Blending with Sample Data feature (Blend 4)

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Had a chance to play more with Blend 4 this week, have been eyeing on the Sample Data feature for a while but only had a chance to use it in practice now.

So imagine if you have defined the backing view model below

public class MainViewModel
	public MainViewModel()
		// Insert code required on object creation below this point.
	public IList<Person> Persons { get; set; }

public abstract class Person
	public String Name { get; set; }
	public Int32 Age { get; set; }
	public String Initials { get{ return "some initials"; } }

public class Male : Person

public class Female : Person

You can then open the view, on the top right panel, click on the Create Sample Data from Class option below

Choose the view model to generate the sample data, click Ok

Bam! the sample data file has been generated nicely below, and notice one thing, the read only Initials property can be “set” as well there :)

Before moving on to the next step, be sure to replace Person Type on the rows into either Male or Female.

Now, time to get into the view with the d:DataContext binding and data templates by Data Type for each Male and Female.

hhhmm… a little bit disappointing, isn’t it? all are seem to be in place, but why it’s displaying these weirds _.di12.NameSpace.Class rather than our expected data template result?
Now back to the xaml, add d:IsDesignTimeCreatable=”False” attribute on both data template elements, save, close and reopen the xaml again.

And there’s the shiny UI with some sample data in it :)

Notice that Blend sometimes doesn’t refresh the design view as soon as we make some changes on the data template (it works fine on non data template changes).
I only found that the effective way is to just close and reopen to see the changes effect, so if you’re editing something on the data template and it’s not reflecting, try to close and reopen it first :)

I found this sample data feature is very useful, how bout you?

Have also shared the sample project for grabs here.

Hope this helps :)