#1,194 – DesiredSize of Child Elements Includes Margins

After the measure phase, during which a custom element calls the Measure method on each of its child elements, each child element will set its DesiredSize property to indicate how much space it wants.

The DesiredSize of a child element accounts for any margins that have been set on that child.  Assume that we have the following XAML (MyElement is a custom element with a single child).

    <Grid>
        <Grid.ColumnDefinitions>
            <ColumnDefinition/>
            <ColumnDefinition/>
        </Grid.ColumnDefinitions>

        <loc:MyElement x:Name="Left">
            <loc:MyElement.Child>
                <Label Content="Doowahditty"/>
            </loc:MyElement.Child>
        </loc:MyElement>

        <loc:MyElement Grid.Column="1" x:Name="Right">
            <loc:MyElement.Child>
                <Label Content="Doowahditty" Margin="10"/>
            </loc:MyElement.Child>
        </loc:MyElement>
    </Grid>

We can see that the child element uses a margin.
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We can look at the value of the DesiredSize property after Measure has been called on the child element.  We can see that in the second case, the desired size is larger, indicating that the child wants to add a margin.

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#1,171 – Custom Panel, part III (Using DesiredSize)

When creating a custom panel and overriding the measure and arrange methods, your custom panel can make use of a child element’s DesiredSize property when deciding what size to make each child and where to arrange them.

The code below arranges child elements vertically, like a vertical StackPanel, stretching each child to fit the panel’s full width, but using each child element’s DesiredSize.Height.

    public class MyPanel : Panel
    {
        protected override Size MeasureOverride(Size availableSize)
        {
            // Tell child they have as much height as they want
            Size childSize = new Size(availableSize.Width, double.PositiveInfinity);

            // Calling Measure causes each child to set its DesiredSize property
            foreach (UIElement elem in InternalChildren)
                elem.Measure(childSize);

            return availableSize;
        }

        protected override Size ArrangeOverride(Size finalSize)
        {
            Size childSize;

            double top = 0.0;
            for (int i = 0; i < InternalChildren.Count; i++)
            {
                // We force each child to full width, but let it
                // be at desired height
                childSize = new Size(finalSize.Width, InternalChildren[i].DesiredSize.Height);
                Rect r = new Rect(new Point(0.0, top), childSize);
                InternalChildren[i].Arrange(r);
                top += childSize.Height;
            }

            return finalSize;
        }
    }

We can use the panel as follows:

    <loc:MyPanel Margin="5" Background="LightGray">
        <Label Content="I'm child #1"
               Background="Thistle" />
        <Label Content="I'm child #2"
               Background="Lavender" />
        <Label Content="Third kid"
               Background="Honeydew" />
    </loc:MyPanel>

The panel at runtime looks like:
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