Tag Archives: simple

No Events: ReactiveUI Windows Forms MVVM-Style


designed using http://viperneo.github.io/winforms-modernui/

This is the next post in the series, looking first at Reactive Extensions (RX) to simplify writing Windows Forms UI logic, then using a viewmodel shared between a WPF gui implementation and a rewritten WinForms version using ReactiveUI, stopping at a short article on testing the viewmodels.


ReactiveUI News

ReactiveUI API has been quite volatile for the last year, and this series is in need of an update[0. See ReactiveUI Design Guidelines]. A CodeProject author gardner9032 published a nice teaser article, showing the ReactiveUI mechanism for writing simplified Viewmodel-View bindings [1. see article @CodeProject], which serves as primary trigger for this post.

There’s plenty of news and updated articles on Paul Betts’ log, providing a good resource for updates on the API. Phil Haack’s blog is also a superb resource for explanations and commentaries on the use of ReactiveUI in real-world applications.

The ReactiveUI project is quite active, as the community seems to have grokked the jist of it, while the list of supported platforms has become more than convincing.

Getting rid of events

The enabling feature of ReactiveUI is writing declarative UI glue code, and if the viewmodels are based on Reactive Extensions, then declarative C# style can be used throughout the project. The previous ReactiveUI Windows Forms examples converted an event sequence into an observable sequence of values. In this example, that will be accomplished conveniently by the ReactiveUI WinForms lbrary. The viewmodels also contained some imperative code. For this article, the viewmodels will not be reused from the previous articles, but written from scratch.


s. code

The viewmodel’s task is the same: something is ticking in the background, while words are counted in the input text asynchronously, and the calculation is throttled to 0.5 seconds. The viewmodel boilerplate is simplified using ReactiveUI.ReactiveObject.

Output (read-only) properties

The ReactiveUI-way of creating output properties is through ObservableAsPropertyHelper.

private readonly ObservableAsPropertyHelper<string> backgroundTicker;
public string BackgroundTicker
        return backgroundTicker.Value;

The constructor of the viewmodel receives an IScheduler for scheduling on the correct thread, and an IObservable, which will be a stream of input from the view. Observe the ToProperty helper:

public MyViewModel(IScheduler scheduler, IObservable<string> input)
        .Select(_ => DateTime.Now.ToLongTimeString())
        .ToProperty(this, x => x.BackgroundTicker, out backgroundTicker);

Word counting logic is implemented in a similar fashion by transforming the incoming stream of strings.


s. code

To remove yet more boilerplate code, WinForms Form specialization implements the ReactiveUI.IViewFor interface. This allows for largely simplified run-time and compile-time checked bindings, avoiding using strings for property names. The implementation is straightforward, and pays off once the views become more complex than this example:


public MyViewModel VM { get; private set; }

object IViewFor.ViewModel
    get { return VM; }
    set { VM = (MyViewModel)value; }

MyViewModel IViewFor<MyViewModel>.ViewModel
    get { return VM; }
    set { VM = value; }


None of the controls in the designed WinForm have wired events or bindings set from the designer. The glue code is reduced to instantiating the viewmodel …

VM = new MyViewModel(
    new System.Reactive.Concurrency.ControlScheduler(this),
    this.WhenAnyValue(x => x.inputBox.Text)

… and declaring the bindings[2. The ReactiveUI WinForms implementation seems not to support fully read-only fields using default bindings yet, hence an empty setter in the viewmodel] [3. The scheduler is from Windows Forms helpers].

this.Bind(VM, x => x.BackgroundTicker, x => x.tickerBox.Text);
this.Bind(VM, x => x.WordCount, x => x.wordCountBox.Text);



ris – a lightweight cross-platform resource compiler for c++ projects

Why a resource compiler in the 21st century?

Starting a c++ project that will potentially need static string resources (i.e. Lua scripts) makes one search for an easy way to embed large strings in an executable. There are many ways of including static resources, but there seems to be no simple but robust, platform-independent way [1. http://stackoverflow.com/questions/5479691/is-there-any-standard-way-of-embedding-resources-into-linux-executable-image]. For fast prototyping and one-shot projects, I’d like to have lightweight, minimum-configuration and install solution to the problem of embedding binary resources without having to use a large framework.

Premake, my favourite light-weight meta-build system contains a number of Lua scripts in its binary. These are embedded using a Lua script into a simple array of C-string constants. This is the simplicity that in my view should be strived for. ris is an attempt to do something similar for general c++ projects with a possibility of embedding binary blobs.

ris – cross-platform resource compiler for c++

The project (ris@github) is in its infancy, but seems already to be usable. Here’s a preview:

Defining and compiling resources

ris <path_to>/<resources>.json

with an input file as this self-explaining one:

    "namespace" : "test",
    "header" : "acceptance_test/resource.h",
    "source" : "acceptance_test/resource.cpp",
    "resources" : [
            "name" : "string_test",
            "source_type" : "string",
            "source" : "plain text"
            "name" : "binary_file_test",
            "source_type" : "file",
            "source" : "test.bin"

will generate two c++11 files to include in your project, enabling easy resource retrieval:

std::string res = test::Resource::string_test();


std::string res = test::Resource::Get("string_test");

Update 30.07.2015: now resources can be defined more concisely in YAML. A minimal resource definition in YAML looks like the following:

header: "res.h"
source: "res.cpp"

    compression: "LZ4F"
    name: "some_text"
    source: "some text"
    source_type: "string"

Enumerating the resources

Resource keys in the compiled resource can be enumerated passing a callable to GetKeys:

std::vector<std::string> keys;
test::Resource::GetKeys([&keys](char const* key){


Using an optional compression library bundle, adding a compression property to a resource description enables transparent (de)compression:

"compression" : "LZ4HC"


updated 24.11.2014:
ris now uses text resources generated and bootstrapped by its own early version. The goal is to make The code generator is customizable. The default template can be seen in template.json, and the generated header in template.h. The generation sequence can be seen in ris.cpp.

