBounds.Height + 1); if ( newSize != HostedControl.Size ) HostedControl.Size = newSize; } } }

So pretty simple – but what was extra nice was the fact that it meant I could immediately declare my hosted System.Windows.Forms controls using XAML without any changes to the XAML parser/renderer at all.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?>

<DrawingPanel x:Name="container" DesiredSize="Unbound" Background="{null}">
<TextElement Text="Text" DesiredSize="150,60" AutoSize="True"/> 
<RectangleElement DesiredSize="50,80"/>
    <EllipseElement DesiredSize="40,70"/>
<RegularPolygonElement NumberOfSides="6" DesiredSize="80,80"/>
<RegularPolygonElement NumberOfSides="3" DesiredSize="90,70"/>
<RegularPolygonElement NumberOfSides="8" DesiredSize="80,80"/> <Star NumberOfPoints="5" DesiredSize="80,80"/> <!-- Just to spice things up - here's some WinForms controls - just don't expect them to rotate! --> <FormHost DesiredSize="240,40"> <FormHost.HostedControl> <WinForms:TextBox Text="Hello WinForms" Multiline="True" BackColor="240,255,240"/> </FormHost.HostedControl> </FormHost> <FormHost DesiredSize="240,80"> <FormHost.HostedControl> <WinFormsanel> <WinFormsanel.Controls> <WinForms:RadioButton Checked="True" Text="Is WinForms?" BackColor="255,255,223"
Dock="Top" Height="20"
/> <WinForms:RadioButton Checked="True" Text="Is MobileUI?" BackColor="255,255,223"
/> </WinFormsanel.Controls> </WinFormsanel> </FormHost.HostedControl> </FormHost> </DrawingPanel> </View>

MobileUI_Screenshot 5

Windows Mobile 6.5 Update for HTC Touch Diamond 2 (SE Asia)

Tonight I downloaded and installed the official Windows Mobile 6.5 ROM (SE Asia) on my HTC Touch Diamond 2. I’d previously used Microsoft My Phone software to back up all my personal data (excluding SD card) to the cloud. The re-install process worked flawlessly putting ringtones, contacts, favourites, text message history etc. back just the way they were prior to flashing the ROM – very nice.

However, I’d like to see My Phone do more, specifically:

  • Backup/restore mail settings (most importantly POP)
  • Backup/restore bookmarks for Opera Browser (default on HTC device) – even if converted to IE8 favourites
  • Merge duplicate contacts – the option is there on the website – but it seems to just check for exact duplicates. I want it to merge details for entries that have the same name, e.g. contact listing with IM details, another with phone, yet another with email – merged into a single contact.
  • Less obnoxious advertisements on the website.