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Introducing the Property Editor Control - Fundamentals - Part 1

In an early Blog, I described the new Property Editor Control.  In this blog I will expand on this new control.

As described earlier the control was developed in order to dynamically build a Profile form from an indeterminate collection of Profile Properties.  In discussions with Joe Brinkman, it immediately became clear to us that this control would have quite a few uses, and would be a powerful addition to the module developers toolkit.

This article will begin to describe the underlying arhcitecture of the suite of controls (collectively know as the Property Editor).  

The Property Editor comprises a number of building blocks.
  1. Five top level controls are included that can be used directly by a developer.
    1. FieldEditorControl - this control encapsulates what would usually be one row of an Edit Page (ie a Label, an Edit Control, a Required Icon, and Validator controls).  This control is used as a fundamental building block by all other top level controls
    2. PropertyEditorControl - this control uses 1 or more FieldEditorControls to display the properties of an instance of a class.  The control is configured by decorating the properties of the class with Attributes.
    3. CollectionEditorControl - this control uses one or more FieldEditorControls to display the values of a Collection (actually anything that implements IEnumerable).
    4. ProfileEditorControl - this is a customised override of the CollectionEditorControl, used to edit a user's profile, which contains a collection of ProfilePropertyDefinition objects - each ProfilePropertyDefinition object maps to a single FieldEditorControl.
    5. SettingsEditorControl - this control uses 1 or more FieldEditorControls to display the values of a Settings Hashtable.
  2. EditorInfo Class - This fundamental supporting class defines a single row of the Editor, and is used to "build" a single row.    I will go into more detail on this class in a future Blog.
  3. IEditorInfoAdapter interface - this interface defines three methods CreateEditor, UpdateValue and UpdateVisibility. Again I will go into more detail on this interface (and the three included implementations), but the simple description is that it allows us to use the same underlying engine to display, edit, and update different types of data.
  4. EditControlFactory - This Factory class builds the appropriate EditControl for the data.  So for instance text data might be displayed using a text box, boolean data using a check box and List data using a drop-down combo or radio-button list.
  5. EditControl - This is a base class for all the edit controls.
  6. Custom Edit Controls - Different overrides of EditControl are provided for different data types. The system is very flexible and extensible, allowing the developer to create their own EditControl for their own DataType.
If you look at the PropertyEditor folder you will see there are 48 files(classes) as part of the core distribution.

This Blog is just an overview of these classes.  Future Blogs will delve into some of the classes in more detail.


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