Do you always use the Visual Studio designer for data binding where possible?

Last updated by Igor Goldobin 4 months ago.See history

Basic data binding should always be done in the designer because the syntax for data binding is complex, and confusing for other developers reading the code.

Figure: Simple data binding (binding to a single property) in the designer

Figure: Complex data binding (binding to a list) in the designer

When you need to handle the Format or binding events, you can still use designer data binding, as long as you hook in your events prior to filling data.

private void Form1_Load(object sender, System.EventArgs e)
   Binding currencyBinding = this.textBox1.DataBindings("Text");
   currencyBinding.Format += new 
   currencyBinding.Parse +=
      new ConvertEventHandler(currencyBinding_Parse);


private void currencyBinding_Format(object sender, ConvertEventArgs e)
   if(e.DesiredType == typeof(string))
      e.Value = ((decimal)e.Value).ToString("c");

private void currencyBinding_Parse(object sender, ConvertEventArgs e)
   if(e.DesiredType == typeof(decimal))
      e.Value = Decimal.Parse(e.Value.ToString(),
// Designer auto generated code.
private void InitializeComponent()
    this.cmbTumorQuad = new System.Windows.Forms.ComboBox();
    // cmbTumorQuad
    this.requiredValidator1.SetCustomValidationEnabled(this.cmbTumorQuad, true);
    this.cmbTumorQuad.DataBindings.Add(new System.Windows.Forms.Binding("SelectedValue", this.dvOccMain, "TumorQuadrant"));
    this.cmbTumorQuad.DataSource = this.dvTumorQuad;
    this.cmbTumorQuad.DisplayMember = "Description";
    this.requiredValidator1.SetDisplayName(this.cmbTumorQuad, "");

Figure: Good example - DataBinding in Designer

private void DataBind()
    ChangeBinding(txtRuleName.DataBindings,	"Text", jobRules, "RuleData.RuleName");
    ChangeBinding(cmbFileFilter.DataBindings, "Text", jobRules, "RuleData.FileFilter");
    ChangeBinding(txtSearchString.DataBindings, "Text", jobRules, "RuleData.SearchString");
    ChangeBinding(txtCreatedBy.DataBindings, "Text" , jobRules, "RuleData.EmpCreated");
protected Binding ChangeBinding(ControlBindingsCollection bindings, string propertyName, 
object dataSource, string dataMember, ConvertEventHandler eFormat, ConvertEventHandler eParse) 
    Binding b = bindings[propertyName];
    if ( b != null )
    b = new Binding(propertyName, dataSource, dataMember);
    return b;

Figure: Bad example - DataBinding in Code

private void DataBind()
    picRuleType.Image = Core.GetRuleTypeImage((RuleType)rule.RuleType, 48);
    ruleNameTextBox.Text = rule.RuleName;

    //General Tab
    notesTextBox.Text = rule.RuleDescription;
    ruleUrlTextBox.Text = rule.RuleURL;

    //Search Tab
    cboRuleType.SelectedValue = (RuleType)rule.RuleType;
    searchForTextBox.Text = rule.SearchString;
    shouldExistComboBox.SelectedIndex = (rule.ShouldExist == true ? 0 : 1);

    //Change History Tab
    createdByTextBox.Text = rule.EmpCreated;
    dateCreatedTextBox.Text = rule.DateCreated.ToString();
    lastUpdatedByTextBox.Text = rule.EmpUpdated;
    dateLastUpdatedTextBox.Text = rule.DateUpdated.ToString();

Figure: Bad example - Set controls' values in Code

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