Click here to Skip to main content
Click here to Skip to main content

Fast custom formulae, filtering and sorting in DataGrids

, 14 Oct 2013
Rate this:
Please Sign up or sign in to vote.
Tame the WinForms and WPF inbuilt DataGrids to work with 200,000+ rows by using compiled Linq Expressions

Introduction

Displaying high volume data in a UI control in a flexible way often requires some loss of implementation generality if no performance degradation is to occur. However, this does not mean that a carefully designed generalised DataGrid cannot be specialised to handle reasonably high volumes of data while still performing in a way acceptable to users.

This article uses some advanced techniques to enhance the existing inbuilt WinForms and WPF DataGrids to handle 200,000+ rows and 100+ columns to:

  • Provide user defined, parsed and fully compiled formulae involving any column(s);
  • Live filtering in a similar manner;
  • Live sorting via the usual column header interactions and also fully compiled;
  • Ability to add/remove columns without rebinding;
  • Ability to add/change row data rapidly;
  • Ability to assign a unique Key and additional Metadata (like colours) to each row;
  • Optimal recalculation strategies based on known row/column change sets.

Note that the same technique works to enhance the commercial WinForms DevExpress grid which, although it has adequate filtering/sorting/grouping/refresh support, is pretty poor at dealing with these other points.

Motivation

Excel spread sheets are ubiquitous in the Financial industry (as well as others) primarily because they allow business users to perform basic data analysis in a straightforward manner without engaging a pure technologist for every task.

When such projects are then shared between many users and become critical to those users, developers are often called in to "productise the spread sheet".

The result is a .NET application that revolves around a DataGrid, the choice of which is often driven by company policies and the (usually rapidly outdated) experiences of the developers involved.

The solution presented in this article was originally driven by the need to use such a commercial grid (WinForms DevExpress) while still providing acceptable performance for custom formulae, lots of columns and on demand data changes.

The aim here is to show that it is possible to use the DataGrids that come with .NET to satisfy the customisation and performance needs of particular business users without resorting to commercial alternatives and the complexities that often entails later in the project lifecycle.

The following shows WPF and WinForms sample programs with:

  • Multi-column sorting (Price + Quantity)
  • Custom2 with an expression depending on Price, Quantity and Custom1
  • Filtering the 200,000 down to 61,093 based on Price and Custom1

WPF Demo

Winforms Demo

The final screen shot shows a basic Expression editor, in this case editing the complex Filter being applied to each row:

Winforms Demo

Performance

Note that (for sorting) this example is (deliberately) pathologically bad and so forms a good worst case scenario that is unlikely to occur frequently in production because a) data is not normally random and b) filtering expressions are unlikely to involve expensive calculations like the Sqrt used.

The timings in the screen shots above demonstrate that the time to parse the formula out of the text is often longer than compiling to IL, tracking dependencies and setting up the internal structures.

For example, it takes around 50ms (ResetExpressions) to do this parsing including recursive dependency tree creation and it takes around 30ms (Recalculate) to:

  1. Determine 200,000 random doubles, box and assign them to the Price column
  2. Similarly calculate and store Custom1 as Quantity*Price
  3. Similarly calculate and store Custom2 as Price^2/Quantity+Custom1
  4. Finally calculate the filter as Price>1 And Sqrt(Custom1)>3

However, it takes only around 5ms (SortingCreateComparer) to programmatically create and compile to IL the multi-column comparer and it takes around 20ms (SortingWithComparer) to actually perform the sorting on the post-filtered 61,242 rows and, a that number that would be considerably higher if there were no filter in affect.

Finally, the Switch button demonstrates how adding/removing/reshuffling columns can be done in a rapid manner without triggering lengthy grid setups, one of the goals of this solution.

Expressions

The expression syntax used is based on the SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) expressions as used by the Report Definition Language (RDL). It is actually a one-line version of Visual Basic .NET and was created for Report designers to set dynamic properties when creating reports.

Each external reference must be scoped by using '!' as the separator. For example, when mixing data from multiple sources this scope is useful to deal with duplicate names across those sources for a given column.

All expressions start with '=' to distinguish their use from raw text values in the general case.

In the sample projects attached, the scope has been fixed to the word "Field". For example, this performs the relevant arithmetic as expected:

=Field!Price*2+Field!Quantity/3.14152

Excel-like logic functions and inline operators are supported:

=IIf(Field!Price>2, Field!Quantity Mod 12, Field!Price/2)

Numerous functions are implemented outside of the grammar to allow for easy extension:

=Format(Today() + 5, "s")

Currently the above maps to DateTime.ToString("s") however the grammar itself supports such "Field Functions" like ToString() directly so this is straightforward to implement.

Parsing

The art of parsing has been studied extensively and is one of the areas of Software Engineering for which well established good algorithms are available. A reminder of the basic steps and terminology:

  1. Grammar - traditionally written in BNF
  2. Lexical analysis - traditionally taught using Flex
  3. Syntactical analysis - traditionally taught using YACC
  4. Abstract Syntax Tree - the result as an in-memory Tree structure (see AST)
  5. Processing of the AST - e.g. into IL
The best designed free parsing system in my opinion is the language-independent GOLD Parser. It has the key advantage of creating a compiled grammar table (using the Builder) that can be embedded in a target application and passed to your choice of actual runtime implementation (the Engine):

From GOLD Parser website

The GOLD Parser system is extensively documented and there are numerous tools available for different stages of the process. Below is one of them showing part of the BNF grammar file describing the syntax of the expressions:

BNF Grammar

Loading the grammar file into the Builder allows subsequent entering of a test expression to show the "events" the parser runtime can expose. A partial expansion of the matching grammar lines is shown below:

GOLD Grammar Test

Once the compiled grammar table is embedded into the Assembly an appropriate run-time is needed to use it. This comes down to personal preference but my choice was Calitha because of its event driven nature.

Linq's AST

The final piece of the puzzle is to re-use the existing Linq AST that is used to compile the familiar Linq-to-Object expressions at runtime. The Calitha parser events for errors, matching symbols and matching grammar rules are used as follows:

public Parser()
{
    Errors = new List<string>();
    FieldsNeeded = new SortedList<string,>(32);
    ArrayParameter = Linq.Expression.Parameter(typeof(object[]), "Fields");
    
    _Parser = _Reader.CreateNewParser();
    _Parser.TrimReductions = true;
    _Parser.StoreTokens = LALRParser.StoreTokensMode.NoUserObject;
    _Parser.OnReduce += _Parser_OnReduce;
    _Parser.OnTokenRead += _Parser_OnTokenRead;
    _Parser.OnTokenError += _Parser_OnTokenError;
    _Parser.OnParseError += _Parser_OnParseError;
}

