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Getting Started with Xaml Helpmeet

622357 So you have downloaded and installed Xaml Helpmeet (XHM) into Visual Studio 2012! Now what? One of the best ways to learn how to use XHM is to experiment with the options within the Xaml text editor's context menu under "Xaml Helpmeet" and see how each of the options functions. But you can read on here to get a quick overview of the most important features of the extension, and then take a look at our Documentation pages for more detailed information, including features not necessarily mentioned here. If you have already searched these places for help, and still need help, come over to the XHM Discussions forum and search there. If you still need help, just start a new topic in the forum, and someone will surely come to your aid.

Every function in XHM is available from one of two menus. One menu is in the code editor context menu. In the code editor right click anywhere within the window to open the context menu, and then look for the "Xaml Helpmeet" menu toward the bottom of the context menu. It will look similar to the image on you see above right.

622356 Like several other options the "Create View Model" option will open a window where you can select a model class contained within your project. After selecting the class another window represented below will open where you can configure how the view model will be created. Once done click the "Create" button and a new view model class will be created and placed on the Windows clipboard to be pasted in your code.

As you might guess the "About Xaml Helpmeet" option will open the XHM about window. Information about the program, where to get help, where to download the source, licensing, and other information is available within that window.

You will be able to find the XHM about window option in the other context menu too. That menu is discussed next.

The second menu can be found near the top of the xaml editor context menu. To get to this menu you need to start editing a xaml file. If when you open the xaml file you find yourself in the design view, click on the "XAML" tab to view the XML tags that make up the file, and then right click anywhere within the text window.

622358 Naturally most of the XHM commands are found within this menu. There are some similarities among the options as well as some differences among them which are important to note. Some of these options require you to select some text within the window before they can be used. When text is not selected, those options will be disabled (as you see here). All of these options result in changes made to the xaml when they are carried out.

Other options are similar to the "Create View Model" option mentioned above in that they place xaml on the clipboard you are expected to paste into an appropriate location within the xaml.

The text that you need to select will depend on the option you want to invoke. You should always select text that begins and ends with the same element tags. In other words the entire Grid control (including its contents) from the opening tag to the closing tag. Some of the commands may not enforce this, so it is up to you to select something appropriate for the command.

Lets take a quick look at what these commands do. At the top of this menu is the "Tools" sub-menu. In it are two options. One is a second instance of the "About" window command, and the other opens a settings window where you can set some defaults based on your preferences. You can open the window to see what it does.

The next item opens a window allowing you to "Edit Grid Rows and Columns." You should have a complete Grid control selected for this. The window gives you the ability to add or remove rows and columns, and to set some of their attributes.

The next three options will open the class selector and then a window to help you create views for the selected class. Each option creates different kinds of windows, so you should try each out to realize their capabilities.

"Remove All Margins" does what it suggests. Select a control that has margins you want to remove, and click this item, and all the margins will be removed from the control effectively setting the margins to zero.

622376 The next option is similar to the last, but is a little more aggressive in that it will remove margins, minimum heights and widths, and if the control is a Grid, it will set all of the rows and columns to "Auto," All of the options give you a chance to change your mind as you see in this prompt.

The uniquely named "Chainsaw" option is the most aggressive option yet. It will do the same as the previous option plus it will remove all name properties, i.e., "x:Name" and "Name."

The last item in this menu leads to another sub-menu containing various similar "Group into" options. To use these options you should select a control within the xaml window, and then select one of the options on this sub-menu to group the selected control within one of the various controls offered within that menu.

Well I suppose if I want to keep this page named "Quick Start," I should quickly bring it to a conclusion. We hope you enjoy using this tool. At this time we know there are bugs in the software, but we hope the bugs will not be too serious and numerous to prevent its use. If you have problems with it, please let us know. We want this tool to be useful to you in your xaml programming.


Last edited Feb 12, 2013 at 1:42 AM by gloder, version 4


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