Posts Tagged ‘WinForms’

Print barcode in WinForms video

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

In this video you’ll learn how to:

  • Download and install Barcode.dll barcode component.
  • Create new WinForms application that references Barcode.dll barcode component.
  • Darg & drop barcode windows control.
  • Configure barcode windows control.
  • Create print preview and print barcode.

Enjoy

Create barcode in WinForms video

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

In this video you’ll learn how to:

  • Download and install Barcode.dll barcode component.
  • Create new WinForms application that references Barcode.dll barcode component.
  • Darg & drop barcode windows control
  • Configure barcode windows control.

Enjoy:

Background processing in WinForms

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

Many times developing windows applications, you’ll need to perform some operations in background.

The problem you’ll face sooner or later is that those operations need to inform User Interface (UI) about their progress and completion.

UI doesn’t like to be informed about anything from a different thread: you’ll get nasty “Cross-thread operation not valid” exception from WinForms controls, if you try.

Let’s take a look at the sample Presenter code:

public void Start()
{
        TaskStatus taskStatus = this._backupService.CreateTask();
        taskStatus.Completed += BackupFinished;
        this._backupService.Start(taskStatus);
}

TaskStatus contains single event Completed.
What’ll do is that we’ll subscribe to this event to display some information on the View:

public void BackupFinished(object sender, EventArgs e)
{
        // If the operation is done on different thread,
        // you'll get "Cross-thread operation not valid"
        // exception from WinForms controls here.
        this.View.ShowMessage("Finished!");
}

So, what are the options:

Lets examine the last concept as SynchronizationContext is not a well-know-class in the .NET world.
Generally speaking this class is useful for synchronizing calls from worker thread to UI thread.

It has a static Current property that gets the synchronization context for the current thread or null if there is no UI thread (e.g. in Console application)

This is the TaskStatus class that utilizes SynchronizationContext.Current if it is not null:

public class TaskStatus
{
    private readonly SynchronizationContext _context;

    public event EventHandler Completed = delegate { };

    public TaskStatus()
    {
        _context = SynchronizationContext.Current;
    }

    internal void OnCompleted()
    {
        Synchronize(x => this.Completed(this, EventArgs.Empty));
    }

    private void Synchronize(SendOrPostCallback callback)
    {
        if (_context != null)
            _context.Post(callback, null);
        else
            callback(null);
    }
};

Now lets see some tests.

First we’ll check if the event is executed:

[Test]
public void Completed_RaisesCompleted()
{
    using(SyncContextHelper.No())
    {
        bool wasFired = false;
        TaskStatus status = new TaskStatus();
        status.Completed += (sender, args) => { wasFired = true; };
        status.OnCompleted();
        Assert.IsTrue(wasFired);
    }
}

The following test shows that in WindowsForms application, although operation is executed on different thread, Completed event is routed back (using windows message queue) to the UI thread:

[Test]
public void Completed_WithSyncContext_IsExecutedOnSameThread()
{
    using (SyncContextHelper.WinForms())
    {
         int completedOnThread = -1;
         int thisThread = Thread.CurrentThread.GetHashCode();

         TaskStatus status = new TaskStatus();
         status.Completed += (sender, args) =>
             {
                 completedOnThread =
                    Thread.CurrentThread.GetHashCode();
             };

         Scenario.ExecuteOnSeparateThread(status.OnCompleted);

         // process messages send from background thread
         // (like Completed event)
         Application.DoEvents();

         Assert.AreEqual(thisThread, completedOnThread);
    }
}

When there is no SynchronizationContext (SynchronizationContext.Current == null) Completed event is executed on the different thread:

[Test]
public void Completed_InMultiThreadedScenario_IsExecuedOnDifferentThread()
{
    using(SyncContextHelper.No())
    {
        int completedOnThread = -1;
        int thisThread = Thread.CurrentThread.GetHashCode();

        TaskStatus status = new TaskStatus();
        status.Completed += (sender, args) =>
            {
                completedOnThread =
                    Thread.CurrentThread.GetHashCode();
            };

        Scenario.ExecuteOnSeparateThread(status.OnCompleted);

        Assert.AreNotEqual(thisThread, completedOnThread);
    }
}

Finally unit test helper classes:

public class SyncContextHelper : IDisposable
{
    private readonly SynchronizationContext _previous;

    private SyncContextHelper(SynchronizationContext context)
    {
        _previous = SynchronizationContext.Current;
        SynchronizationContext.SetSynchronizationContext(context);
    }

    public static SyncContextHelper WinForms()
    {
        return new SyncContextHelper(
            new WindowsFormsSynchronizationContext());
    }

    public static SyncContextHelper No()
    {
        return new SyncContextHelper(null);
    }

    public void Dispose()
    {
        SynchronizationContext.SetSynchronizationContext(_previous);
    }
};

Cross-thread operations with PostSharp

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

When you try to inform User Interface (UI) about the background operation progress or completion, you can not do it from the background thread.

UI doesn’t like to be informed about anything from a different thread: you’ll get “System.InvalidOperationException: Cross-thread operation not valid: Control ‘xxx’ accessed from a thread other than the thread it was created on.” exception from WinForms control, if you try:

public void ShowStatus(ApplicationStatus status)
{
    this._lblServiceAddress.Text = "Connected to: "
        + status.WebServiceAddress;
    this._lblUserId.Text = "Working as: "
        + status.UserId;
}

The easiest sollution is to use BeginInvoke method on the control Control or Form:

public void ShowStatus(ApplicationStatus status)
{
    this.BeginInvoke((MethodInvoker)(() =>
        {
            this._lblServiceAddress.Text = "Connected to: "
                + status.WebServiceAddress;
            this._lblUserId.Text = "Working as: "
                + status.UserId;
        }));
}

Well, it’s fun to write this once, but if you have many operations done in background sooner or later you’d like to have something nicer. Like an attribute for example:

[ThreadAccessibleUI]
public void ShowStatus(ApplicationStatus status)
{
    this._lblServiceAddress.Text = "Connected to: " + status.WebServiceAddress;
    this._lblUserId.Text = "Working as: " + status.UserId;
}

Here’s the attribute implementation of such attribute using PostSharp 1.5:

/// <summary>
/// PostSharp attribute.
/// Use it to mark Control's methods that
/// are invoked from background thread.
/// </summary>
/// <remarks>
/// Be careful as BeginInvoke uses the message queue.
/// This means that the interface will be refreshed
/// when application has a chance to process its messages.
/// </remarks>
[AttributeUsage(AttributeTargets.Method)]
[Serializable] // required by PostSharp
public class ThreadAccessibleUIAttribute : OnMethodInvocationAspect
{
    public override void OnInvocation(
        MethodInvocationEventArgs eventArgs)
    {
        Control control = eventArgs.Instance as Control;
        if (control == null)
            throw new ApplicationException(
                "ThreadAccessibleUIAttribute" +
                "can be applied only to methods on Control class");

        // The form may be closed before
        // this method is called from another thread.
        if (control.Created == false)
            return;

        control.BeginInvoke((MethodInvoker)eventArgs.Proceed);
    }
};