OnTokenRead is used to handle the matching of the three symbols in the the grammar: strings, numbers and the identifiers. The simplest Linq Expression, a Constant, is used for the first two and by returning it from the handler it will be available in the UserObject property of all grammar rules:

static object RuleSymbolNumberHandler(Parser p, TerminalToken t)
{
    //Known to be a valid number or integer already
    //Culture has to be invariant because grammar has '.' hard-coded
    if (t.Text.IndexOf('.') >= 0) 
        return Linq.Expression.Constant(double.Parse(t.Text, CultureInfo.InvariantCulture));
    return Linq.Expression.Constant(int.Parse(t.Text, CultureInfo.InvariantCulture));
}

OnReduce is used to handle the matching of a grammar rule. The multiply rule below has three parts, the left expression, the multiply symbol and the right expression. Each one will have the UserObject set either by the symbol handler or by another grammar rule:

static object RuleExpressionTimesHandler(Parser p, NonterminalToken t)
{
    //<Mult Exp> ::= <Mult Exp> '*' <Negate Exp>
    var r = Helpers.Promote(t.Tokens[0].UserObject, t.Tokens[2].UserObject);
    return Linq.Expression.Multiply(r[0], r[1]);
}

However it is essential that the type of a Linq Expression correctly matches whatever operator or function is being applied; this is not done automatically. A priority has to be applied during this type promotion and the one currently used is strings, DateTimes, doubles and then decimals.

There is no Linq casting expression, only 'As' and 'Convert'. Reverse engineering the latter reveals it handles all cases, casting if possible and boxing/unboxing if necessary. An example taken from the Helpers.Promote routine:

//1. If either is double, ensure both are double
if (res[0].Type == typeof(double))
{
    if (res[1].Type != typeof(double)) 
        res[1] = Linq.Expression.Convert(res[1], typeof(double));
}
else if (res[1].Type == typeof(double))
{
    if (res[0].Type != typeof(double)) 
        res[0] = Linq.Expression.Convert(res[0], typeof(double));
}

Compiling

The call to the Calitha engine will return the root grammar token which will have its UserObject set to the corresponding Linq AST root:

var token = _Parser.Parse(input);
Debug.Assert(token != null || Errors.Count > 0);

//Failed
if (token == null) return null;

var expression = (Linq.Expression)token.UserObject;
ResultType = expression.Type;
Description = expression.ToString();

A neat feature of such expressions prior to compilation is they have a Debug View showing the details, such as the complex filter expression used earlier:

Expression DebugView

Which just leaves the compile call that accepts the argument placeholder (ArrayParameter) and generates a DynamicMethod of the requisite type:

//Box if necessary
if (expression.Type.IsValueType) 
    expression = Linq.Expression.Convert(expression, typeof(object));
CompiledDelegate = (Func<object[], object>)
    Linq.Expression.Lambda(expression, ArrayParameter).Compile();

The information like any fields this expression requires (passed in the ArrayParameter as object(s)) and the result type are available as fields off the Parser class.

The Row Comparer

These are implemented by programmatically creating the Linq AST and are actually more involved than the parsing approach just discussed. (Arguably these should be created using low level Reflection.Emit to avoid the verbosity of Linq however that topic is for a future article.)

Here is a flavour of the routine:

/// <summary>
/// Creates a row comparer for one or more columns 
/// </summary>
/// <param name="columns" />One type for each column, with true for asc and false for desc sort order
/// <returns>
public Func<object[][], int, int, int> CreateComparer(params KeyValuePair<Type, bool>[] columns)
{
    if (columns == null || columns.Length == 0) throw new ArgumentNullException("columns");
    var arg0 = Linq.Expression.Parameter(typeof(object[][]), "columns");
    var arg1 = Linq.Expression.Parameter(typeof(int), "firstRowIdx");
    var arg2 = Linq.Expression.Parameter(typeof(int), "secondRowIdx");
    var nullConstant = Linq.Expression.Constant(null);
    var equalConstant = Linq.Expression.Constant(0);
    var returnLabel = Linq.Expression.Label(typeof(int), "Result");

    var returnGreater = Linq.Expression.Return(returnLabel, 
        Linq.Expression.Constant(1), returnLabel.Type);
    var returnLess = Linq.Expression.Return(returnLabel, 
        Linq.Expression.Constant(-1), returnLabel.Type);

After arguments and constants are set up, the return labels for returning 1 for greater and -1 for less are created. Each column in the input then results in a Block of code as follows (see the source code for the full details):

var block = Linq.Expression.Block(
    Linq.Expression.Label(thisLabel),
    //if both null or same string instance then are equal so try next column
    //(or return equal)
    Linq.Expression.IfThen(bothValuesAreSameInstance, valuesAreEqual),
    //if first is null then less
    Linq.Expression.IfThen(firstValueIsNull, returnFirstIsLess),
    //if second is null then greater
    Linq.Expression.IfThen(
       secondValueIsNull, Linq.Expression.Return(returnLabel, returnFirstIsGreater)),
    //if unboxed values are equal try next column (or return equal)
    Linq.Expression.IfThen(
       Linq.Expression.Equal(typedFirstValue, typedSecondValue), valuesAreEqual),
    //final typed check
    typedFinalCheck
    );

And the final expression is compiled in the usual manner, referencing the arguments defined earlier:

var res = Linq.Expression.Lambda(Linq.Expression.Block(comparisons), arg0, arg1, arg2);
return (Func<object[][], int, int, int>)res.Compile();

The DataSource

The coordinator between Expressions, their required dependencies and the calculation order is the DataSource. Therefore this has to consist of a number of columns, some with only data and some with Expressions. Some of the functionality the DataSource provides is to make it useable by UI components and includes:

  • Maintains a collection of DataColumns with bi-directional lookups by user-defined name or internal-binding name or index;
  • Maintains a collection of DataRows to provide a bindable virtual row required by some DataGrids;
  • Each Column can have associated user-defined Metadata;
  • Each Row can have a unique Key as well as other user-defined Metadata and it is possible to lookup the row by it's Key;
  • Columns contain a single object array for the data with conservative resizing and optimal delete-by-swapping;
  • Rows contain only index and  user-defined Metadata: they have pass-through bindable properties required by some DataGrids;
  • A Filter enumerator is available to determine whether a row passes any assigned filter;
  • Maintains the calculation order and coordinates state for any assigned Expressions including the filter;
  • Allows for optimal Recalculation of specific changed columns or changed row-keys.

Fundamentally this is a lightweight version of the inbuilt DataTable but with data arranged in columns instead of in rows. The focus is on memory efficiency when frequently changing columns and rows rather than on adding new rows.

