#999 – Using a Canvas as the Items Panel for a ListBox

You can replace the default StackPanel used as the items panel for a ListBox with any other panel element.  If you have items that you want to display at arbitrary locations, you can use a Canvas for your items panel.

The example below presents a list of cities, where each city is placed at its proper latitude and longitude.

Assuming that we have a City class that accepts a name and latitude/longitude values passed to its constructor, we can create a list of cities:

    public partial class MainWindow : Window, INotifyPropertyChanged
    {
        public MainWindow()
        {
            InitializeComponent();
            this.DataContext = this;

            CityList = new ObservableCollection<City>
            {
                new City("Duluth", 46.83, 92.18),
                new City("Redmond", 44.27, 121.15),
                new City("Tucson", 32.12, 110.93),
                new City("Denver", 39.75, 104.87),
                new City("Boston", 42.37, 71.03),
                new City("Tampa", 27.97, 82.53)
            };
        }

        private ObservableCollection<City> cityList;
        public ObservableCollection<City> CityList
        {
            get { return cityList; }
            set
            {
                cityList = value;
                RaisePropertyChanged("CityList");
            }
        }

        // INotifyPropertyChanged
        public event PropertyChangedEventHandler PropertyChanged = delegate { };

        private void RaisePropertyChanged(string propName)
        {
            PropertyChanged(this, new PropertyChangedEventArgs(propName));
        }
    }

We then bind a ListBox to this list of cities.  We also:

  • Use its ItemContainerStyle to map latitude and longitude values to the attached Top and Left properties of the Canvas element
  • Use value converters to convert latitude and longitude values to canvas positions
  • Specify the Canvas as the ItemsPanel
<Window x:Class="WpfApplication1.MainWindow"
        xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/winfx/2006/xaml/presentation"
        xmlns:x="http://schemas.microsoft.com/winfx/2006/xaml"
        xmlns:sys="clr-namespace:System;assembly=mscorlib"
        xmlns:local="clr-namespace:WpfApplication1"
        Title="MainWindow"
        Width="470" Height="310">

    <Window.Resources>
        <ResourceDictionary>
            <local:LatValueConverter x:Key="latValueConverter" />
            <local:LongValueConverter x:Key="longValueConverter" />
            <sys:Double x:Key="mapWidth">440</sys:Double>
            <sys:Double x:Key="mapHeight">240</sys:Double>
        </ResourceDictionary>
    </Window.Resources>

    <StackPanel Orientation="Horizontal" Margin="5" >
        <ListBox ItemsSource="{Binding CityList}"
                 DisplayMemberPath="Name">
            <ListBox.ItemContainerStyle>
                <Style TargetType="{x:Type ListBoxItem}">
                    <Setter Property="Canvas.Left"
                            Value="{Binding Longitude, Converter={StaticResource longValueConverter},
                                            ConverterParameter={StaticResource mapWidth}}"/>
                    <Setter Property="Canvas.Top"
                            Value="{Binding Latitude, Converter={StaticResource latValueConverter},
                                            ConverterParameter={StaticResource mapHeight}}"/>
                </Style>
            </ListBox.ItemContainerStyle>
            <ListBox.ItemsPanel>
                <ItemsPanelTemplate>
                    <Canvas IsItemsHost="True"
                            Width="{StaticResource mapWidth}"
                            Height="{StaticResource mapHeight}"/>
                </ItemsPanelTemplate>
            </ListBox.ItemsPanel>
        </ListBox>
    </StackPanel>
</Window>

Here is the implementation of the value converters:

    public static class Constants
    {
        public const double LatTop = 50.0;
        public const double LatBottom = 24.0;

        public const double LongLeft = 125.0;
        public const double LongRight = 66.0;
    }

    public class LatValueConverter : IValueConverter
    {
        public object Convert(object value, Type targetType, object parameter, System.Globalization.CultureInfo culture)
        {
            double latitude = (double)value;
            double height = (double)parameter;

            int top = (int)((Constants.LatTop - latitude) / (Constants.LatTop - Constants.LatBottom) * height);
            return top;
        }

        public object ConvertBack(object value, Type targetType, object parameter, System.Globalization.CultureInfo culture)
        {
            throw new NotImplementedException();
        }
    }

    public class LongValueConverter : IValueConverter
    {
        public object Convert(object value, Type targetType, object parameter, System.Globalization.CultureInfo culture)
        {
            double longitude = (double)value;
            double width = (double)parameter;

            int left = (int)((Constants.LongLeft - longitude) / (Constants.LongLeft - Constants.LongRight) * width);
            return left;
        }

        public object ConvertBack(object value, Type targetType, object parameter, System.Globalization.CultureInfo culture)
        {
            throw new NotImplementedException();
        }
    }

The end result is that the city names are displayed at their proper locations on the canvas.  Note that because the cities are displayed in a ListBox, we can still select one of them.

999-001

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About Sean
Software developer in the Twin Cities area, passionate about software development and sailing.

One Response to #999 – Using a Canvas as the Items Panel for a ListBox

  1. Pingback: Using a Canvas as the Items Panel for a ListBox | Around computing

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