How to bind an arrayList of objects to a Windows Form by using Visual C#

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SUMMARY

This step-by-step article describes how to bind an ArrayList of objects to a Windows form. The example consists of a Windows form with three text boxes to display the object properties, and four command buttons to browse the ArrayList.

Requirements

The following items describe the recommended hardware, software, network infrastructure, skills, knowledge, and service packs that you need:
  • Microsoft Visual C# .NET or Microsoft Visual C# 2005
  • An intermediate understanding of C# programming concepts

Design the Class

A class that is to be bound to a form must have property accessors. Any property that is to be bound must have Property Set and Property Get methods. The class that is used for the example in this article has three properties (only one is shown here.) A parameterized constructor has also been provided, but is not a requirement.
public class Guitar
{
    private string make;
    private string model;
    private short year;
			
    public Guitar(string Make, string Model, short Year)
    {
	make = Make;
	model = Model;
	year = Year;
    }

    public string Make 
    {
        get 
	{ 
	    return make; 
	}
	set 
	{
	    make = value; 
	}
    }
}
				

Add Class Instances to an ArrayList

To create instances and add them to the ArrayList, follow these steps:
  1. Declare a variable of the type of the class.
  2. Declare an ArrayList.
  3. Create instances of the class and add them to the ArrayList.
private ArrayList al = new ArrayList();

al.Add(new Guitar("Gibson", "Les Paul", 1958));
al.Add(new Guitar("Fender", "Jazz Bass", 1964));
al.Add(new Guitar("Guild", "Bluesbird", 1971));
				

Bind the Object Properties to Form Controls

After the ArrayList has been populated, you can bind the individual properties of the object to Windows Forms controls. To do this, follow these steps:
  1. Call the Add method of the Textbox DataBindings property.
  2. Pass the control property that is to be bound, the name of the ArrayList, and the property of the object.
textBox1.DataBindings.Add("Text", al, "Make");
textBox2.DataBindings.Add("Text", al, "Model");
textBox3.DataBindings.Add("Text", al, "Year");
				

Provide a Means to Browse the ArrayList

You can use a CurrencyManager to browse through the ArrayList. To do this, associate the CurrencyManager with the BindingContext of the form (in this case, the ArrayList).
private CurrencyManager currencyManger = null;

currencyManger = (CurrencyManager)this.BindingContext[al];
				
The CurrencyManager class has a Position property that you can manipulate to iterate over the members of the ArrayList. By adding to, or subtracting from, the current value of Position, you can display different members of the ArrayList on the form.
//Move forward one element.
currencyManger.Position++;
//Move back one element.
currencyManger.Position--;
//Move to the beginning.
currencyManger.Position = 0;
//Move to the end.
currencyManger.Position = al.Count - 1;
				

Step-by-Step Example

  1. In Visual C# .NET or Visual C# 2005, create a new Windows Application project. Form1 is created by default.
  2. Add a class to the project.
  3. Replace the code in Form1.cs with the following:
    public class Guitar
    {
        private string make;
        private string model;
        private short year;
    			
        public Guitar(string Make, string Model, short Year)
        {
    	make=Make;
    	model=Model;
    	year=Year;
        }
    
        public string Make 
        {
            get 
    	{ 
    	    return make; 
    	}
    	set 
    	{
    	    make = value; 
    	}
        }
    	
        public string Model 
        {
    	get 
    	{ 
    	    return model; 
    	}
    	set 
    	{
    	    model = value;  
    	}
        }
    
        public short Year 
        {
    	get 
    	{ 
    	    return year; 
    	}
    	set 
    	{
    	    year = value; 
    	}
        }
    }
    					
    Note The code should be changed in Visual Studio 2005. When you create a Windows Forms project, Visual C# adds one form to the project by default. This form is named Form1. The two files that represent the form are named Form1.cs and Form1.designer.cs. You write your code in Form1.cs. The Designer.cs file is where the Windows Forms Designer writes the code that implements all the actions that you performed by adding controls. For more information about the Windows Forms Designer in Visual C# 2005, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
    http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms173077.aspx
  4. Close the Form1.cs code window, and switch to the Form Designer.
  5. Add three text boxes to Form1 and arrange the controls horizontally.
  6. Add four buttons to Form1 and arrange the controls horizontally.
  7. Change the Text property of Button1 to Next.
  8. Change the Text property of Button2 to Previous.
  9. Change the Text property of Button3 to First.
  10. Change the Text property of Button4 to Last.
  11. Add the following code to the Form1 class:
    private ArrayList al = new ArrayList();	
    private CurrencyManager currencyManger = null;	
    					
  12. Add the following code to the constructor of the form after the InitializeComponent call (where the code designer has inserted the "TODO: Add any constructor code after InitializeComponent call" comment):
    al.Add(new Guitar("Gibson", "Les Paul", 1958));
    al.Add(new Guitar("Fender", "Jazz Bass", 1964));
    al.Add(new Guitar("Guild", "Bluesbird", 1971));
    			
    currencyManger = (CurrencyManager)this.BindingContext[al];
    	
    textBox1.DataBindings.Add("Text", al, "Make");
    textBox2.DataBindings.Add("Text", al, "Model");
    textBox3.DataBindings.Add("Text", al, "Year");
    					
  13. Switch to view the Form Designer.
  14. Double-click Next and add the following code to the button1_Click event:
    currencyManger.Position++;
    					
  15. Double-click Previous and add the following code to the button2_Click event:
    currencyManger.Position--;
    					
  16. Double-click First and add the following code to the button3_Click event:
    currencyManger.Position = 0;
    					
  17. Double-click Last and add the following code to the button4_Click event:
    currencyManger.Position = al.Count - 1;
    					
  18. Build and run the project.
  19. Click the command buttons to display different array elements. Note that you can edit the values of the objects if desired.

REFERENCES

For more information, see the "Consumers of Data on Windows Forms" topic in the Visual Studio .NET Online Help.

Properties

Article ID: 313634 - Last Review: December 11, 2006 - Revision: 2.3
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Visual C# .NET 2002 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Visual C# 2005 Express Edition
Keywords: 
kbctrl kbhowtomaster KB313634

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