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Friday, September 11, 2009

Introduction to Data Binding

Data binding is the process that establishes a connection between the application UI and business logic. If the binding has the correct settings and the data provides the proper notifications, then, when the data changes its value, the elements that are bound to the data reflect changes automatically. Data binding can also mean that if an outer representation of the data in an element changes, then the underlying data can be automatically updated to reflect the change. A typical use of data binding is to place server or local configuration data into forms or other UI controls.

Basic Data Binding Concepts :
Data binding is based on a component architecture that consists of four major pieces : the data source object (DSO), data consumers, the binding agent, and the table repetition agent. Data source objects provide the data to a page, data-consuming HTML elements display the data, and the agents ensure that both the provider and the consumer are synchronized.

Direction of the Data Flow :
The data flow of a binding can go from the binding target to the binding source and/or from the binding source to the binding target.
- One Way binding causes changes to the source property to automatically update the target property, but changes to the target property are not propagated back to the source property. This type of binding is appropriate if the control being bound is implicitly read-only.
- Two Way binding causes changes to either the source property or the target property to automatically update the other. This type of binding is appropriate for editable forms or other fully-interactive UI scenarios. Most properties default to One Way binding, but some dependency properties default to Two Way binding.
- OneWayToSource is the reverse of OneWay binding; it updates the source property when the target property changes. One example scenario is if you only need to re-evaluate the source value from the UI.

Data Source Objects
To bind data to the elements of an HTML page in Windows Internet Explorer, a DSO must be present on that page. DSOs implement an open specification that leaves it up to the DSO developer to determine the following:
- How the data is transmitted to the page. A DSO can use any transport protocol it chooses. This might be a standard Internet protocol, such as HTTP or simple file I/O. A DSO also determines whether the transmission occurs synchronously or asynchronously. Asynchronous transmission is preferred, because it provides the most immediate interactivity to the user.
- How the data set is specified. A DSO might require an Open Database Connectivity (ODBC) connection string and an Structured Query Language (SQL) statement, or it might accept a simple URL.
- How the data is manipulated through scripts. Since the DSO maintains the data on the client, it also manages how the data is sorted and filtered.
- Whether updates are allowed.

Data Consumers
Data consumers are elements on the HTML page that are capable of rendering the data supplied by a DSO. Elements include many of those intrinsic to HTML, as well as custom objects implemented as Java applets or Microsoft ActiveX Controls.
A DSO typically exposes this functionality through an object model that is accessible to scripts.

Binding Agents
The binding and repetition agents are implemented by MSHTML.dll, the HTML viewer for Internet Explorer, and they work completely behind the scenes. When a page is first loaded, the binding agent finds the DSOs and the data consumers among those elements on the page. Once the binding agent recognizes all DSOs and data consumers, it maintains the synchronization of the data that flows between them.

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