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Posted 10 Nov 2011

Collections for WPF and NHibernate

, 10 Nov 2011
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Collections for WPF and NHibernate

My current programming project is on the Microsoft .NET platform, and I'm writing code in the C# language. I'm using NHibernate — a popular object/relational mapping tool — in the data access layer, and Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) for the user interface. One of the features making WPF so attractive is data binding. Although I was initially disappointed when I found out that NHibernate's collections don't work correctly out-of-the-box with WPF data binding, I soon found Gary DeReese's blog entry which provides a (partial) solution. Gary's "NotifyingCollectionDemo" shows how a custom collection type can be built to rectify NHibernate's shortcoming. After studying how his ObservableList (which is actually an observable bag) was created relative to the NHibernate API, I began work on my own "ObservableCollections" project which includes three custom collection types: observable bag, observable list, and observable set.

I've finished creating these custom collection types, so you can download the result now (updated 2008-Dec-10) to use in your own projects. The zip archive contains a Visual Studio 2005 solution that includes three projects. The "ObservableCollections" project is the library containing the custom collections. The "ObservableCollections Demo" project is a WPF program that you can run to play with the contents of a sample set and sample list collection. And the "CoreHelpers" project contains some miscellaneous helper classes that I use in various projects. Before running the demo project, however, you'll need to do the following:

  • Add references to the library and demo projects, pointing to the following NHibernate assemblies on your computer (unless already in the GAC): NHibernate, Castle.DynamicProxy, Iesi.Collections, and log4net.
  • Change the absolute path of the database in the hibernate.cfg.xml file to match its location on your computer.
The "CoreHelpers" project includes a OneToManyAssocSync helper class that makes it easy to maintain in-memory the semantics of a one-to-many bidirectional association. The demo project shows how to use it. There is also a ManyToManyAssocSync class for easily maintaining many-to-many bidirectional associations. (See this blog entry for a note about the renaming of these classes from their former names.)


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


About the Author

Adrian Alexander
United States United States
Adrian loves facilitating suave user experiences via the latest and greatest GUI technologies such as Windows 8 Metro-style apps as well as WPF. More generally, he finds joy in architecting software that is easy to comprehend and maintain. He does so by applying design patterns at the top-level, and by incessantly refactoring code at lower levels. He's always interested in hearing about opportunities for full or part-time development work. He resides in Pennsylvania but can potentially travel anywhere in the country. (Writing about himself in the third-person is Adrian's new hobby.)

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