#GIS from a .NET developer's perspective

WPF vs. Silverlight - Part 5 - XAML Control Instantiation

See intro blogpost here.

Take a look at the following XAML:

    <UserControl Loaded="UserControl_Loaded">
        <my:MyControl Loaded="MyControl_Loaded" />

Can you guess in what order the following events and methods will be triggered when the XAML loads:

    - UserControl.Constructor
    - MyControl.Constructor
    - UserControl.Loaded event
    - MyControl.Loaded event
    - MyControl.OnApplyTemplate method

Come on... just guess...
The gotcha here is that it will be different for Silverlight and WPF!

Silverlight WPF
UserControl.Constructor UserControl.Constructor
MyControl.Constructor MyControl.Constructor
MyControl.Loaded event MyControl.OnApplyTemplate method
UserControl.Loaded event UserControl.Loaded event
MyControl.OnApplyTemplate method MyControl.Loaded event

Notice how OnApplyTemplate for the custom control fires before the Loaded events in WPF whereas in Silverlight if fires after. Therefore if you have code in OnApplyTemplate)() that relies on the the Loaded event having fired first, this probably won't work in WPF (nevermind the fact that your code is probably poorly designed if that's the case :-). Also note that the order the two loaded events fires are opposite.

This is also documented on MSDN:

The timing of the Loaded event in Silverlight differs from the timing of the FrameworkElement.Loaded event in WPF. Specifically, the WPF Loaded event occurs after the template is applied. In Silverlight, the Loaded event is not guaranteed to occur after the template is applied

A workaround for this is also suggested here:

Next: WPF vs. Silverlight - Part 6 - Debug.WriteLine

WPF vs. Silverlight - Part 4 - Animations

See intro blogpost here.

If you want to work with animations programmatically, and modify them as they run, WPF requires you to start and stop the animation with a few extra parameters, to prevent them from being "frozen". Silverlight doesn't freeze elements, so this is not necessary there.

    myStoryboard.Begin(element, true); //true allows for changing animation later
     myStoryboard.Stop(element); //element parameter required when Begin was called with element

Next: WPF vs. Silverlight - Part 5 - XAML Control Instantiation

WPF vs. Silverlight - Part 3 - Creating Bitmaps Programmatically

See intro blogpost here.

WPF Requires you to call BeginInit and EndInit before and after setting the source. Also the load failed handlers are different.

    BitmapImage bmi = new BitmapImage();
    Image img = new Image();
    bmi.UriSource = new Uri(strUrl, UriKind.Absolute);
    img.ImageFailed += img_ImageFailed;
    bmi.DownloadFailed += bmi_DownloadFailed;
    Image myImage = new Image();
    myImage.Source = bmi;

Next: WPF vs. Silverlight - Part 4 - Animations

WPF vs. Silverlight - Part 2 - XamlReader

See intro blogpost here.

XamlReader has different overloads in WPF and Silverlight. Silverlight takes a string. WPF takes a stream to a string.

    UIElement element;
    element = XamlReader.Load(xaml);
    using (MemoryStream xamlStream = 
        new MemoryStream(UTF8Encoding.Default.GetBytes(xaml)))
        element = XamlReader.Load(xamlStream);

Next: WPF vs. Silverlight - Part 3 - Creating Bitmaps Programmatically

WPF vs. Silverlight - Part 1 - Custom Controls Theme

See intro blogpost here.

When applying default theme and template to custom controls that you declared in "/Themes/Generic.xaml" it's done differently in Silverlight and WPF:

public class MyControl : Control
    public MyControl()
        this.DefaultStyleKey = typeof(MyControl);
    static MyControl() {
            new FrameworkPropertyMetadata(

Also, in the WPF Assembly, you need to register the theme file in AssemblyInfo.cs This is done with the following line of code:

[assembly: ThemeInfo(ResourceDictionaryLocation.None,ResourceDictionaryLocation.SourceAssembly)]

Note: This code is usually added automatically when you create a new WPF project.

