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Posted 25 Oct 2008

Silverlight Drag and Drop Custom Controls

, 25 Oct 2008 CPOL
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How to create Custom Control and Drag and Drop Functionality


Everything started in a Microsoft Event where I was able to view the Coolness of the Digg Sample when this was neither on the web and Silverlight beta 1 and beta 2 were coming.

I personally believe that RIA (Rich Internet Applications) is becoming the Windows on the Web, and these are the reasons why:

  • In Silverlight, you are working on the Client Environment and don't have postbacks.
  • In Silverlight, you can animate the user interaction like a WPF application.
  • In Silverlight, you can create a control that is customizable by Application Styles, I know this sounds like CSS but it goes to a different level.

Using the Code

The Drag Control is a Control based from the User Control that provides the user the ability to forget about setting the Mouse Capture events in his code.

public class DragControl : UserControl
    private bool _isMouseDown;
    private Point _lastPosition;
    int zIndex = 0;

Note the Extra variables that will help you on the events since we don't want to redo everything over and over especially if we don't need it. Then you will need the events of the Mouse, on the Mouse Down you should be able to detect it and place your control on top of any other control, I've used a BringToFront() method that will help me perform this action.

protected override void OnMouseLeftButtonDown(MouseButtonEventArgs e)
    _isMouseDown = true;
    _lastPosition = e.GetPosition(Application.Current.RootVisual);

Now that we have the Button Down, we need the Up event. This is pretty easy since we just need to say stop here and not continue any action.

protected override void OnMouseLeftButtonUp(MouseButtonEventArgs e)
    _isMouseDown = false;
    zIndex = 0;

And finally we will need the MouseMouse event. This is the one that handles the motion of the control.

protected override void OnMouseMove(MouseEventArgs e)
    if (_isMouseDown)
        Point currentPosition = e.GetPosition(Application.Current.RootVisual);
        Canvas.SetLeft(this, currentPosition.X);
        Canvas.SetTop(this, currentPosition.Y);
        _lastPosition = currentPosition;

Also important is our BringToFront() function that will help you give that Windows functionality when you click to bring to front. Please note that my Main Control is a Canvas, this is why I convert the Parent as Canvas.

protected void BringToFront()
    if (zIndex == 0)
        var oldIndex = this.zIndex;
        var mainCanvas = this.Parent as Canvas;
        foreach (FrameworkElement fElement in mainCanvas.Children)
            Canvas.SetZIndex(fElement, 0);
        Canvas.SetZIndex(this, 2);
        zIndex = 1;

Points of Interest

You will find that the BringtoFront method will let you do the work only if the Parent is a Canvas. The funny part is that if you are using Stack Panels or Grid, then you will have to do this work.

The canvas is the perfect example since this allows to position controls using left and top attributes.

Note: Due to some reason when compiling for the first time, VS2008 generates the code behind (file name with extension .g.cs). Please make sure you do change the base class declared here in order to make it work.


  • 25th October, 2008: Initial post


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


About the Author

diego jose
Software Developer
United States United States
I was born in Ecuador where i used to repair and broke computers (literally).
I learn about drivers and disasembly of laptops, pcs (Mainly Compaq, IBM, Gateway) in those young years.
I was sent to Mexico to get a Bachelos degree where i was able to be part or the Microsoft Lab of Technologies as a Student Consultant
By the time my major came i had 3 jobs and was getting a lot of experience.
At the first year I got a promotion to be a Software Factort Manager, by some reason I came to the US to work for a Java / HTML / Javascript company where I learned about the black side.

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Comments and Discussions

GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
Linus033015-Jul-10 22:50
memberLinus033015-Jul-10 22:50 
GeneralModification to account for offset of mouse location vs. x,y location of control Pin
Atmospherian1-Mar-10 7:50
memberAtmospherian1-Mar-10 7:50 
GeneralButton control rather than Image Pin
Joydeep Sen1-Mar-09 0:11
memberJoydeep Sen1-Mar-09 0:11 
GeneralMy vote of 1 Pin
Peter_Bernheim15-Feb-09 12:11
memberPeter_Bernheim15-Feb-09 12:11 
Questionmissing something? how does the control know where it is dropped, not only the coordinates, but the control beneath Pin
Zimin12-Feb-09 0:47
memberZimin12-Feb-09 0:47 

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