Basic Usage

This is a templated class designed to be used directly instead of hidden behind a binding:

//Example metadata to associate with a given row
public struct RowMetaData
{
    public bool IsSpecial;
}

//Example column metadata to associate with a given column
public class ColMetaData
{
    public DataGridColumn Column;
}

//Datasource
readonly DataSource<RowMetaData, ColMetaData> _source 
    = new DataSource<RowMetaData, ColMetaData>();

//Expression Parser (shared: only one needed per concurrent thread)
readonly Parser _parser = new Parser();

The DataSource expects one type for each column (but it is only checked in Debug builds to avoid significant speed problems). Defining the first columns that go into it:

//Number of rows to use
const int Rows = 10 * 1000;

//Note that the names must look like: Category.Name
//This is the initial set of columns
static readonly KeyValuePair<string, Type>[] _InitialColumns = new[]
{
    new KeyValuePair<string, Type>("Field.Description", typeof(string)),
    new KeyValuePair<string, Type>("Field.Quantity", typeof(decimal)),
    new KeyValuePair<string, Type>("Field.Price", typeof(decimal)),
    new KeyValuePair<string, Type>("Field.Custom1", typeof(decimal)),
    new KeyValuePair<string, Type>("Field.Custom2", typeof(double)),
};

//Add a few sample columns to the source
//Note that the names must look like: Category.Name
_source.AppendColumns(_InitialColumns);

Filling in data is just a matter of creating the space all in one go for the rows (avoid doing this one-by-one as the resizing algorithm is only tuned for small increments) and then setting it:

//Fill in the string column for a sample set of rows
_source.AddNewRows(Rows);

var col0 = _source.Columns[0];
var col1 = _source.Columns[1];

for (int i = 0; i < Rows; i++)
{
    //Description
    col0[i] = string.Format("Row {0:N0}", i);
    //Quantity
    col1[i] = 1.3m;
}

For real-world situations it would be normal to add specific row Metadata such as formatting and certainly the assignment of a Key. One example of the importance of a Key is when the user selects a range of rows in a DataGrid and you need to map these to the actual Business Objects that are associated with the DataRows in the DataSource to run some business process. Another might be just to gain access to the underlying raw typed data. Here I'm simply setting the eighth row to be "special" - in the samples it is used to change the background colour:

//Set custom metadata on row #7
var custom = new RowMetaData { IsSpecial = true };
_source.SetMetaDataContainer(7, custom, key: null);

Expressions can now be assigned, noting carefully where '.' and '!' are used:

var exps = new List<KeyValuePair<string, string>>();

//Create one expression
//Note that the expressions refer to names like: Category!Name
exps.Add(new KeyValuePair<string, string>("Field.Custom1", "=Field!Quantity*Field!Price"));

//Assign expression columns (does not recalculate)
_source.ResetExpressions(_parser, exps);

And the final call must be to recalculate. Here all rows and columns will be processed and only ten Expression run-time exceptions will be allowed per column before the calculation is stopped:

//Evaluation stops after 10 errors on a single expression - this is a tough call because it could be the case that the errors are okay
//so ideally prompt the user and let them recalc with no threshold (-1).
var errorThreshold = 10;

_source.Recalculate(null /*changed columns*/, null /*changed row keys*/, ref errorThreshold);

if (errorThreshold > 0)
{
    MessageBox.Show(this,
        string.Format("Over 10 errors occurred in {0:N0} expression(s)", errorThreshold),
        "Possible error in expression(s)", MessageBoxButton.OK, MessageBoxImage.Stop);
}

If the user triggers some UI that means a different set of fields is needed then the optimal approach is as follows. Note that this will re-use any removed columns so the order may not be as specified. All expressions will be removed so you need ResetExpressions() and Recalculate() just like when first setting up the DataSource:

//This is an alternative set of columns to switch to
static readonly KeyValuePair<string, Type>[] _AlternateColumns = new[]
{
    new KeyValuePair<string, Type>("Field.Custom2", typeof(double)),    //Moved to first
    new KeyValuePair<string, Type>("Field.Quantity", typeof(decimal)),
    new KeyValuePair<string, Type>("Field.Price", typeof(decimal)),
    new KeyValuePair<string, Type>("Field.Custom1", typeof(decimal)),
    new KeyValuePair<string, Type>("Field.Text", typeof(string)),       //New one
    new KeyValuePair<string, Type>("Field.Extra", typeof(string)),      //New one
};

_source.AdjustColumns(_AlternateColumns);
//Same ResetExpressions() and Recalculate() as before

If some external event occurs and new data is available for some rows in some columns then an optimal refresh path can be used. Note carefully that the Price column is the only one that is marked for recalculation but all rows are still processed. If only a subset of rows had indeed been updated then the Keys could be provided to further decrease the recalculation time.

//1. Change the data in the source
var price = _source.GetColumn("Field.Price");
var random = new Random();

for (int i = 0; i < Rows; i++)
{
    //Demo: leave 8th row's price null
    if (i != 7) price[i] = (decimal)Math.Round(random.NextDouble() * 10, 2);
}

//2. Recalculate any custom columns that depend upon this change
_source.Recalculate(new [] { price.Index }, null /*changed row keys*/, ref errorThreshold);
//Same errorThreshold logic as before

Filters

An optional filter may be assigned - any expression that results in a boolean value may be used. The optimal solution is to use ResetExpressions() using the special name _source.ExpressionFilterName to pass in the filter along with any other Expressions:

string FilterExpression = "=Field!Price>1";

var exps = new List<KeyValuePair<string, string>>();

//Create one expression
//Note that the expressions refer to names like: Category!Name
exps.Add(new KeyValuePair<string, string>("Field.Custom1", "=Field!Quantity*Field!Price"));

//Add filter as well using well known name
if (!string.IsNullOrEmpty(FilterExpression)) 
    exps.Add(
        new KeyValuePair<string, string>(_source.ExpressionFilterName, FilterExpression));

//And reset as usual
_source.ResetExpressions(_parser, exps);
//Usual Recalculate() etc

However, the filter is the only Expression that may be added, modified or deleted directly and has it's own recalculation method:

//Alternatively, add/modify/delete the filter separately
_source.EditFilterExpression(_parser, FilterExpression);

_source.RecalculateFilter(null /*changed row keys*/, ref errorThreshold);
//Same errorThreshold logic as before

Once a valid filter has been assigned and recalculation occurred, the results can be read as follows. Currently no indexed access is available but that is trivial to implement with the usual bit masking to index the ulong array used to optimally store the booleans:

if (_source.HasValidFilter)
{
    foreach (var include in _source.FilterEnumerator())
    {
        if (include)
        {
            //DataRow 'i' passes the filter
        }
        i++;
    }
}

Boxing and Binding

Reverse engineering the inbuilt WPF DataGrid and the Winforms DevExpress DataGrid shows that not only is binding the only way to ensure all features are available but that they all rely on the basic .NET Reflection techniques - i.e. all value types are boxed. For these grids as well as the inbuilt Winforms DataGrid (in virtual mode) this boxing-via-Reflection occurs whenever new rows scroll into view.

This is one key reason why the DataSource stores data in object arrays, one per DataColumn and does not bother with more advanced typed approaches (the other reason is the ability to re-use the expensive object array when columns are changed).

Both the aforementioned DataGrids optimally bind to IBindingList and ITypedList implementations where a collection of rows with a fixed set of public properties is expected. Rebinding is a very expensive exercise since it is implemented as if a totally new column schema is being created even if only one column is changed.

