Model View Something…

I started the client UI (and proxy code) for the Ikosa Framework quite some time ago. Since the whole framework has been under development since early 2006 (six years) the client UI is probably no younger than about early 2007 (I could look it up in my Vol 1 or 2 of my notebooks if I had the inclination).

Anyway, WPF hit the scene with .NET 3 in late 2006, so I was working in unexplored territory (with my mental models at least, if not in accepted “best practices”). Correspondingly, much of the client-side framework was (and still is) fairly hodgepodge. I slowly came around to RoutedCommands (fantastic things), and DataTemplates (and DataTemplateSelectors!), and some data-binding.

Mainly what held me back from pervasive data-binding was that most of the instances I had to visualize were coming from the proxies as DataContracts. These were not implementing INotifyPropertyChanged, or INotifyCollectionChanged, and it wasn’t obvious (in my bone-headed way) how to make this “work” with a data-model controlled on the other end of the WPF channel. I may also have been reluctant to wrap data-contract classes (yet again) for WPF, since I already had to pack and unpack them in the host-side for processing in the Ikosa setting.

However, once I got around to the opportunistic attack prerequisite, I saw that to visualize the options well, I needed to provide useful information from elsewhere in my data “model”, which could be “found” scattered in a loose-confederation of DataContexts, POCO properties (set via constructor or assigned after an event fired) and some DependencyProperties mostly all parked on various controls of the UI, some templated, some not.

Then I decided to change all that…(or most of it)…over Easter Weekend, while also trying to assist two black belts testing for second degree next weekend, driving back and forth to Reading, PA twice (about 5 hours total), and having a rather pleasant Easter at my parents.

So far, I have a stable build. But am seeing that I’ll have to deal with some ObservableCollections that I (now) understand won’t work across threads. And I have some server-side debugging to do (I also altered the hosting model to allow a single user to control multiple actors, in theory). What I have started as a MVVM, but I started adding more “C” (as in Controller) type functions, since I was moving them off of the UI controls where they were before.

All in all, despite the fact I broke my system (client and host), I am satisfied that the foundation is becoming better.

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