Archive for May, 2011

WinForms: How to hide checkbox of the certain TreeNode in TreeView control

May 18th, 2011 4 comments

     Recently I needed to hide the checkboxes of some nodes in a TreeView-control, i.e. some nodes should be checkable, but the rest shouldn’t.

The standard TreeView doesn’t allow doing that directly, but Windows API will help us out. The main idea is to catch the moment when a node has been added to the TreeView, then to examine whether the node’s checkbox must be hidden and, if yes, to send a certain TVM_SETITEM message to the TreeView to hide the checkbox.

Unfortunately, the TreeView doesn’t provide us with an event to be fired right after a node has been added. So, we don’t have any choice, but to deal with WinAPI messages directly inside WndProc.

Having used .Net Reflector I’ve found out that while a node is being added to the Nodes-collection of either the TreeView or another node the following code is running (this piece of code is borrowed from the internal Realize method of the TreeNode class):

this.handle = UnsafeNativeMethods.SendMessage(
      new HandleRef(this.TreeView, this.TreeView.Handle), 
      NativeMethods.TVM_INSERTITEM, 0, ref lParam); // the first statement
treeView.nodeTable[this.handle] = this; // the second statement
this.UpdateNode(4); // the third statement

As we can see, after the first statement has been executed the TreeView receives a TVM_INSERTITEM message. In the WndProc of the TreeView, we could catch this message and fetch out the newly added node’s handle from it. The next step would be a getting a TreeNode-object corresponding to the handle as we need the latter to examine whether its checkbox must be hidden. However, at that stage the handle and the TreeNode wrapping it couldn’t yet be matched. The correct matching is available only after the pair <node’s handle, TreeNode-object> has been added to the TreeView‘s hashtable named nodeTable, in other words, after the second statement has completed. Evidently, the TVM_INSERTITEM message would be already processed by that moment. That means the TVM_INSERTITEM can’t be used, and we have to catch and handle another WinAPI message.

Luckily, right after the node has been added and the mapping between the handle and the TreeNode-object has been set up, the UpdateNode method (the third statement) emits a TVM_SETITEM message to the TreeView. So, I decided to handle this type of messages to hide unwanted checkboxes.

Below are two classes, HiddenCheckBoxTreeNode and MixedCheckBoxesTreeView, derived from the built-in TreeNode and TreeView classes respectively. The HiddenCheckBoxTreeNode class indicates a node with checkbox to be hidden. The MixedCheckBoxesTreeView class, in turn, hides unwanted checkboxes.

/// <summary>
/// Represents a node with hidden checkbox
/// </summary>
public class HiddenCheckBoxTreeNode : TreeNode
    public HiddenCheckBoxTreeNode() { }
    public HiddenCheckBoxTreeNode(string text) : base(text) { }
    public HiddenCheckBoxTreeNode(string text, TreeNode[] children) : base(text, children) { }
    public HiddenCheckBoxTreeNode(string text, int imageIndex, int selectedImageIndex) : base(text, imageIndex, selectedImageIndex) { }
    public HiddenCheckBoxTreeNode(string text, int imageIndex, int selectedImageIndex, TreeNode[] children) : base(text, imageIndex, selectedImageIndex, children) { }
    protected HiddenCheckBoxTreeNode(SerializationInfo serializationInfo, StreamingContext context) : base(serializationInfo, context) { }

public class MixedCheckBoxesTreeView : TreeView
    /// <summary>
    /// Specifies the attributes of a node
    /// </summary>
    [StructLayout(LayoutKind.Sequential, CharSet = CharSet.Auto)]
    public struct TV_ITEM
        public int    Mask;
        public IntPtr ItemHandle;
        public int    State;
        public int    StateMask;
        public IntPtr TextPtr;
        public int    TextMax;
        public int    Image;
        public int    SelectedImage;
        public int    Children;
        public IntPtr LParam;
    public const int TVIF_STATE          = 0x8;
    public const int TVIS_STATEIMAGEMASK = 0xF000;
    public const int TVM_SETITEMA = 0x110d;
    public const int TVM_SETITEM  = 0x110d;
    public const int TVM_SETITEMW = 0x113f;