It is essential when implementing these interfaces to act like a totally fixed size, static list that supports no notifications. This way, it is possible to support bulk updates, expressions, filtering and sorting in an optimal manner:

  • IBindingList methods and properties either return false or throw NotImplementedException
  • WPF requires quite a few IList and ICollection members to be implemented including IndexOf and CopyTo if the default ListCollectionView is used (not recommended)
  • The inbuilt WinForms DataGrid and WinForms DevExpress DataGrid require minimal implementations

When binding, the DataSource appears as a list of DataRows and the properties provided by ITypedList all map down to column lookups. The key point to note here is that all properties are defined at compile time; this was primarily done to ensure a smooth development experience (when the Debug type checks inevitably fail) and also to keep the code more maintainable.

/// <summary>
/// Represents a virtual row within the datasource (which is represented as columns)
/// NOTE: DO NOT USE THIS CLASS - it is for binding purposes only
/// </summary>
/// <typeparam name="R">Match that used on the DataSource</typeparam>
/// <typeparam name="C">Match that used on the DataSource</typeparam>
public class DataRow<R, C>
	where R : struct
	where C : new()
{
	/// <summary>
	/// Class for meta data stored per row
	/// </summary>
	public struct MetaDataContainer<S> where S : struct
	{
		public Key Key;
		public S Data;
	}

	private readonly DataSource<R, C> _source;

	/// <summary>
	/// The index of the row in the data source
	/// </summary>
	public readonly int RowIndex;

	//This must be in ASCII sortable order
	public object c00 { get { return _source[RowIndex, 0]; } }
	public object c01 { get { return _source[RowIndex, 1]; } }
	public object c02 { get { return _source[RowIndex, 2]; } }
	public object c03 { get { return _source[RowIndex, 3]; } }
	public object c04 { get { return _source[RowIndex, 4]; } }
	public object c05 { get { return _source[RowIndex, 5]; } }
	public object c06 { get { return _source[RowIndex, 6]; } }
	public object c07 { get { return _source[RowIndex, 7]; } }
	public object c08 { get { return _source[RowIndex, 8]; } }
	public object c09 { get { return _source[RowIndex, 9]; } }

	public object c10 { get { return _source[RowIndex, 10]; } }
	public object c11 { get { return _source[RowIndex, 11]; } }
	public object c12 { get { return _source[RowIndex, 12]; } }
    //ETC

Expressions in Practice

Taken on their own the DataSource and Expression parsing are reasonably straightforward; it is when they are combined that things get tricky:

  • If the DataSource Metadata is being saved and reloaded then it is likely that the availability and types of columns used by Expressions may have changed;
  • If an Expression compiles fine but at runtime throws exceptions (e.g. type mismatches) then this can make the UI unresponsive for a long time;
  • A single Expression can depend upon other Expressions and so on leading to circular dependencies which hang the application;
  • Any Expression could actually be a runtime constant so should only be calculated once.

State

Each column in the DataSource keeps track of the state of an an assigned Expression via the DataColumnExpression class which has these properties:

/// <summary>
/// The user-entered formula, starting with '='
/// </summary>
public readonly string Expression;

/// <summary>
/// The fixed Error that occurred during Parsing or Compilation
/// (Check this first)
/// </summary>
public string Error { get; internal set; }

/// <summary>
/// The friendly version of the parsed Expression
/// </summary>
public string Description { get; internal set; }

/// <summary>
/// Non-null only if formula needs other columns
/// </summary>
public readonly ISet<int> ColumnsNeeded;

/// <summary>
/// The order of the columns needed or null
/// </summary>
public readonly int[] DelegateArguments;

/// <summary>
/// The compiled delegate - may be null if in error or derived class doesn't use it
/// </summary>
public Func<object[], object> CompiledDelegate { get; protected set; }

/// <summary>
/// How many row(s) were in error during last recalculation
/// </summary>
public int LastErrorCount { get; internal set; }

In the current design, any re-ordering of columns immediately invalidates Expressions due to the ColumnsNeeded cache above. The creation of this class shows how the Parser, the other available fields and the mapping of field name to column index come together to initialise the Expression state and is worth examining in full:

internal DataColumnExpression(Parser parser, string expression,
	IDictionary<string, Type> fields, Func<string, int> nameToIndexMapper)
{
    Expression = expression;
    //Requires subsequent recalculation
    HasNeverBeenCalculated = true;
    if (Parse(parser, expression, fields))
    {
        Description = parser.Description;
        if (parser.FieldsNeeded.Count > 0)
        {
            //Cache columns and arguments using the immutable column indicies
            ColumnsNeeded = new HashSet<int>();
            foreach (var pair in parser.FieldsNeeded)
            {
                ColumnsNeeded.Add(nameToIndexMapper(pair.Key));
            }
            DelegateArguments = new int[parser.FieldsNeeded.Count];
            foreach (var pair in parser.FieldsNeeded)
                DelegateArguments[pair.Value] = nameToIndexMapper(pair.Key);
        }
    }
    else
    {
        Error = string.Join("\n", parser.Errors);
    }
}

Creation

The ResetExpressions() function forms the core of the integration of Expressions within the DataSource. The parsing, compilation and assignment of the expressions looks roughly like this (see source for full details):

foreach (var pair in expressions)
{
    var idx = _LookupColumnByName[pair.Key];
    _ColumnsWithExpressions.Add(idx);
    var col = _Columns[idx];

    //Marks column as !HasNeverBeenCalculated
    var exp = new DataColumnExpression(parser, pair.Value, dict, 
                                       name => _LookupColumnByName[name]);
    if (exp.Error == null)
    {
        col.ResetTypeOnly(parser.ResultType);
        dict[pair.Key] = parser.ResultType;
    }
    col.Expression = exp;
    //Handle constant columns (parse errors are handled later)
    if (exp.Error == null && exp.ColumnsNeeded == null)
    {
        processed.Add(idx);
        object constant = null;
        try
        {
            constant = exp.CompiledDelegate(null);
            exp.HasNeverBeenCalculated = false;
        }
        catch (Exception ex)
        {
            exp.Error = ex.Message;
            //Errors handled later
            continue;
        }
        col.SetConstantValue(constant);
    }
}

Determining Order

Once all expressions have been parsed, their dependencies recorded and all constant expressions processed, the remaining ones determine the calculation order. A StackLimit is enforced to guard against possible long circular dependency loops and any error will result in all corresponding column data being cleared:

//Recursively determine calculation order, watching out for loops
foreach (var idx in _ColumnsWithExpressions)
{
    var col = _Columns[idx];
    var expression = col.Expression;

    if (!processed.Contains(idx))
    {
        if (expression.Error == null)
        {
            var stackDepth = StackLimit;
            order.Clear();
            _RecurseExpressionDependencies(expression, processed, order, 
                                           ref stackDepth);