Using the second parameter to ris, it’s possible to override strings in the generator template. See an example below.


updated 27.11.2014:
One such customization is available in template_cpp03.json, where the C++11 constructs are replaced with generateable C++03 constructs.

To generate the resources using the C++03 template:

ris my_template.json template_cpp03.json

Why C++?

Such code generator as ris could most probably be developed more rapidly using any other programming language with a huge framework and a ton of libraries behind them. My personal preference for certain kinds of small projects lies in the area of self-contained single-binary/single-file executables or libraries, such as Lua. Lua is the primary motivation for this project, as it is itself a compact library for building flexible and extensible prototypes and tools. ris can act as a bootstrapping component to embed resources for building specialized shell-scripting replacements, i.e. for massive scripted file operations.



There is a number of paths this project can take from here. Features, such as robustness, performance or flexibility could all be addressed, but most probably ris will be shaped by its usage or absence of such.

The quest for a c++ Dependency Injection Container library. Part 3, beginning dicpp

Dependency Injection + C++ = dicpp

The first article introduced the example problem – an almost trivial example for dependency injection. One of the implementation classes is mocked within a test to show the resulting implementation configuration flexibility.

Another library in the quest is dicpp. It is somewhat similar to sauce with little twists, hence it required some trial and error to get right after sauce. Dicpp configures the dependencies in code and allows configurable lifetime scopes.


Modules are, again, similar to sauce’s modules, as they can be simple functions for registering the bindings of interfaces to implementations.

The library uses a slightly intrusive macro that puts a special typedef in the class’ declaration. One constructor is supported and should be split into declaration and definition. The macro for the renderer looks as follows:

class DicppKeyRenderer : public IRender {
	DI_CONSTRUCTOR(DicppKeyRenderer,(std::shared_ptr< IGetKeyValue > m));

Without changing the existing factory, the default implementations are used:

DicppKeyRenderer::DicppKeyRenderer(std::shared_ptr< IGetKeyValue > m) :
	pimpl ( NewKeyRenderer(m) ) { }

The module with the bindings looks as follows (dicpp_module.cpp):

void dicpp_module( di::registry& r ) {
	r.add( r.type< IGetKeyValue >().implementation<DicppJsonDecoder>() );
	r.add( r.type< IRender >     ().implementation<DicppKeyRenderer>() );

Mock and the Singleton scope

To set the mock expectations on an instance of a dependency, one needs to obtain a pointer to that dependency. Once again, the mock implementation of an interface is done via googlemock:

class MockModel : public IModel {
	MOCK_METHOD0(Get, std::string());

To obtain the same instance of the mocked IModel as which gets resolved automatically, one can use a dedicated scope, such as the singleton scope. The mock is added to the module in the singleton scope:

void mock_module( di::registry& r ) {
	r.add( r
		.in_scope<di::scopes::singleton>() )

Configuring the injector


The injector is the container of bindings that gets configured by adding modules:

di::injector inj;
inj.install( dicpp_module );
inj.install( mock_module );

Configuring the mock

With the modules “installed” in the injector, the singleton mock instance can be obtained:

auto mock_model = inj.construct_ptr< IModel >();

MockModel* mock_model_ptr = dynamic_cast< MockModel* >(mock_model.get());
ASSERT_TRUE( mock_model_ptr );

EXPECT_CALL(*mock_model_ptr, Get())
	.WillRepeatedly(Return("{ \"a\" : 1 , \"b\" : 2 }"));

Logging in dicpp

An interesting feature in dicpp is logging of the library activity. The feature can be overridden or turned off via macro definition. The construction of dependencies can be traced, such as here, slightly shortened :

[DICPP]: Registering: IGetKeyValue with implementation: DicppJsonDecoder in scope: di::scopes::no_scope
[DICPP]: Registering: IModel with implementation: MockModel in scope: di::scopes::singleton
[DICPP]: Registering: MockModel with implementation: MockModel in scope: di::scopes::no_scope
[DICPP]: Constructing: di::type_key<IModel, void>
[DICPP]: Provided type: di::type_key<IModel, void>
[DICPP]: Singleton: constructing: di::type_key<IModel, void>
[DICPP]: Generic constructing IModel with implementation: MockModel
[DICPP]: Completed constructing: di::type_key<IModel, void> with address: 0x7fd0b2600e40
[DICPP]: Singleton: returning existing: di::type_key<IModel, void>

As one can see, two bindings are registered for one implementation – the interface and implementation can be resolved at later time.


The rest of the example is very similar to the first and the second parts of the quest:

auto renderer = inj.construct_ptr< IRender >();
ASSERT_EQ( "a,b", renderer->Render() );

Although the library is very similar to sauce, the binding definition language doesn’t read as fluently as that of wallaroo or sauce. Further articles may elaborate on the outstanding features of either library.

Source: https://github.com/d-led/test-ioc-cpp


05.11.2014: Removed boost<->std shared_ptr conversions, as dicpp has been updated in the meanwhile

More to come…