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A while ago I wrote a blog post, showing you how you can implement your own widget to associate any content item with an image. A lot of people had interest in such a task, at least judging by the comments all of you left. With this next installment, I’m going to extend the image selector and show you how to implement the two most requested features:
To keep things short, I’ll assume you’ve read the other blog post. Before we move on with the implementation, take a look at the following screencast, showing you the end result: Image Selector for News with Album Filtering.
You can download the source code for this example from here.
For the sake of simplicity, let’s start with bullet number 2. Unlike the previous blog post, the whole image selector is extracted in its own assembly. The structure of the project is somewhat different from the one in the previous blog post. Because of this I recommend that you start from scratch, even if you have used the old project. Here are the steps you need to follow:
As you can see, the downloaded class library project contains all files for the image selector, including the scripts and templates. The scripts and templates are embedded resources, not regular files (you can see this in the BuildAction property of each file). Because of this, we need to do some plumbing.
Our image selector uses its own CSS, and we need to change the code that loads it, to get it from the embedded resource, rather than an actual file (like it used to be in the previous version). This is done by the following code in SimpleImageSelector.cs:
If you have followed the above instructions correctly, then you should have a widget working from its own project. With this, one of the requested features is done. The other requirement involves writing a little more code. Implementing filtering by album can be broken down into the following steps:
The first step is simple. We only need a placeholder, where the binder will generate the markup for all albums. In our case this is a UL tag. Here’s the whole selector with the two placeholders – one for a list of albums, and one for a list of images (all DIV tags are there for easier styling and have no functional role):
The binding of the album list is very similar to the binding of the images list. We just need another instance of the GenericCollectionBinder. The only things we have to change are the service it binds to (Albums instead of images), and the markup for displaying a single item:
We now have everything we need in the template, time to write the code that does the actual binding. In the client component for the selector, there is a new property for the new album binder. We only need to call the DataBind() method.
As you can see, we also take note of what is the original URL for the image service. The reason is that when a single album is clicked by the user, the URL changes. Each next click changes the URL by appending the album ID to the original URL (to only retrieve images in that album). This is done, when handling the click command:
When an album is clicked, we get its ID, update the URL of the service to include this ID, and then rebind the list of images. That’s all there is to it.
One more small update in the selector is that instead of URLs, it now keeps the IDs of selected images. The benefit this gives us is that if the URL of an image changes, the selector will not break and will still show the correct image.
If you are not the type of person to implement all the above code, just download the project and follow the installation instructions. I’ve included the implementation as a showcase of working with binders and services. There are easier ways to achieve the same scenario by using our built-in selectors, but this is a topic for another blog post. Happy coding! Let us know what you think in the comments.
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