            //If no error occurred, watch out for stack overflow
            if (expression.Error == null)
            {
                if (stackDepth >= 0)
                {
                    _CalculationOrder.AddRange(order);
                    _CalculationOrder.Add(idx);
                }
                else expression.Error = "Circular references detected";
            }
        }
        processed.Add(idx);
    }
    //Clear error columns (propagation handled by recursion)
    if (expression.Error != null && col != null) col.SetConstantValue(null);
}

Each Expression has its ColumnsNeeded property processed for Expressions and so on up to the recursion limit. Note that the type of collections used is important as order must be strictly maintained:

void _RecurseExpressionDependencies(DataColumnExpression expression, ISet<int> processed,
    List<int> order, ref int stackDepth)
{
    stackDepth--;
    if (stackDepth < 0) return;
    if (expression.ColumnsNeeded != null)
    {
        string errors = null;
        foreach (var idx in expression.ColumnsNeeded)
        {
            if (processed.Contains(idx)) continue;
            var col = _Columns[idx];
            if (col.Expression != null)
            {
                if (col.Expression.Error == null)
                {
                    _RecurseExpressionDependencies(col.Expression, processed, order, 
                                                   ref stackDepth);
                    //Expression dependencies have been calculated
                    order.Add(col.Index);
                }
                //Stop on first error
                if (col.Expression.Error != null)
                {
                    processed.Add(idx);
                    errors = col.Expression.Error;
                    break;
                }
            }
            processed.Add(idx);
        }
        expression.Error = errors;
    }
}

Calculation

All recalculation of Expressions occurs within Recalculate() and it is used even if there are no Expressions to send notifications of the changes to any listeners - e.g. the DataSourceView described later on in this article uses this change set notification to determine when to re-apply any sorting and filtering to its view.

A simplified version of the routine is instructive - see the source for full details.

Firstly, any caller supplied list of change columns will result in a subset of the main recalculation. This makes a big difference to recalculation time especially for things like changing only the Filter Expression:

public ICollection<int> Recalculate(ICollection<int> changedColumns, 
    ICollection<Key> rows, ref int errorThreshold)
{
    var order = _CalculationOrder;

    //Calculate reduced list based on changed columns
    if (changedColumns != null && changedColumns.Count > 0)
    {
        order = new List<int>(_CalculationOrder.Count);
        var columnsToCalculate = new SortedSet<int>(changedColumns);
        foreach (var idx in _CalculationOrder)
        {
            var exp = _Columns[idx].Expression;
            if (!exp.HasNeverBeenCalculated && !changedColumns.Contains(idx))
            {
                //Has been calculated at least once and user is not forcing a
                //recalculation then only recalculate if any of its 
                //dependencies are being recalculated.
                var neededFields = exp.ColumnsNeeded;
                //Constant and error expressions have already been set
                if (neededFields == null) continue;
                if (!columnsToCalculate.Overlaps(neededFields)) continue;
            }
            columnsToCalculate.Add(idx);
            order.Add(idx);
        }
    }

Columns with expressions are then processed in the (possibly reduced) calculation order, using the cached list of ColumnsNeeded to form the array of input column(s) needed:

    foreach (var idx in order)
    {
        var col = _Columns[idx];
        var expression = col.Expression;
        var error = expression.Error;
        //Valid and non-constant column
        if (error == null && expression.ColumnsNeeded != null)
        {
            var args = new object[expression.DelegateArguments.Length];
            var cols = new DataColumn<C>[args.Length];
            for (int a = 0; a < args.Length; a++)
            {
                cols[a] = _Columns[expression.DelegateArguments[a]];
            }
            expression.LastErrorCount = 0;
            expression.HasNeverBeenCalculated = false;
            //Finally loop over all rows in target column
            for (int i = 0; i < RowCount; i++)
            {
                object value;
                if (_DoOneRow(i, expression, cols, args, out value, errorThreshold))
                {
                    col[i] = value;
                    continue;
                }
                //And clear rest of column
                col.SetConstantValue(null, i);
                res++;
                break;
            }
        }
    }

Finally the Expression is calculated for each row only if all of the input column data on that row are not null (there is currently no support for nullable value types):

static bool _DoOneRow(int i, DataColumnExpression expression, DataColumn<C>[] cols,
    object[] args, out object res, int errorThreshold)
{
    int nullColumns = 0;
    for (int a = 0; a < cols.Length; a++)
    {
        var arg = cols[a][i];
        args[a] = arg;
        if (arg == null) nullColumns++;
    }

    //Force to null if all inputs are null
    if (nullColumns > 0)
    {
        res = null;
        return true;
    }

    //And call
    try
    {
        res = expression.CompiledDelegate(args);
        return true;
    }
    catch (Exception)
    {
        //TODO: show error somewhere but not in column due to type
        res = null;
        expression.LastErrorCount++;
        if ((errorThreshold >= 0) && (expression.LastErrorCount > errorThreshold))
        {
            return false;
        }
        return true;
    }
}

WPF Implementation

The problem with the WPF binding approach is that it tries too hard to always work even when the result will never scale. A good example of this is where it sometimes is perfectly happy to use IEnumerable thereby requiring multiple enumerations just to work out the index of a data item.

Moreover, even the availability of the new INotifyCollectionChanged interface for batched collection changes does not mean that controls like the inbuilt WPF DataGrid or its associated ICollectionView can handle more than one notification at once. The inbuilt sorting and filtering is notoriously slow primarily because of the attempt to generalise too much and to decouple the DataGrid and the ICollectionView from the data.

The DataSourceView

After much reverse engineering the best approach to overcome these (and other) deficiencies is to inherit off the CollectionView class and implement the required IItemProperties and IEnumerator interfaces:

internal class DataSourceView<R, C> : CollectionView, IItemProperties, IEnumerator, IComparer<int>
    where R : struct
    where C : new()
{
    /// <summary>
    /// The underlying source
    /// </summary>
    public readonly DataSource<R, C> Source;

Construction consists of hooking into the DataSource and sorting collections to keep track of when any filter or sorting is changing:

    //Track filter changes
    Source.OnFilterChanged = (exp, isValid) => _filterChanged = true;
    //Track sort changes
    _sortDescriptions = new SortDescriptionCollection();
    ((INotifyCollectionChanged)_sortDescriptions).CollectionChanged 
        += (s, e) => { _sortChanged = true; _sort = null; };
    //Track data changes
    Source.OnCalculation = OnSourceCalculation;

Refreshing is manually handled by firing a single collection reset event only once all changes have been made:

readonly NotifyCollectionChangedEventArgs _CollectionResetArgs = 
    new NotifyCollectionChangedEventArgs(NotifyCollectionChangedAction.Reset);
protected override void RefreshOverride()
{
    //Change detection, filtering and sorting occurs here 
    //- see DataSourceView.cs for more detail
    base.OnCollectionChanged(_CollectionResetArgs);
}

The general view design is to maintain a one-based mapping between the view and the row and vice versa only when filtering or sorting is in effect. The crux of the filtering routine then looks like this:

