Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Silverlight Spy: A must have tool for any Silverlight Developer

I have been using up Silverlight Spy from many months now, i do a lot of Silverlight development and believe me its a must have tool for every Silverlight developer it gives a feeling that a lot of developer tools have been combined for a Silverlight Developer you have a lot of things in Silverlight Spy, it can be compared to what firebug is to general web development , Silverlight Spy is to a Silverlight Developer. I will show you various different features of Silverlight Spy just as the write-up progresses.

Silverlight Spy Features List discussed in the write-up :-

1.Browser Feature

2.Explorer Feature

3.Output Log

4.Properties Window

5.Code View /XAML/C#


7.Performance Monitor

8.Event Monitor

9.Network Monitor

10.Application Analyzer

11.DLR Shell

12.Cross Domain Access Policy Validator

13.Advanced Settings and Options

Now lets start analyzing every single feature of the Silverlight Spy.

1.Browser Feature

Silverlight spy comes with inbuilt browser feature you can just give the url to any of  Silverlight application and the silverlight spy will open that application for you in the inbuilt browser facility.

2.Explorer Feature

Explorer feature is used to navigate to each element in the Silverlight tree , you can go inside each and every element tree to look into what is the xaml used to build up that application.

Explorer feature combined with various other inbuilt features will let you do in depth analysis and study of the code.Explorer feature is very useful while you are stuck in small UI issues like your canvas or stack panel or grid are not positioning correctly, silverlight spy will be savior for you at those moments.

Like firebug for html pages silverlight  spy also have this highlighting feature in-built as soon as you select some element it will get highlighted in the UI in the inbuilt browser.

Also there is a cool shortcut to quickly highlight and navigate to a particular element in the application , use Ctrl + Shift to navigate to an element in the silverlight tree.

So you can navigate both ways either selecting an element from the UI to the explorer tree or from the explorer tree to the element in the application.


3.Output Log

Output window tells you every minute details which are going on while your app is either loading or running sometime you get really frustrating Ag_Parser errors due to some missing images and many other reasons which you cannot know just by looking into the firebug details of your browser.

So this output window is really helpful in those scenarios as well.

Also the output window lets you know the type of Silverlight application your are using this means the version , prerequisites if any.


4.Properties Window

Properties window is a special window where in you can change the properties of the element selected in the explorer window as shown above in the figure. Property window is a great help to find small UI bugs you can adjust margins, padding and height and width and various other properties to reflect changes in the browser so that you know what exactly you need to change in order to get the change in the actual code.

Explorer view also contains various other features such as Object Browser, Isolated Storage Browser, UI Automation , Styles and also the User Interface.

5.Code View /XAML/C#


Statistics window is also a very important and informative part of the Silverlight spy package it calculates for you the number of objects which have been created under a UI Element , you can get the idea of how many elements are getting created under that UI element and whether so many elements are required or not , it gives you information of the Objects including the UIElements, Geometries and Brushes

7.Performance Monitor

Performance Monitor consists of Memory profiling, process profiling, processor usage, frame rate and isolated storage usage. Performance monitor gives you the real picture of how much memory all your objects and application is taking , how many processes are running and what is the actual load on the processor due to the application, what frame rate is the application running on, and how much isolated storage is being occupied by the Silverlight application

8.Event Monitor

Event Monitor is another important tool built inside the Silverlight Spy , basically Event monitor monitors and reports every event which is getting fired ranging from Mouse Enter to GotFocus and all other events , its very helpful when you want to know why your specific event is not firing or what is causing your event to not fire , its really helpful in those situations.

Another good things is that you can customize which events you want to fire leaving other unnoticed because many times you would not like to fire the mouseEnter event every time because its really irritating.

9.Network Monitor

Network monitor tracks all the traffic passing through the wires it acts like a mini fiddler from within the Silverlight spy, you can get basic network monitoring features for the application  using this Network Monitor tool.

10.Application Analyzer

Application Analyzer consists of two tabs one tab contains the rules and another tab contains the results which are shown after the analyze process is complete.Rules consist of Deployment Rules and Performance Rules


11.DLR Shell

We can also execute dynamic languages such as Ruby and Python in the silverlight applications AppDomain , it has a lot of inbuilt samples also for executing with the DLR Shell, its a very powerful and really interesting feature.

12.Cross Domain Access Policy Validator

Cross Domain Access Policy Validator will let you know the status of the cross domain access of the the service files on your server it checks for the correct clientaccesspolicy.xml and crossdomain.xml files if you want to make cross domains call to a server and you want to know whether the server allows cross domains calls or not you can just check the server with the Cross Domain Access Policy Validator tool.

13.Advanced Settings and Options

There are various other advanced settings which you can configure according to your development needs, as mentioned above you can add the code reflection support to look up into the code from the xap file using the reflector you just have to give the path of the reflector.exe and silverlight spy will automatically decompile the Silverlight assemblies for you.

Sometimes if you have a slow internet connection and the xap file size is large then it might take a long time to download for such situations you can increase the xap file download time to any number of seconds otherwise silverlight spy will give a timeout error as soon as the default time is passed.

Silverlight spy gives you an option to turn on the inbuilt ruler to have accurate measurements in the application UI you can look yourself the relative margins and the height and widths of the UI elements.

You can download the latest bits of the Silverlight spy which works for the latest Silverlight 4 build from

Happy Programming !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Update : 22 Sept 2010

If you are using Silverlight Spy with your MEF application in Silverlight then you will get a nice little error as soon as you try to open up your application in Silverlight Spy.To rectify this you have to go to Tools –> Options –> Advanced->Enable DLR and uncheck the enable DLR option.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

The property 'Multiple Select' does not exist on the type 'RadGridView' in the XML namespace 'clr-namespace:Telerik.Windows.Controls;assembly=Telerik.Windows.Controls.GridView'

If you have updated from the Q32009 version of Telerik RadSilverlight controls to the latest Q1 2010 release of the RadSilverlight controls and you were using MultipleSelect property in the RadGrid then you will get this error.

Its very simple to resolve this error this property on the RadGrid has been declared obsolete and has been replaced by a new property called “SelectionMode”

If you were using MultipleSelect = False, then now you can use SelectionMode = Single , this is the default value and it says only one item can be selected at a time.

If you were using MultipleSelect = True , then now you can use SelectionMode = Extended. this means that items are added to the collection by combining the mouse clicks with Ctrl or Shift keys

There is one more value to this property and this is like SelectionMode = Multiple this means that items are added to collection on the click of the item and are removed from the collection when you click again on the item.

So above mentioned is the solution to your problem if you have recently upgraded from the older version of RadSilverlight controls to the new version of the controls.

Happy Programming!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, February 12, 2010

ElementBinding,Binding Modes & UpdateSourceTrigger Property in Silverlight

Silverlight has a great binding syntax and its two way binding approach is a life saver, also it gives room to various new and creative concepts which developers can use to create really cool apps and features.

In this article i will talk a little about the Two Way Silverlight binding and the UpdateSourceTrigger Property.

Consider an example where we have a TextBox and a Silder control, now we want our TextBox to change its numeric text as we move the thumb of the slider control, now doing this is very simple in Silverlight by the element to element binding syntax, you just have to set the textbox text property to bind to the element slider and set its binding path to the value property of the slider control.

<Slider x:Name="slider" Maximum = "40" Value= "10" />
<TextBox x:Name="tbSliderValues" Text="{Binding ElementName = slider,Path = Value}"/>

So by the above code what you can do is as soon as you change the slider value i.e as you move the slider thumb the text in the textbox gets changed to the current value of the slider.

Now what if you change the text in the textbox , will the same thing works in the reverse order as well , meaning changing the text in the textbox will change the slider value , is it possible ????

Yes this is possible with a very simple tweak , just say thanks to the TwoWay DataBinding syntax of Silverlight

Just modify your code as given below and it will work like charm.

<Slider x:Name="slider" Maximum = "40" Value= "10" />
<TextBox x:Name="tbSliderValues" Text="{Binding ElementName = slider,Path = Value,Mode = TwoWay}"/>

Also to make a little point here about the different types of mode available in Silverlight, basically there are 3 types of mode in Silverlight :-

  1. OneWay
  2. TwoWay
  3. OneTime

One way is used when you know that the changes have to take place in only one direction meaning you can use oneway mode with Slider and TextBlock control in a simple case.