    public const int TVM_GETITEM  = 0x110C;
    [DllImport("user32.dll", CharSet = CharSet.Auto)]
    public static extern IntPtr SendMessage(HandleRef hWnd, int msg, int wParam, ref TV_ITEM lParam);
    protected override void WndProc(ref Message m)
        base.WndProc(ref m);
        // trap TVM_SETITEM message
        if (m.Msg == TVM_SETITEM || m.Msg == TVM_SETITEMA || m.Msg == TVM_SETITEMW)
            // check if CheckBoxes are turned on
            if (CheckBoxes)
                // get information about the node
                TV_ITEM tv_item = (TV_ITEM)m.GetLParam(typeof(TV_ITEM));
    protected void HideCheckBox(TV_ITEM tv_item)
        if (tv_item.ItemHandle != IntPtr.Zero)
            // get TreeNode-object, that corresponds to TV_ITEM-object
            TreeNode currentTN = TreeNode.FromHandle(this, tv_item.ItemHandle);
            HiddenCheckBoxTreeNode hiddenCheckBoxTreeNode = currentTN as HiddenCheckBoxTreeNode;
            // check if it's HiddenCheckBoxTreeNode and
            // if its checkbox already has been hidden

            if(hiddenCheckBoxTreeNode != null)
                HandleRef treeHandleRef = new HandleRef(this, Handle);

                // check if checkbox already has been hidden
                TV_ITEM currentTvItem    = new TV_ITEM();
                currentTvItem.ItemHandle = tv_item.ItemHandle;
                currentTvItem.StateMask  = TVIS_STATEIMAGEMASK;
                currentTvItem.State      = 0;

                IntPtr res = SendMessage(treeHandleRef, TVM_GETITEM, 0, ref currentTvItem);
                bool needToHide = res.ToInt32() > 0 && currentTvItem.State != 0;

                if (needToHide)
                    // specify attributes to update
                    TV_ITEM updatedTvItem    = new TV_ITEM();
                    updatedTvItem.ItemHandle = tv_item.ItemHandle;
                    updatedTvItem.Mask       = TVIF_STATE;
                    updatedTvItem.StateMask  = TVIS_STATEIMAGEMASK;
                    updatedTvItem.State      = 0;
                    // send TVM_SETITEM message
                    SendMessage(treeHandleRef, TVM_SETITEM, 0, ref updatedTvItem);
    protected override void OnBeforeCheck(TreeViewCancelEventArgs e)
        // prevent checking/unchecking of HiddenCheckBoxTreeNode,
        // otherwise, we will have to repeat checkbox hiding
        if (e.Node is HiddenCheckBoxTreeNode)
            e.Cancel = true;

Note the OnBeforeCheck method is intended to prohibit a TreeNode‘s Checked property changing, otherwise we would have to hide an appropriate checkbox again.

Below is a sample of using. Put a MixedCheckBoxesTreeView control upon a form and set a Load handler to the method listed below.

private void Form1_Load(object sender, EventArgs e)
    mixedCheckBoxesTreeView1.CheckBoxes = true;

    HiddenCheckBoxTreeNode tn = new HiddenCheckBoxTreeNode("Root Node 1");

    TreeNode tn2 = new TreeNode("Child Node Z");

    HiddenCheckBoxTreeNode tn3 = new HiddenCheckBoxTreeNode("Child Node A");
    tn3.Checked = true; // just to test that nothing happens here

    HiddenCheckBoxTreeNode tn4 = new HiddenCheckBoxTreeNode("Child Node X");

    TreeNode tn5 = new TreeNode("Child Node D");

    TreeNode tn6 = new TreeNode("Root Node 2");

    TreeNode tn7 = new TreeNode("Root Node 3");

    HiddenCheckBoxTreeNode tn8 = new HiddenCheckBoxTreeNode("Child Node A");


To play with the approach implementation, download a Visual Studio 2010 solution from here.

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SharePoint: The usage of SPUtility.GetLocalizedString

May 12th, 2011 No comments

     Sometimes when I parse the Schema.xml of some list I need to resolve such attribute values as:

  • “$Resources:core,lists_Folder;/ONEOFYOURLISTNAME” – often can be found in Lookup-field definitions;
  • “$Resources:groupExpColl;” – can be found in View definition;
  • “$Resources:core,moreItemsParen;” – can be found in View definition;
  • “$ResourcesNoEncode:core,noXinviewofY_LIST;” – can be found in View definition;
  • “$Resources:spscore,FeaturePushdownTaskTitle;”;
  • “$Resources:cmscore,PagesListDisplayName”;
  • and so on.