//Source -> View mapping must be done post any sorting
if (!bIsSorting) Array.Clear(_mapToView, 0, _mapToView.Length);

if (Source.HasValidFilter)
{
    foreach (var include in Source.FilterEnumerator())
    {
        if (include)
        {
            //Use one-based
            _mapToSource[_viewCount] = i + 1;
            _viewCount++;
            //Source -> View mapping must be done post any sorting
            if (!bIsSorting) _mapToView[i] = _viewCount;
        }
        i++;
    }
}
else
{
    //Transitioned from having a filter to none while sorting
    while (i < _sourceCount)
    {
        //Use one-based
        _mapToSource[i] = i + 1;
        //Source -> View mapping must be done post any sorting
        if (!bIsSorting) _mapToView[i] = i + 1;
        i++;
    }
    _viewCount = _sourceCount;
}
//Clear any remainder
Array.Clear(_mapToSource, _viewCount, _mapToSource.Length - _viewCount);

//Cannot update view map without re-applying sorting
if (bIsSorting) _sortChanged = true;

The corresponding sorting routine then first has to (re)create the compiled comparer:

if (_sort == null)
{
    //Create comparer
    var input = new KeyValuePair<Type, bool>[sdCount];
    for (int i = 0; i < input.Length; i++)
    {
        var sd = _sortDescriptions[i];
        var col = Source.Columns[Source.TryGetColumnIndexByBindingName(sd.PropertyName)];
        _sortArgs[i] = (object[])col;
        input[i] = new KeyValuePair<Type, bool>
            (col.Type, sd.Direction == ListSortDirection.Ascending);
    }
    _sort = _parser.CreateComparer(input);
}

Then apply a sorting algorithm to the integer array such as Array.Sort(_mapToSource, 0, _viewCount, /*comparer*/):

//Sort the view -> source map by the source itself
            
//In v4.0, this is pure QuickSort; in v4.5, it is mixed with HeapSort etc
//Array.Sort(_mapToSource, 0, _viewCount, this);

//TimSort - this is stable so better for sorting a grid data from a user perspective
TimSort.ArrayTimSort<int>.Sort(_mapToSource, 0, _viewCount, _Comparer);

//And recreate the source -> view map to match
Array.Clear(_mapToView, 0, _mapToView.Length);
for (int i = 0; i < _viewCount; i++)
{
    //One based
    var src = _mapToSource[i] - 1;
    _mapToView[src] = i + 1;
}

These maps are then used for the two critical functions in the view. Note how the mapping arrays are one-based to avoid the need to reallocate them should a filter cause the number of rows to jump up and down a lot:

public override object GetItemAt(int viewIndex)
{
    if (_usingMapping)
    {
        viewIndex = _mapToSource[viewIndex] - 1;
        Debug.Assert(viewIndex >= 0, 
            "DataSourceView.GetItemAt: an invalid ViewIndex was requested");
    }
    return _sourceAsList[viewIndex];
}

public override int IndexOf(object item)
{
    var row = item as DataRow<R, C>
    if (row != null)
    {
        var res = row.RowIndex;
        if (_usingMapping)
        {
            //Will be -1 if item is in the datasource but not in the view
            res = _mapToView[res] - 1;
        }
        return res;
    }
    return -1;
}

Basic Usage

The most optimal approach is to bind manually in the constructor of the Window with AutoGenerateColumns enabled:

public MainWindow()
{
    InitializeComponent();
    DataContext = this;
    var cvs = new DataSourceView<RowMetaData, ColMetaData>(_source, _parser);
    uiGrid.ItemsSource = cvs;
}

Before the grid becomes visible, hide the columns and enable sorting:

void Window_Loaded(object sender, RoutedEventArgs e)
{
    //Hide all columns and set sort path
    for (int i = 0; i < uiGrid.Columns.Count; i++)
    {
        var ui = (DataGridTextColumn)uiGrid.Columns[i];
        ui.Visibility = System.Windows.Visibility.Collapsed;
        var binding = (Binding)ui.Binding;
        ui.SortMemberPath = binding.Path.Path;
        ui.CanUserSort = true;
    }
}

To use the row Metadata to change colours as described in the DataSource section use the row events:

Brush _brushSaved;
void uiGrid_LoadingRow(object sender, DataGridRowEventArgs e)
{
    var row = (DataRow<RowMetaData, ColMetaData>)e.Row.Item;
    //Format the row
    var md = _source.GetMetaData(row.RowIndex);
    if (md.IsSpecial)
    {
        _brushSaved = e.Row.Background;
        e.Row.Background = Brushes.Plum;
    }
}

void uiGrid_UnloadingRow(object sender, DataGridRowEventArgs e)
{
    var row = (DataRow<RowMetaData, ColMetaData>)e.Row.Item;
    //Clear formatting
    var md = _source.GetMetaData(row.RowIndex);
    if (md.IsSpecial)
    {
        e.Row.Background = _brushSaved;
    }
}

Resetting the DataGrid for first time usage involves using the DataSource routines previously described and controlling the visibility of the UI columns as needed:

void ResetButton_Click(object sender, RoutedEventArgs e)
{
    //Hide all columns, resetting display order
    for (int i = 0; i < _source.ColumnCount; i++)
    {
        var col = uiGrid.Columns[i];
        col.Visibility = System.Windows.Visibility.Collapsed;
        col.SortDirection = null;
        //Doing this cannot be deferred at the view level
        col.DisplayIndex = i;
    }

The key point here is that because all UI columns are actually pre-bound (even though they do not all exist in the DataSource as real Columns) each UI column must be carefully recycled:

    //Recycle columns from the grid
    for (int i = 0; i < _InitialColumns.Length; i++)
    {
        var name = _InitialColumns[i].Key;
        var header = name.Split('.')[1];
        var ui = uiGrid.Columns[i];
        ui.Header = header;
        ui.Visibility = System.Windows.Visibility.Visible;
        //And store in the meta data for easier searching later
        _source.Columns[i].MetaData = new ColMetaData { Column = ui };
    }

Styles need to be programmatically assigned because of the dynamic nature of the columns as does the string formatting to apply. A custom converter assigned to the Binding provides the most flexible approach since the formatting string could be stored within the column Metadata:

    var cellStyle = new Style(typeof(TextBlock));
   cellStyle.Setters.Add(new Setter
       (TextBlock.HorizontalAlignmentProperty, HorizontalAlignment.Right));

   //Format the columns
   for (int i = 1; i < _InitialColumns.Length; i++)
   {
       var ui = (DataGridTextColumn)uiGrid.Columns[i];
       ui.ElementStyle = cellStyle;
       //Bindings are immutable once used so recreate every time
       var binding = (Binding)ui.Binding;
       binding = new Binding(binding.Path.Path);
       binding.Converter = _N2Converter;
       ui.Binding = binding;
   }

Finally the view is asked to perform a refresh, something that ends up in the overridden RefreshOverride() routine:

void RefreshVewOnly()
{
    //This will in practise schedule a dispatcher rebind of only the visible rows
    var view = (DataSourceView<RowMetaData, ColMetaData>)uiGrid.ItemsSource;
    view.Refresh();
}

