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Cutting Edge: Custom Design-time Control Features in Visual Studio .NET

Posted By:      Posted Date: August 21, 2010    Points: 0   Category :ASP.Net

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Visual Studio .NET: Building Windows Forms Controls and Components with Rich Design-Time Features, P


This is the second of two articles discussing the extremely rich design-time features of the .NET Framework. Part 1 discussed the basics, showing you where to start and how to extend your control implementation through attributes and interfaces, as well as their effects on the property browser, code serialization, and other controls. Part 2 continues the journey by concentrating on design-time functionality that you can implement beyond your components and controls, including TypeConverters, UITypeEditors, and Designers. It would be impossible to cover everything you can do in two short articles, which is a testament to just how all-encompassing and flexible the design-time capability of the .NET Framework is.

Michael Weinhardt and Chris Sells

MSDN Magazine May 2003

Visual Studio .NET: Building Windows Forms Controls and Components with Rich Design-Time Features


Visual Studio .NET provides support for designing rich features into your controls and components, allowing you to set properties, set form placement, inherit from base classes, and much more. So how does Visual Studio .NET do all this? What does the Windows Forms designer do? What's the difference between a control and a component? How does Visual Studio integrate your controls so that they can access features of the .NET Framework?In this article, the authors answer these common questions by building a clock control and taking the reader along for the ride. In building the control, hosts and containers are illustrated, the property browser is explained, debugging is discussed, and a general overview of the design-time infrastructure is presented.

Michael Weinhardt and Chris Sells

MSDN Magazine April 2003

How to implement Design-Time drag & drop from Custom Visual Studio Tool Window to WPF Designer

Hi, Could someone tell me if it is possible to intercept a design time drop event coming from a custom Visual Studio tool window onto the cider design surface? I am hoping to use the same API's as those used by the Visual Studio 2010 'Data Sources' tool window, which provides drag & drop data-binding between classes and WPF/Silverlight controls. My requirement is to pass a DataObject (used with the WPF DragDrop API) from my custom Visual Studio WPF tool window treeview to my custom WPF control at design time, read the data and do some binding/XAML manipulation of my own. The drag aspect is simple enough but I can't work out how to accept a drop event from anything other than the toolbox. At the moment, when I drag my treenode over the design surface it shows the 'cannot drop here' cursor. If someone could give me some insight into how the 'Data Sources' tool window allows dragging of treenodes to controls I would really appreciate it. It is obviously possible but which API's are used and are they public? Thanks in advance, Paul  

Custom Control Design-Time SiteMap Provider Error


Greetings - I was referred here by MSDN forums hope this is the right place -  

I have a custom control (:WebControl) that renders web.sitemap in a specific way. While it runs error free and produces the expected result, at Design-Time it complains

Error Creating Control - MyControl  The provider 'AspNetXmlSiteMapProvider' specified for the defaultProvider does not exist in the providers collection.

I have discovered that the error is cause by this line of code:

string div = string.Format("<div class='{0}' id='{1}'>{2}</div>", this.CssClass, this.ID.ToString(), EnumerateNodesRecursive(SiteMap.RootNode, level));

or more specifically, by the reference to SiteMap.RootNode - I am not clear what is missing thoough because I have configured the SiteMapProvider in web.config as this:

        <add name="AspNetXmlSiteMapProvider" 
             type="System.Web.XmlSiteMapProvider, System.Web, Version=2.0.3600.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b03f5f7f11d50a3a" 

Cutting Edge: Custom Data Control Fields


In ASP. NET 2. 0, the GridView and DetailsView controls are designed to work together. They don't merely provide complementary services, they also share a number of helper classes and components. The output of the GridView control consists of a sequence of rows, each with a fixed number of columns.

Dino Esposito

MSDN Magazine January 2006

Visual Studio 2010 - Design Mode Error - "Error Creating Control"



I am using Visual Studio 2010.  I was debugging a web application and an exception happened and VS 2010 froze.  I ended the VS 2010 in the task manager and when I went back to developing, I found on every form for every ASP.net control I get:


Error Creating Control -

Error HRESULT E_FAIL has been returned from a call to a COM component.


Also I am unable to edit  the form or add anything from the toolbox.


Any help on this matter will be appreciated.





Accessing Property Value of a Custom Control by another Custom Control in Design-time



I created an Extender which has a custom property that drills down a list XML elements from an xml file, where users can select xml elements during design-time. This works perfectly fine. However, my code only has a hardcoded xml filename (source of the xml elements list) and I need to change this by maxing the xml file user-specified.

What I did is that I created another control (panel) which has a custom property that when clicked (through the ellipsis), it will allow a developer to select the xml file which is supposed to be the source xml file that the Extenders shall use. The filedialog from custom panel's property works perfectly fine.

However, my problem now is that when I drag-drop my Extender, I cannot find a way to get the property value of the custom Panel Control which contains the xml filename. I tried creating a static variable which I thought the custom controls can share but VS2010 is breaking.

Please take note that my problem is on Design-time, asp.net.

