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WPF Snoop: A must have tool for WPF development.

WPF Snoop: A WPF developers dream

WPF is the latest development methodology for developing Windows Desktop applications.  If you come from a WinForms background, there is a considerably steep learning curve that comes along with WPF.  This is in part due to the nature of the XAML declarative markup.  You can instantiate objects,  execute data binding and many other complex tasks all without touching a line of c#.  Couple this with the new flow style layout of WPF user interfaces, there's plenty for a new developer to learn. 

While surfing online I ran across an open source tool on codeplex that greatly reduces some of the complexities of developing in WPF.

WPF Snoop and what it can do for you

Imagine you've downloaded an example WPF application with the best user interface you've ever seen.  You are new to WPF, so despite your best efforts, you can't quite grasp how the UI is tied together.  What if you had an application that allowed you to attach to the application and  allowed you to view the visual tree of the application's user interface?  Imagine viewing each and every control, and property in the entire UI. Better yet, imagine the ability to change the properties of the UI controls on the fly?  

WPF snoop also makes debugging WPF data binding a breeze!  You can select a data bound ListView and view as well as modify the ItemsSource.  WPF Snoop can achieve all of this and more!

Here's a quick tutorial..

Download WPF snoop

To begin, download WPF snoop from the following URL http://snoopwpf.codeplex.com/

Once installed, launch the application.  The application toolbar looks like this.

 

 

Next, launch the application that you wish to snoop.  I'm going to use a school course editor example that I found on the codeproject.

I then click the crosshair and drag it over the application that I wish to snoop.

I'm then presented with a dialog that contains the visual tree and all of the properties of the controls.

 

As I drill down into the visual tree, I can hover over each node and it will display a thumbnail of the contents of that node.  Once I've reached a part of the UI that I wish to isolate, I can click on the node and this will actually draw a red border around the area in the application.  Here is a screen shot for your reference.

 

 

Also notice the tabbed interface.  When you click on the DataContext tab, you can view all of the relevant data binding information.  Keep in mind that all of the properties can be changed on the fly.

The possibilities are endless.

 

This concludes my tutorial on WPF snoop.  I suggest you download it and start snooping around.

This tool will help beginners and newbies alike.

 

Until next time!  Cheers!

~/Buddy James

kick it on DotNetKicks.com



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About the author

My name is Buddy James.  I'm a Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer from the Nashville, TN area.  I'm a Software Engineer, an author, a blogger (http://www.refactorthis.net), a mentor, a thought leader, a technologist, a data scientist, and a husband.  I enjoy working with design patterns, data mining, c#, WPF, Silverlight, WinRT, XAML, ASP.NET, python, CouchDB, RavenDB, Hadoop, Android(MonoDroid), iOS (MonoTouch), and Machine Learning. I love technology and I love to develop software, collect data, analyze the data, and learn from the data.  When I'm not coding,  I'm determined to make a difference in the world by using data and machine learning techniques. (follow me at @budbjames).  

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