The method SPUtility.GetLocalizedString(string source, string defaultResourceFile, uint language) is dedicated for retrieving the value for a named resource string from the resource file for a specified language. In example above, a number of strings already contains indications what resource file should be used for searching the localized value, i.e. core, spscore and cmscore. That is why, in most cases, null for defaultResourceFile-parameter can be passed into SPUtility.GetLocalizedString.

If resource file name isn’t included into string (e.g. “$Resources:groupExpColl;”) and defaultResourceFile-parameter is null, I believe, SPUtility.GetLocalizedString searchs in core.resx or in its language-specific variant, e.g. core.en-US.resx (according to language-parameter).

I’ve wrapped the usage of SPUtility.GetLocalizedString into small method, which takes it upon itself to detect the current language.

public static string GetLocalizedString(SPWeb spWeb, string source)
    if (string.IsNullOrEmpty(source) || !source.StartsWith("$Resources", StringComparison.OrdinalIgnoreCase))
        return source;
    uint language = spWeb != null ? spWeb.Language : (HttpContext.Current != null ? (uint)Thread.CurrentThread.CurrentUICulture.LCID : 1033);
    return SPUtility.GetLocalizedString(source, null, language);

public static string GetLocalizedString(string source)
    return GetLocalizedString(null, source);

Below the results of GetLocalizedString in respect to each string from the above-mentioned example


Localized string

“$Resources:core,lists_Folder;/ONEOFYOURLISTNAME” “Lists/ONEOFYOURLISTNAME”
“$Resources:groupExpColl;” “Expand/Collapse”
“$Resources:core,moreItemsParen;” “(More Items…)”
“$ResourcesNoEncode:core,noXinviewofY_LIST;” “<HTML>There are no items to show in this view of the \”</HTML><ListProperty Select=\”Title\” HTMLEncode=\”TRUE\”><HTML>\” list.</HTML>”
“$Resources:spscore,FeaturePushdownTaskTitle;” “Enable new features on existing sites”
“$Resources:cmscore,PagesListDisplayName” “Pages”
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SharePoint: Wrapper over EnsureUser

May 3rd, 2011 No comments

     When I needed to get SPUser-object I always utilized SPWeb.EnsureUser method. EnsureUser looks for the specified user login inside SPWeb.SiteUsers collection, and if the login isn’t found, turns to ActiveDirectory for the purpose of retrieving the user information from there. If such information is found, it will be added to SPWeb.SiteUsers and for the next time it will be returned directly from SPWeb.SiteUsers.

So, we have the fact that when EnsureUser is called, SPWeb-object potentially can be changed (changes affect SPWeb.SiteUsers collection, to be more precise). Each time we change SPWeb-object, it’s highly recommended to make sure that SPWeb.AllowUnsafeUpdates = true. It’s especially topical, when EnsureUser is called from Page during GET-request (Page.IsPostback = false). Otherwise, “Updates are currently disallowed on GET requests. To allow updates on a GET, set the ‘AllowUnsafeUpdates’ property on SPWeb” is thrown.

I’ve implemented some wrapper over the standard SPWeb.EnsureUser:

public static SPUser SafeEnsureUser(SPWeb web, string loginName)
    SPUser res = null;
    if (!web.AllowUnsafeUpdates)
        bool oldAllowUnsafeUpdate = web.AllowUnsafeUpdates;
            web.AllowUnsafeUpdates = true;
            res = web.EnsureUser(loginName);
        catch (Exception ex)
            // write to log
            web.AllowUnsafeUpdates = oldAllowUnsafeUpdate;
            res = web.EnsureUser(loginName);
        catch(Exception ex)
           // write to log

    return res;

SafeEnsureUser checks whether web.AllowUnsafeUpdates is true. If yes, it just invoke standard EnsureUser. Otherwise, it preset web.AllowUnsafeUpdates to true and then invoke standard EnsureUser. Nowadays, everywhere I use this method instead of standard one.

If you need an extension for SPWeb-object, try this

public static SPUser SafeEnsureUser(this SPWeb web, string loginName)
	// the same method body
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