One of the things that most MVVM frameworks provide is a class implementing INotifyPropertyChanged and so forth in order to allow data binding to work correctly. The ReactiveUI way of providing this is to provide a base class named ReactiveObject from which you can derive view models.

Let’s add a view model for the main window named MainWindowViewModel and then in the constructor of MainWindow (yeah, I know) set the DataContext to a new instance of that:

public MainWindow()
	DataContext = new MainWindowViewModel();

Next, in the MainWindow XAML, we’ll add a TextBlock and a TextBox, and bind them to the same as-yet non-existent property on the ViewModel, for now using the standard built-in XAML binding strings:

    <TextBlock Text="{Binding Path=SomeText, Mode=OneWay}"></TextBlock>
    <TextBox Text="{Binding Path=SomeText, UpdateSourceTrigger=PropertyChanged}"></TextBox>

Now we need to add the SomeText property to the ViewModel. The ReactiveUI way to do this is to have a property and a backing field:

public class MainWindowViewModel : ReactiveObject
	private string _SomeText;

	public string SomeText
		get { return _SomeText; }
		set { this.RaiseAndSetIfChanged(value); }

Hackery with DotPeek (since I don’t have the source to hand) shows that the implementation of RaiseAndSetIfChanged is actually an extension method defined in the ReactiveObjectExpressionMixin class, with the following signature:

public static TRet RaiseAndSetIfChanged<TObj, TRet>(
   this TObj This, TRet newValue, [CallerMemberName] string propertyName = null)
      where TObj : ReactiveObject

TObj can be inferred from the type making the call (provided the this keyword is used to qualify the call), and TRet is inferred from the type of the property. The cunning part here (not unique to Reactive UI) is the use of [CallerMemberName] which is evaluated at compile time to pass the name of the property as a string (as you can see by decompiling your application). This prevents us having to use magic strings in our propertyName call, or from having to use the other overload which uses an expression tree. This overload works in WPF where we can use reflection to determine which backing field should be used. On other platforms where this isn’t possible, there’s an overload which takes a reference to the backing field which should be set.

Having put this property on the ViewModel, the app runs as expected - the value of SomeText set by typing in the TextBox is reflected in the TextBlock.

However, using RaiseAndSetIfChanged required us to declare the backing property with the name _SomeText. Personally I don’t like this convention - I’d rather the backing properties followed the normal naming convention of _someText. Fortunately this can be changed - the Intellisense says we need to replace the RxApp.GetFieldNameForPropertyNameFunc with one which will do what we want.

For now I’m going to do that in the constructor of the App class (although it probably belongs in an application bootstrapper):

public App()
	RxApp.GetFieldNameForPropertyNameFunc = s =>
      string.Format("_{0}{1}", s.Substring(0, 1).ToLowerInvariant(), s.Substring(1));

After this change, the field name can be changed to _someText, and all is well.

In the next post, I’m going to look at binding commands to buttons.