Tri-State Sorting

The ability to hold the shift-key down and sort multiple columns and to toggle sorting off again are standard features and it is annoying that the inbuilt WPF DataGrid does not have them already. The following code is independent of the custom view and the custom DataSource except for the refreshing which may not work for all views:

void uiGrid_Sorting(object sender, DataGridSortingEventArgs e)
{
    //Cancel default sorting
    e.Handled = true;
    var view = (ICollectionView)uiGrid.ItemsSource;

    var ui = (DataGridTextColumn)e.Column;
    var toMatch = ui.SortMemberPath;
    var sorts = view.SortDescriptions;

    //Cycle: ascending, descending, off
    if (ui.SortDirection == ListSortDirection.Descending)
    {
        if ((Keyboard.Modifiers & ModifierKeys.Shift) == ModifierKeys.Shift)
        {
            //Still holding shift so only remove this sort
            for (var i = 0; i < sorts.Count; i++)
            {
                if (sorts[i].PropertyName == toMatch)
                {
                    sorts.RemoveAt(i);
                    ui.SortDirection = null;
                    break;
                }
            }
        }
        else
        {
            _ClearSorting(sorts);
        }
    }
    else if (ui.SortDirection == ListSortDirection.Ascending)
    //etc
    else
    //etc
    }

    //Refresh view
    view.Refresh();
}

See the WPF sample application for more details on how the other two cases of adding/changing sorting are handled.

WinForms Implementation

The problem with the inbuilt WinForms DataGrid is that it takes abstraction to new levels of silliness with so much decoupling via events that it is almost unusable for real-world data sizes.

Luckily the DataGrid has a fully Virtualised data mode to avoid having to use binding and there are sufficient extension points to suppress the events before they bubble up too far.

The DataSourceView

It seemed sensible to simply alter the WPF DataSourceView to support the filtering and sorting in as similar way as possible to the WPF approach:

internal class DataSourceView<R, C> : IComparer<int>
    where R : struct
    where C : new()
{
    /// <summary>
    /// The underlying source
    /// </summary>
    public readonly DataSource<R, C> Source;

    /// <summary>
    /// Set collection to change it; can be same instance
    /// </summary>
    public ListSortDescriptionCollection SortDescriptions { 
        get { return _ListSortDescriptions; }
        set
        {             
            //Track sort changes
            _ListSortDescriptions = value;
            _sortChanged = true; _sort = null;
        }
    }

Construction consists of hooking into the DataSource and sorting collections (above) to keep track of when any filter or sorting is changing:

    //Track filter changes
    Source.OnFilterChanged = (exp, isValid) => _filterChanged = true;
    //Track data changes
    Source.OnCalculation = OnSourceCalculation;

Refreshing has to be manually handled by the developer at the WinForms level; all this DataSourceView does is indicate if entire rows have changed due to filtering or sorting:

    /// <summary>
    /// Call to refresh the view before refreshing the grid itself
    /// </summary>
    /// <returns>
    /// True if all rows may have changed 
    /// - i.e. due to sorting, filtering or transitioning away from them.
    /// </returns>
    public bool Refresh()
    {
        //Usual logic but also tracking 'possibleRowChanges' - see source for more details
        return possibleRowChanges || _usingMapping;
    }

Unfortunately the implementation of deleting rows is unspeakably bad and I have not found any way to override it. The best workaround so far is to switch to a total reset as soon as the number of rows gets "too much", something that can only be determined empirically. (Trying to use Row visibility instead opened up the whole problem of the internal UI Row classes no longer being shared between all Rows and other problems.)

Another issue is that calling the original Refresh() (causing a collection reset) is far slower than just invalidating the columns. Both these workarounds are implemented to good effect speedwise below:

void RefreshVewOnly(ICollection<int> changes = null)
{
    var possibleRowChanges = _view.Refresh();

    //Estimate at which point removal becomes slower than clearing and re-adding
    const int Tolerance = 200;
    var diff = uiGrid.RowCount - _view.Count;
    if (diff > Tolerance)
    {
        //Workaround: Adding is a cheap operation but removing is terribly slow 
        //Cannot use Visibility of rows because then DataGridViewRows will no longer
        //be shared so rely on a (suppressed) collection reset
        uiGrid.Rows.Clear();
    }
    uiGrid.RowCount = _view.Count;

    //And tell the grid to pull in the data
    if (!uiGrid.Refresh())
    {
        //Now must ask grid to redraw
        if (possibleRowChanges || changes == null || changes.Count == 0)
        {
            //Invalidate everything - this approach is much faster than the 
            //original DataGridView.Refresh()
            foreach (DataGridViewColumn col in uiGrid.Columns)
            {
                if (col.Visible)
                {
                    uiGrid.InvalidateColumn(col.Index);
                    continue;
                }
                //Assume only invisible due to re-use so there won't be any holes
                break;
            }
        }
        else
        {
            foreach (var change in changes)
            {
                var col = _source.Columns[change].MetaData.Column;
                uiGrid.InvalidateColumn(change);
            }
        }
    }
}

Unfortunately to suppress the collection change events a custom DataGridView must be created that itself will create a custom DataGridViewRowCollection:

public class CustomDataGridViewRowCollection : DataGridViewRowCollection, ICollection
{
    readonly static CollectionChangeEventArgs _RefreshCollectionArgs = 
        new CollectionChangeEventArgs(CollectionChangeAction.Refresh, null);
    protected override void OnCollectionChanged(CollectionChangeEventArgs e)
    {
        //Suppress
        ((CustomDataGridView)base.DataGridView).OnRowCollectionDirty();
    }

    internal void Refresh()
    {
        base.OnCollectionChanged(_RefreshCollectionArgs);
    }
}

This custom DataGridViewCollection marks itself as dirty in the custom DataGridView:

public class CustomDataGridView : DataGridView
{
    protected override DataGridViewRowCollection CreateRowsInstance()
    {
        return new CustomDataGridViewRowCollection(this);
    }

    internal void OnRowCollectionDirty()
    {
        //Called by row collection when it is suppressing its collection reset event
        _state |= States.RowCollectionDirty;
    }

    /// <summary>
    /// Perform any pending actions, returning false if invalidation is still needed
    /// </summary>
    public new bool Refresh()
    {
        if (_state.HasFlag(States.RowCollectionDirty))
        {
            ((CustomDataGridViewRowCollection)Rows).Refresh();
            _state &= ~States.RowCollectionDirty;
            return true;
        }
        //Still need redraw
        return false;
    }

The general view design is to maintain a one-based mapping between the view and the row and vice versa only when filtering or sorting is in effect. It has the same implementation as the WPF version so will not be discussed again here.

