Friday, 15 July 2011

An Introduction to the WPF with the MVVM - Part 1

After three wonderful years working with Java I am back in the C# arena and amazed by how things have changed. When I was working with C# previously it was with .Net 1.1 and as I return .Net 4 is ready to go. I started a new contract and my client suggested that to get ahead of the game I should learn Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), the latest Microsoft framework for creating Windows desktop (and web) applications. It replaces the likes of Windows Forms on the desktop. Two of the major features of WPF are that it is rendered entirely on a computer's graphics card and separates presentation from presentation logic.

Manning is my preferred technical book publisher, so I bought the PDF version of WPF In Action with Visual Studio 2008 and read it on my Kindle. It is a great introduction to producing Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs) with WPF, but I later discovered that although Model-View-ViewModel (MVVM) is covered, the detail is not great. The MVVM pattern is similar to Martin Fowler's Presentation Model, but where the presentation model is a means of creating a UI platform-independent abstraction of a view, MVVM is a standardised way to leverage core features of WPF to simplify the creation of user interfaces. Fortunately there is a great MSDN Magazine article called WPF Apps With The Model-View-ViewModel Design Pattern that explains it simply and in a fair amount of detail.

To demonstrate WPF with MVVM I am going to incrementally develop a small application which allows the user to search an archive of books. The application is called Canon and the source code is available for download from my website. I developed Canon using Visual Studio 2010 and .Net 4, but WPF applications can also be created with Visual Studio 2008 and .Net 3.5. I have assumed that the reader is following along.

Read more. Originally published in CVu.


  1. Very nice explanation and sample of MVVM. Do you have Part 2?

    1. Yes, it's also on my blog: