Friday, November 2, 2012

More about Catel and Prism in combination

Introduction

Since Catel 3.2 the support of Prism was enhanced. The fact is that several classes were introduced into Catel.Extensions.Prism to simplify the modules and bootstrapper implementation, and thanks to dependency injection support of the ServiceLocator everything can be done with Catel without the usage of third party containers.

But  now, with 3.4, a lot of improvements were introduced and the Prism extension is working like charm.

Lets take a look to a couple of scenarios.
 

Modularity with Catel explained

Probably you actually noticed the close resemblance of the UI with the Prism's Quick Start examples (with MEF or Unity). Actually this example is an adaptation of the original sources in order to show how use the Prism features in combination with Catel.

   

Here are some implementation details:

1) Catel comes with two versions of  generic classes, named BootstrapperBase, that helps to initialize with ease the shell and the module catalog. There are several methods that you are able to override, such as ConfigureContainer or ConfigureModuleCatalog, in order to setup the IoC container (a.k.a ServiceLocator) and the module catalog respectively, just like this:

    /// <summary>
    /// Initializes Prism to start this quickstart Prism application to use Catel.
    /// </summary>
    public class QuickStartBootstrapper : BootstrapperBase<Shell, CompositeModuleCatalog>
    {
        #region Fields

        /// <summary>
        /// The callback logger.
        /// </summary>
        private readonly CallbackLogger callbackLogger = new CallbackLogger();

        #endregion

        #region Methods

        /// <summary>
        /// Configures the <see cref="IServiceLocator"/>. May be overwritten in a derived class to add specific
        /// type mappings required by the application.
        /// </summary>
        protected override void ConfigureContainer()
        {
            base.ConfigureContainer();
            Container.RegisterTypeIfNotYetRegistered<IModuleTracker, ModuleTracker>();

            LogManager.AddListener(callbackLogger);

            Container.RegisterInstance<CallbackLogger>(callbackLogger);
        }

        /// <summary>
        /// Configures the <see cref="IModuleCatalog"/> used by Prism.
        /// </summary>
        protected override void ConfigureModuleCatalog()
        {
            ModuleCatalog.Add(Catel.Modules.ModuleCatalog.CreateFromXaml(new Uri("/ModularityWithCatel.Silverlight;component/ModulesCatalog.xaml", UriKind.Relative)));

            var moduleCatalog = new ModuleCatalog();
            // Module A is defined in the code.
            Type moduleAType = typeof(ModuleA.ModuleA);
            moduleCatalog.AddModule(new ModuleInfo(moduleAType.Name, moduleAType.AssemblyQualifiedName, "ModuleD"));

            // Module C is defined in the code.
            Type moduleCType = typeof(ModuleC.ModuleC);
            moduleCatalog.AddModule(new ModuleInfo { ModuleName = moduleCType.Name, ModuleType = moduleCType.AssemblyQualifiedName, InitializationMode = InitializationMode.OnDemand });

            ModuleCatalog.Add(moduleCatalog);
        }

        #endregion
    }

2) Catel also comes with the CompositeModuleCatalog class to deal with many catalog as one. The current implementation actually "allow" cross module catalog's module dependencies.

3) For a module implementation the common approach is  inherit from ModuleBase just like this:


    /// <summary>
    /// A module for the quickstart.
    /// </summary>
    public class ModuleA : ModuleBase
    {
        /// <summary>
        /// Initializes a new instance of the <see cref="ModuleA"/> class.
        /// </summary>
        /// </param name="moduleTracker">The module tracker.</param>        
        public ModuleA(IModuleTracker moduleTracker) : base("ModuleA", moduleTracker)
        {
        }
    }

4) The common implementation of the application class is about the instantiation of the Bootstrapper and making a call to the Run method.

var bootstrapper = new QuickStartBootstrapper();
bootstrapper.Run();

But, what will happend if you call RunWithSplashScreen instead? Try with the latest beta and discover the feature by your self or just take a look into orchesta.

Enhanced working with regions

Some time ago, I wrote about a feature where your were able to inject a view from a view model from it's view model:
 
 
	var employeeViewModel = new EmployeeViewModel();
	var uiVisualizerService = GetService<IUIVisualizerService>();
	uiVisualizerService.Activate(viewModel, "MainRegion");

1) But now you can deal with more than one shell and do this:

	uiVisualizerService.Activate(employeeViewModel, this, "MainRegion");

Where the second parameter is the parent view-model.

2) Actually you are able to inject views (referencing it's view models) in any window. Just like the previous example but in combination with the experimental extension method Show:

	var uiVisualizerService = GetService<IUIVisualizerService>();
	var windowViewModel = new WindowWithRegionViewModel();
	uiVisualizerService.Show(windowViewModel, () => { uiVisualizerService.Activate(new EmployeeViewModel(),  windowViewModel, "WindowMainRegion") });

Conclusions

1) The usage of third party Prism Extensions like MEF or Unity is no longer required. Catel Service Locator support dependency injection and is actually configured to work just as Prism expect, the fact is that the ServiceLocatorAdapter do this job.
 
2) Now, you are able to have a nice programming session with Prism & Catel.