Basic Usage

The grid must be created manually with VirtualMode enabled:

public Form1()
{
    //Avoid the inevitable rippling effect when painting each cell one by one
    this.DoubleBuffered = true;
    SuspendLayout();

    InitializeComponent();

    #region Create subclassed GridView
    uiGrid = new CustomDataGridView();
    uiGrid.AllowUserToAddRows = false;
    uiGrid.AllowUserToDeleteRows = false;
    uiGrid.AllowUserToOrderColumns = true;
    uiGrid.AllowUserToResizeRows = false;
    uiGrid.MultiSelect = true;
    uiGrid.Name = "uiGrid";
    uiGrid.ReadOnly = true;
    uiGrid.SelectionMode = DataGridViewSelectionMode.FullRowSelect;
    uiGrid.CellFormatting += uiGrid_CellFormatting;
    uiGrid.CellValueNeeded += uiGrid_CellValueNeeded;
    uiGrid.ColumnHeaderMouseClick += uiGrid_ColumnHeaderMouseClick;
    #endregion

    //The normal DataGridView is best used in virtual mode instead
    uiGrid.VirtualMode = true;
    ResumeLayout(true);

    //And use a simplified version of the WPF CollectionView
    _view = new DataSourceView<RowMetaData, ColMetaData>(_source, _parser);
    //Metrics
    _view.OnMetric = OnMetric;
}

Override the required event to provide the data for VirtualMode:

void uiGrid_CellValueNeeded(object sender, DataGridViewCellValueEventArgs e)
{
    //Bug: this can be called asking for cell (0,0) when transitioning to empty view
    if (!_view.IsEmpty) e.Value = _view.GetItemAt(e.RowIndex, e.ColumnIndex);
}

To use the row Metadata to change colours as described in the DataSource section use the event:

void uiGrid_CellFormatting(object sender, DataGridViewCellFormattingEventArgs e)
{
    //E.g. formatting switch determined by the source
    //NOTE: Ideally the cell style should be shared
    if (e.ColumnIndex == 0)
    {
        var md = _source.GetMetaData(e.RowIndex);
        if (md.IsSpecial) e.CellStyle.BackColor = Color.Plum;
    }
}

Resetting the DataGrid for first time usage involves using the DataSource routines previously described and just removing all UI columns:

void uiReset_Click(object sender, EventArgs e)
{
    //Remove columns and clear the datasource
    uiGrid.SuspendLayout();
    uiGrid.Columns.Clear();

Then just create columns in the usual way:

    //Create the columns in the grid
    for (int i = 0; i < _InitialColumns.Length; i++)
    {
        var name = _InitialColumns[i].Key;
        var header = name.Split('.')[1];
        uiGrid.Columns.Add(name, header);
    }

Now set the formatting and the sort mode. The formatting information could be stored within the column Metadata rather than hard-coded:

    //Format the columns
    for (int i = 0; i < _InitialColumns.Length; i++)
    {
        var ui = uiGrid.Columns[i];
        ui.SortMode = DataGridViewColumnSortMode.Programmatic;
        if (i == 0)
        {
            ui.DefaultCellStyle.Alignment = DataGridViewContentAlignment.TopLeft;
            ui.DefaultCellStyle.Format = null;
        }
        else
        {
            //e.g. could be in source meta data
            ui.DefaultCellStyle.Alignment = DataGridViewContentAlignment.TopRight;
            ui.DefaultCellStyle.Format = "N2";
        }
        //And store in the meta data for easier searching later
        _source.Columns[i].MetaData = new ColMetaData { Column = ui };
    }

    //Usual layout
    uiGrid.ResumeLayout();

Finally the view is asked to perform a refresh: see the previously discussed RefreshVewOnly() for details.

Tri-State Sorting

The ability to hold the shift-key down and sort multiple columns and to toggle sorting off again are standard features and it is annoying that the inbuilt WinForms DataGrid does not have them already.

void uiGrid_ColumnHeaderMouseClick(object sender, DataGridViewCellMouseEventArgs e)
{
    var ui = uiGrid.Columns[e.ColumnIndex];
    var toMatch = _view.Properties[e.ColumnIndex];
    var sorts = _view.SortDescriptions;
    var newSorts = new List<ListSortDescription>(sorts.Count + 1);
    //Cycle: ascending, descending, off
    if (ui.HeaderCell.SortGlyphDirection == SortOrder.Descending)
    {
        if ((ModifierKeys & Keys.Shift) == Keys.Shift)
        {
            //Still holding shift so only remove this sort
            for (var i = 0; i < sorts.Count; i++)
            {
                if (sorts[i].PropertyDescriptor == toMatch)
                {
                    ui.HeaderCell.SortGlyphDirection = SortOrder.None;
                    continue;
                }
                newSorts.Add(sorts[i]);
            }
        }
        else
        {
            _ClearSorting(sorts);
        }
    }
    else if (ui.HeaderCell.SortGlyphDirection == SortOrder.Ascending)
    //etc
    else
    //etc
    }

    _view.SortDescriptions = new ListSortDescriptionCollection(newSorts.ToArray());
    //Refresh view
    RefreshVewOnly(changes: null);
}

See the WinForms sample application for more details on how the other two cases of adding/changing sorting are handled.

References

The stable TimSort sorting implementation used

The schema for the Report Definition Language

Issues

  • The WPF grid only binds successfully on .NET v4.5

Enhancements

  • Introduce support for nullable (value) types;
  • Surface the first runtime error for each Expression;
  • Combine the DataRow and Metadata lists into a single collection and replace with an array (with incremental allocation);
  • Implement the handler for Field Expressions like Expression.ToString();
  • Extend DataColumns to support one-time Expression filtering where the result is provided as a separate set of data to enable implementation of the Excel-like drop down filtering lists;
  • Investigate how Grouping might work in the WPF grid by using sorting and row metadata or DataRow;
  • Consider an MRU cache of all expressions to avoid unnecessary parsing.

History

  • 1.0 - Initial write up
  • 1.1 - Added Expressions in Practice
  • 1.2 - Added Issues section

License

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

Share

About the Author

tcassisi
Tovica Ltd
Australia Australia
Toni Cassisi

Comments and Discussions

 
QuestionRegarding .net framework 3.5 PinmemberMember 229965415-Jan-14 19:07 
AnswerRe: Regarding .net framework 3.5 Pinmembertcassisi15-Jan-14 22:20 
GeneralMy vote of 5 PinprofessionalPrasad Khandekar15-Oct-13 2:35 
BugError in WPF Sample PinmemberMember 345610314-Oct-13 18:02 
GeneralRe: Error in WPF Sample Pinmembertcassisi14-Oct-13 22:02 

General General    News News    Suggestion Suggestion    Question Question    Bug Bug    Answer Answer    Joke Joke    Rant Rant    Admin Admin   

Use Ctrl+Left/Right to switch messages, Ctrl+Up/Down to switch threads, Ctrl+Shift+Left/Right to switch pages.

| Advertise | Privacy | Mobile
Web02 | 2.8.140827.1 | Last Updated 15 Oct 2013
Article Copyright 2013 by tcassisi
Everything else Copyright © CodeProject, 1999-2014
Terms of Service
Layout: fixed | fluid