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How to Define and Configure a Grid Control Within a WPF Aplication Using XAML: Part I

Posted by Bechir Bejaoui Articles | XAML August 13, 2008
In this article, I will try to make a representation of the Grid object witch is directly derived from the Panel abstract class and we can say that is a flexible area that contains rows and columns, it plays a role of container in a given WPF window.
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In this article, I will try to make a representation of the Grid object witch is directly derived from the Panel abstract class and we can say that is a flexible area that contains rows and columns, it plays a role of container in a given WPF window. The grid could be found in the PresentationFramework assembly. The grid control could be used to create a complex layout that gives to the application an attractive and ergonomic look. So let's discover how to configure it using XAML in this part and in second part I will illustrate how to perform the same task using the code behind, I mean C#.

At first look, when a new WPF application is defined, we have the impression that there is not controls but the window one, even if the "<Grid></Grid>" tags are presents, and the first question that one can ask is where are the grid lines if it is a grid really? 


Figure 1

I tell you ok try this code:

<Grid ShowGridLines="True">

        <Grid.RowDefinitions>

            <RowDefinition></RowDefinition>

            <RowDefinition></RowDefinition>

            <RowDefinition></RowDefinition>

        </Grid.RowDefinitions>

        <Grid.ColumnDefinitions>

            <ColumnDefinition></ColumnDefinition>

            <ColumnDefinition></ColumnDefinition>

            <ColumnDefinition></ColumnDefinition>

        </Grid.ColumnDefinitions>       

    </Grid>

I use the <Grid.RowDefinitions> to define a collection of rows and a <Grid.ColumnDefinitions> to define columns collection. In the other hand I use <RowDefinition> to define a row element within the grid control and <ColumnDefinitionto define a column element, and then I set ShowGridLines property to true, it is very important in order to render columns and rows visible. The result will be as follows:


Figure 2

The columns and rows definition mode could be, namely star, Auto or Pixel.

The Star definition

It means that the related size could be expressed as weighted proportion of available space, for example if a size of a given first row is double of a second given row size, then the first one will receive two units of the entire grid size, meanwhile, the second one will have one unit as size. Rows and columns sizes are expressed by this symbol * that represents a unit of size. The XAML code sample illustrates how to define a size based on star definition.

<Grid ShowGridLines="True" >

        <Grid.RowDefinitions>

            <RowDefinition></RowDefinition>

            <RowDefinition></RowDefinition>

            <RowDefinition></RowDefinition>

        </Grid.RowDefinitions>

        <Grid.ColumnDefinitions>

            <ColumnDefinition Width="2*"></ColumnDefinition>

            <ColumnDefinition></ColumnDefinition>

            <ColumnDefinition></ColumnDefinition>

        </Grid.ColumnDefinitions>       

    </Grid>

The result of the above code is:


Figure 3

The above code sets the first column width as double of the reset of the columns.

The Pixel definition

It means that the size is defined in terms of pixels such as in the ASP applications. This bellow code illustrate how to define a dimension of a given column or row based on pixels

<Grid ShowGridLines="True" >

        <Grid.RowDefinitions>

            <RowDefinition></RowDefinition>

            <RowDefinition></RowDefinition>

            <RowDefinition></RowDefinition>

        </Grid.RowDefinitions>

        <Grid.ColumnDefinitions>

            <ColumnDefinition Width="100px"></ColumnDefinition>

            <ColumnDefinition></ColumnDefinition>

            <ColumnDefinition></ColumnDefinition>

        </Grid.ColumnDefinitions>       

    </Grid>

And this is a presentation of what could be if such alternative is used


Figure 4

The Auto definition

It means that the size is proportional to the content object size. Once the column or the row width or height is set to auto and there is no object contained with it. It disappears from the grid but it doesn't mean that it is deleted. If you add controls within, it takes exactly the control dimension. For example, if we make a rectification of the previous code

<Grid ShowGridLines="True" >

        <Grid.RowDefinitions>

            <RowDefinition></RowDefinition>

            <RowDefinition></RowDefinition>

            <RowDefinition></RowDefinition>

        </Grid.RowDefinitions>

        <Grid.ColumnDefinitions>

            <ColumnDefinition Width="Auto"></ColumnDefinition>

            <ColumnDefinition></ColumnDefinition>

            <ColumnDefinition></ColumnDefinition>

        </Grid.ColumnDefinitions>       

    </Grid>

The grid appearance will be


Figure 5

Cut  Width="Auto"  then drag and drop a button into the grid and make sure that it is contained within the row 0 , column 0 grid cellule and this is the XAML button code.

<Button Grid.Column="0" Grid.Row="0" Width="100" Name="button1">Button</Button>

Now, paste Width="Auto" exactly in its previous place and you will observe this. As you see the button is clipped rather that scrolled.


Figure 6

That's it. In a next article, How to define and configure a Grid control within a WPF application using XAML: Part II, I will show how to do same task but programmatically using C#

Good Dotneting!!!

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