Next: WPF vs. Silverlight - Part 2 - XamlReader

WPF vs. Silverlight - Part 0 - Introduction

In my day to day work, I work on building not one, not two, but three .NET API's. One for Silverlight, one for WPF, and one for Windows Phone. However, since this is all based on the same technology (.NET and XAML), we reuse most of our code for all 3 (a rough estimate is 99% is the same code files). That's pretty cool, because I can create one feature in for instance Silverlight, and WPF and Windows Phone will instantly have it.

...well except if I hit one of those inconsistencies that makes up the remaining 1% of code differences. I've searched through our code and looked for the most common code differences in the API's, and the following series will cover these.

When you do need to write platform specific code, you can use a compiler conditional to do it. By default a Silverlight project will have a "SILVERLIGHT" conditional declared that you can use to exclude or include code for a specific platform. This is done by surrounding the code with a #if [condition] ... #endif section. Example:

   //Silverlight and Windows Phone

If you are writing code for Windows Phone as well, note that this is also a Silverlight app, and will compile with the SILVERLIGHT conditional. However, Windows Phone also has a default conditional you can use to exclude/include features separate from Windows Phone:
//Windows phone:

    //Windows Phone
    //Windows Phone and WPF
    //Silverlight but NOT Windows Phone

You will see these conditionals used in the upcoming blogposts to separate the code differences between the platforms. Click to select a topic below:

  1. WPF vs. Silverlight - Part 1 - Custom Controls Theme
  2. WPF vs. Silverlight - Part 2 – XamlReader
  3. WPF vs. Silverlight - Part 3 - Creating Bitmaps Programmatically
  4. WPF vs. Silverlight - Part 4 – Animations
  5. WPF vs. Silverlight - Part 5 - XAML Control Instantiation
  6. WPF vs. Silverlight - Part 6 - Debug.WriteLine
  7. WPF vs. Silverlight - Part 7 - Case sensitivity
  8. WPF vs. Silverlight - Part 8 - Reusing code in Visual Studio #1
  9. WPF vs. Silverlight - Part 9 - Reusing code in Visual Studio #2
  10. WPF vs. Silverlight - Part 10 - XAML Parser Differences 
  11. WPF vs. Silverlight - Part 11 - Silverlight on Phone vs. Browser
  12. More to come… keep checking back… 



A note on our development approach: We generally build a new feature for Silverlight first. Since Silverlight is a subset of WPF, we are less likely to be using an API that's not available in WPF (since it has most of what Silverlight has). We then test the code in WPF and tweak if necessary (tweaks rarely needed). Windows Phone is Silverlight (albeit roughly an earlier version), so we might exclude a feature here and there, but generally the only differences here are various simplifications for performance reasons (most of which isn’t needed with the upcoming Mango release), and of course sometimes retemplating for a smaller touch-centric screen.

.NET Code Reuse presentation

Tomorrow, I’ll be doing a presentation on .NET code reuse across Silverlight, WPF and Windows Phone at the LA SLUG user group meeting.

Microsoft has been touting for a while that you can reuse your code across these platforms, but never really tell you about all the gotcha’s. As part of my day job building the ArcGIS API for Silverlight, WPF and Windows Phone (where 99% of the code is reused), I’ll talk about the experiences and lessons learned, and what usually hides in the remaining 1%.

The meetup will take place:
Wednesday, May 25, 2011 at 7:00 PM (PDT)
United Future / Wongdoody
8500 Steller Dr Culver City, CA

If you are not in the LA Area, you will miss out on the free beer and pizza, but for the first time ever LA SLUG will be streaming the event online. See event details for more info. I’ll post slides (and if there is a recording, a link to that as well) shortly after.

Silverlight vs. WPF

Silverlight or WPF? Who will win? Or will they team up to be the best tigerblood-powered kick-ass platform ever conceived?