TwoWay mode is used when you want both the binding elements to reflect changes when either one is changed.TwoWay binding mode is the most commonly used mode in silverlight.

OneTime mode is used when you already know that you need to perform binding only one time and later the values related to that thing will never change in your application or if ever they are changing you are not reflecting those changes to your UI.

That said you have got the idea about the binding in Silverlight,now consider a situation in which you have a textbox and on the textchanged property you want to perform the binding to the slider, by setting the mode to two way will only work in this case when you loose focus from the text box i mean it will by default not work on the textchanged event.

So here what we have to do is explicitly force an Update to the property value.

private void tbSliderValue_TextChanged(object sender, TextChangedEventArgs e)
BindingExpression expression =

Now this will update your property everytime the textchanged event is fired for the textbox.

Now if you know that you will not need to update this using the default behaviour as in the case above you can reduce overhead by specifying the UpdateSourceTrigger = Explicit which tells that you already have set the update behavior explicitly so no need to check for the updates

<Slider x:Name="slider" Value="1" Maximum="100" Minimum="1" Width="300" Height="20" />
<TextBox x:Name="tbxSliderValue" TextChanged="tbxSliderValue_TextChanged" Text="{Binding Value, ElementName=slider, Mode=TwoWay, UpdateSourceTrigger=Explicit}" VerticalAlignment="Top" Width="300"/>

UpdateSourceTrigger property has only two values one is Explicit and another is Default

Happy Programminig!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Cannot get the list of output files from the project

If you are a Silverlight developer who likes to keep himself updated on the latest stuff around in technology then you might face this problem. Actually this happens when you upgrade your system to VS2010 , by update i don’t mean that you are changing the target framework to be used to .net framework 4.0 update here just means that your .csproj file now knows that it has to open itself with VS2010 but after sometime if you feel that VS2010 beta is unstable, which looked to me also then you want to revert back to old and tested VS2008 everything can be reverted back without problems but when you will build the project in VS2008 you will notice that it complains “Cannot get the list of output files from the project” this is because the ToolsVersion used is still 4.0

The simple solution is to just go to the .csproj file in any of the text editors and modify the ToolsVersion in every project in the solution which contains your silverlight project.

Just replace the ToolsVersion = 4.0 with ToolsVersion= 3.5 and your solution will start working again.

That’s it.

Happy Programming!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Wireless network problem in WS2008

If you are using WS2008 with your wireless network card or you are using WS2008 on a laptop, you might face a problem that after installing properly the driver of the wireless device WS2008 still couldn’t find any wireless networks.

This is not a bug but a simple issue i.e by default WS2008 doesn’t install the wireless LAN service so you have to install it manually to make your wireless card running.

At first i also got a bit frustrated as to why my wireless network is not working but soon i found out this solution, it was not so direct so i thought to share the solution with you all so that others having the same problem might feel easy to configure it.

Just go to the features section in the server manager and click on “Add Feature” then select “Wireless LAN Service”

After installing the wireless LAN Service your wireless device would start finding the networks.


Happy Programming !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, January 15, 2010

HTTP Error 403.14 - Forbidden The Web server is configured to not list the contents of this directory.

If you are using IIS 7 then you probably might face this error.It’s a little frustrating when such errors occur and simple IIS 6 or IIS 5.1 users when it was really simple to configure and run a website, those users feel really hooked up.

I myself faced a lot of issues but as you progress with IIS 7 you will find it simple to configure and very easy to manage.

As far as this issue is concerned in the earlier versions of IIS we used to just set the directory browsing checkbox to be checked in order to enable directory browsing on the virtual directory or the website, its really simple in IIS 7 also just click the directory browsing option in the configuration section and on the right side of the directory browsing view you will find enable by default directory browsing is disabled.It will be more clear from the below image.

This will solve your Directory Browsing issue for IIS 7.Stay tuned for more on IIS 7 tips and tricks series.

Happy Programming !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!