Appreciate any help. Thanks a lot.

Dhon Nuevo.

Error creating control contentplaceholder1 Visual Studio 2010 design mode


After I imported a VS 2008 web project to VS 2010, I can't view aspx pages that have master pages in design mode. The page design mode displays "error creating control - contentplacehoder1 object reference not set to an instance of an object." The project builds and runs fine though. I have only one master page that all other aspx pages reference and I don't have any nested master pages. Can anybody help me with this? Thanks in advance.

Visual Studio Designer does not display custom control with embedded image



I am developing a custom control which includes an embeded image to display in the design mode of the control. The Visual Studio designer does not display the image of the custom control. Here is the html generated by the overloaded GetDesignTimeHtml() function:


<div style='height:30px;width:215px;border:5;'><input type="text" value="[DropDownListMultiColumn1]" style="height:25px;width:175px;margin:0;padding:0;border-spacing:0;" /><img  src="data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAAA0AAAASCAIAAAAPCcNlAAAAAXNSR0IArs4c6QAAAARnQU1BAACxjwv8YQUAAAAgY0hSTQAAeiYAAICEAAD6AAAAgOgAAHUwAADqYAAAOpgAABdwnLpRPAAAAEpJREFUKFNjPHDgAAMh4ODgwABU9x8vaGhoAJkDUQckcYEhqA4tfCA+w+4PuFK493H6FxJYhNWhBeQQDD+sSQHhDyALPyCUPpHkAUdqnQngjlwtAAAAAElFTkSuQmCC" style="height:20px;width:15px;margin:0;padding:0;border-spacing:0;" /></div>


This markup displays as expected within an html form. However, in Visual Studio, it shows a red x where the image should be displayed.

Cutting Edge: Code Contracts Settings in Visual Studio 2010


Code contracts in the Microsoft .NET Framework 4 rely on a few features in Visual Studio 2010. We'll review the project options for code contracts, how they affect the rewriter tool and some best practices for argument validation.

Dino Esposito

MSDN Magazine May 2011

Short Overview of SharePoint Features in Visual Studio 2010

As you probably know, Visual Studio 2010 was announced earlier this week and it contains a lot of cool features and project templates for SharePoint developers. Below is a short overview for some of the SharePoint development related features and project templates.

How do I persist custom complex types in design-time


Let's say that I've got one custom webcontrol called MyControl.

public partial class MyControl: WebControl {
public IComplex Complex { get; set; }

The control is a very simple control but it holds an instance of a complex type that is accessable through a property. The property has the propertytype IComplex

public interface IComplex {
string Name { get; set; }
List<IComplex> Children {get;}

Let's say that I am able to pick one of several different types of object that derives from IComplex in design-time and assign it to the controls property "Complex" property.

Naturally I would like to persist this information to the HTML-View in a user-friendly way.

Because we don't know what type the user has picked there is no way to instansiate the type if we don't persist the name of that type. The Type could also contain more properties than the Interface the controls property is refering.

<cc1:MyControl id="MyControl1" runat="server">
<Complex> <!-

Custom Control Design view error



I have created a custom control from scratch and it works fine as in you can build the project that uses it and it works fine at runtime. Problem is when you go to design view the control shows an error in the place of where the control should be rendered.

Error: '<SomeValue>' Could not be set to '<SomeProperty>'

This shows up on all my custom set properties. These properties are created as basic as possible. I can give the properties values in Source view and run the app just fine. I can even add a Onclick event. If I don't set any custom properties the control will render fine in Design view. It's only when I set a value to a custom property.

Property Code Example:

public string Text
                string ret = "";
                object obj = ViewState["Text"];
                if (obj != null)
                    ret = obj.ToString();
                return ret;
                ViewState["Text"] = value;

I've even removed the Category and Description tags with no difference.

I don't know if what I said makes sens, but I hope it

Visual C++: Exploring New C++ and MFC Features Visual Studio 2010


Visual Studio 2010 offers huge benefits for C++ developers, from new C++0x features to MSBuild integration to a revived MFC Application Wizard. Join us for a tour of these new Visual C++ features.

Sumit Kumar

MSDN Magazine April 2010

Toolbox: Database and OR/M Tools, Oren Eini and Custom Visual Studio Tabs


This month we look at tools for enhancing the LINQ to SQL and Entity Framework designers, Oren Eini's .NET development blog, Visual Studio tab customization, and more.

Scott Mitchell

MSDN Magazine December 2009

Cutting Edge: Extending the GridView Control


Welcome to my100th consecutive installment of Cutting Edge. I've been writing this column since January 1998 in Microsoft Internet Developer. Looking back over the past eight years, I realize that I've touched on almost every subject in the Windows® SDK and the Microsoft® .

Dino Esposito

MSDN Magazine May 2006

Cutting Edge: Flexible Custom Data Views


ASP. NET 1. x introduced some powerful and useful data-bound controls. However, none were designed specifically to manage the view of a single record. When you build master/detail views, you need to display the contents of a single record.

Dino Esposito

MSDN Magazine December 2005

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