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Form Changed Control

, 26 May 2008
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A component that allows you to monitor all the controls on the form and list any that have changed (for dirty checking)

Introduction

This control is a quick and dirty component (based on the System.ComponentModel.IExtenderProvider) that allows you to list all the components that have been changed, e.g. to allow you to decide whether a form needs to be saved.

Background

This is a quick and dirty solution to the "how do I know if any data on my form has changed" problem. It allows you to alter the user interface to show that it has changed and also to decide what needs to be saved.

Screenshot - changed_textbox.jpg

Using the Code

The component has one property: ControlsThatHaveChanged that is a generic list of all the controls whose data has changed since the last reset. If this list isn't empty, then the form has changed and needs to be saved.

There is one method: ResetDirtyFlags which allows you to reset the list of controls that have changed - call this when the form is populated or the data are saved.

In addition, an event is raised whenever a control that is being monitored for changes is changed or changed back to its initial state.

VB.NET

 Private Sub FormChangedComponent1_FormControlChanged(ByVal sender As Object, _ 
         ByVal e As FormChangedEventArgs) _ 
         Handles FormChangedComponent1.FormControlChanged
    If TypeOf e.ControlChanged Is TextBox Then
        If e.Changed Then
            e.ControlChanged.BackColor = Color.Yellow
        Else
            e.ControlChanged.BackColor = Color.White
        End If
    End If
End Sub  

C#

void formChangedComponent1_MonitoredControlChanged(object sender, FormChangedEventArgs e)
{
    if (e.ControlChanged is TextBox)
    {
        if (e.Changed)
        {
            e.ControlChanged.BackColor = Color.Yellow; 
        }
        else 
        {
            e.ControlChanged.BackColor = Color.White;
        }
    }
}

How It Works

The component implements the Implements System.ComponentModel.IExtenderProvider to extend the controls on a form and provides three new properties to each of these controls:

Screenshot - properties.jpg

MonitorForChanges - Set to True to monitor a control for changes

ChangeEventToMonitor - Set this to the name of the event to watch (e.g. "ValueChanged" or whichever for the control)

ValueNameToMonitor - Set this to the name of the property that represents the value of the control (e.g. "Text" for a textbox)

Note that these properties are case sensitive which can be a trap for the unwary.

Where a component has this extended property set to True, the component adds a handler to its "Changed" event specified and when that event fires, it updates an internal generic collection of the components that have changed.

The component can be reset (i.e. all controls are marked as unchanged) after a save event or when a record has been refreshed.

VB.NET

Public Sub SetMonitorForChanges(ByVal ctl As Control, ByVal value As Boolean)
    If value Then
        If Not _ControlChanged.ContainsKey(ctl) Then
            _ControlChanged.Add(ctl, False)
            Dim evi As System.Reflection.EventInfo
            evi = ctl.GetType.GetEvent(Me.GetChangeEventName(ctl))
            If Not (evi Is Nothing) Then
                '\\ Get the method that adds a handler to the changed event
                Dim mi As System.Reflection.MethodInfo
                mi = evi.GetAddMethod(False)
                '\\ add a handler to that changed event
                mi.Invoke(ctl, New Object() {Me.ChangeEventhandler})
            End If
        End If
    Else
        If _ControlChanged.ContainsKey(ctl) Then
            _ControlChanged.Remove(ctl)
        End If
    End If
End Sub

C#

private void ResetMonitoringState()
{
    System.Reflection.EventInfo evi;
    Type ctlType = _ctlToMonitor.GetType();
    evi = ctlType.GetEvent(_ChangeEventName);
     if (_MonitoringEvent )
    {
        // Remove the event handler from the control
        if ( evi != null)
        {
            System.Reflection.MethodInfo mi = evi.GetRemoveMethod(false);
            mi.Invoke(_ctlToMonitor, new object[] { this.ChangeEventhandler() });
        }
    }
    
    if (_Monitor )
    {
        // Add the event handler to the control
        if (evi != null)
        {
            System.Reflection.MethodInfo mi = evi.GetAddMethod(false);
            mi.Invoke(_ctlToMonitor, new object[] { this.ChangeEventhandler() });
            _MonitoringEvent = true;
        }
    }
}

History

  • 2007-06-28
    • First release
  • 2007-07-03
    • Added properties to specify what event and value are being monitored and changed the code to do a true changed check using the hash value of the property
  • 2007-09-13
    • Added an event whenever a control being monitored changes or is changed back to its previous state
  • 2008-05-26
    • Added C# code version

License

This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)

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About the Author

Duncan Edwards Jones
Software Developer (Senior)
Ireland Ireland
C# / SQL Server developer
Microsoft MVP 2006, 2007
Visual Basic .NET
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Comments and Discussions

 
QuestionVery Nice - How to change the default value? PinmemberDean_DOT29-Jun-07 6:28 
AnswerRe: Very Nice - How to change the default value? PinmemberDuncan Edwards Jones29-Jun-07 11:19 
AnswerRe: Very Nice - How to change the default value? PinmemberDuncan Edwards Jones3-Jul-07 1:34 
GeneralGood work Pinmemberjoebeam28-Jun-07 5:25 

Have you thought about storing the initial values so you would really know if the form data changed? I wonder how you could generalize that to work with all the different types of control.
GeneralRe: Good work PinmemberDuncan Edwards Jones28-Jun-07 5:44 
GeneralRe: Good work PinmemberDuncan Edwards Jones10-Jul-07 1:21 
GeneralRe: Good work Pinmemberjoebeam10-Jul-07 8:43 

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