Multiple Sounds in WPF Application

So I’m making a small WPF game, which you can find here by the way 😛, and I come across a confusing and infuriating issue. WPF has two built-in audio players: SoundPlayer and MediaPlayer.

SoundPlayer: Can play audio files that are embedded resources in the application, however, this can only play one sound at once.

MediaPlayer: Cannot play audio files that are embedded resources in the application, however, this can play multiple sounds at once.

I think you can see the issue I was having. I wanted to play some background music in my game as well as some sound effects for certain actions in the game. This meant the easiest way to get this functionality was to use both of these options and save the background music to the local disk as a temporary file. Not as clean as I wanted, but it will do I guess 🤷‍♂️

First, I set up my SoundPlayer as this was the simplest one of the two. I created a new SoundPlayer object using the embedded resource:

private static readonly SoundPlayer _soundOne = new SoundPlayer(WPF.Properties.Resources.soundOne);

Then when I wanted this sound to play, I would simply use:

_soundOne.Play();

Simple enough for the SoundPlayer… Now we move onto the MediaPlayer.

First, I make sure that my audio file is set as an Embedded Resource under the Build Actions in the file’s properties in Visual Studio:

You can see from this, that I have a WAV file called “backgroundmusic.wav” which I need to save to disk, play continuously and then delete once the form is closed.

Now that we have done this, we can create the method for saving the embedded WAV file to the %temp% location on disk. This is how I did that:

public static void SaveMusicToDisk(){
    //This sets up a new temporary file in the %temp% location called "backgroundmusic.wav"
    using (FileStream fileStream = File.Create(Path.GetTempPath() + "backgroundmusic.wav")){
        
        //This them looks into the assembly and finds the embedded resource
        //inside the WPF project, under the assets folder
        //under the sounds folder called backgroundmusic.wav
        //PLEASE NOTE: this will be different to you
        Assembly.GetExecutingAssembly().GetManifestResourceStream("WPF.Assets.Sounds.backgroundmusic.wav").CopyTo(fileStream);
    }
}

Great we have now saved the embedded resource to disk, how can we play this now? 🤷‍♂️

We play this by creating a new MediaPlayer object and using the temp file location to play the audio:

//Create a new MediaPlayer object
private static readonly MediaPlayer _backgroundMusic = new MediaPlayer();

public static void StartBackgroundMusic(){
    //Open the temp WAV file saved in the temp location and called "backgroundmusic.wav"
    _backgroundMusic.Open(new Uri(Path.Combine(Path.GetTempPath(), "backgroundmusic.wav")));
    //Add an event handler for when the media has ended, this way
    //the music can be played on a loop
    _backgroundMusic.MediaEnded += new EventHandler(BackgroundMusic_Ended);
    //Start the music playing
    _backgroundMusic.Play();
}

My BackgroundMusic_Ended method looks like this and just makes sure that the music is always restarted once it has finished:

private static void BackgroundMusic_Ended(object sender, EventArgs e){
    //Set the music back to the beginning
    _backgroundMusic.Position = TimeSpan.Zro;
    //Play the music
    _backgroundMusic.Play();
}

Now that the music is playing continuously on a loop, how do we stop the music, dispose of the object and delete the temp WAV file from disk?

To stop and dispose of the MediaPlayer object is pretty easy, you can use:

public static void StopBackgroundMusic(){
    //Stops the music 
    _backgroundMusic.Stop();
    //Disposes of the MediaPlayer object
    _backgroundMusic.Close();
}

Now we go about removing the WAV file from the disk as we don’t want this to remain on the user’s computer once they have exited the application:

public static void DeleteMusicFromDisk(){
    File.Delete(Path.Combine(Path.GetTempPath(), "backgroundmusic.wav"));
}

DONE! ✔️

With all the above code and a little tinkering to fit your specific setup, you should be able to use multiple sounds at once without an issue. Enjoy!

Saving Embedded WPF Resources as Files on Disk

In this post, I am going to show you how you can save an embedded resource as a file on disk. This is useful in certain scenarios. For example, I used this to save some background music onto the computer as the native MediaPlayer couldn’t use the application paths.

First things first, you want to make sure that you have set the Build Action to Embedded Resource in the properties for each of the items:

Once you have done that, we can go about creating a method to get the resource and save it to file. For me, that is as simple as:

public static void SaveMusicToDisk(){
    //This creates a temp file in the %temp% directory called backgroundMusic.wav
    using (FileStream fileStream = File.Create(Path.GetTempPath() + "backgroundMusic.wav")){
        
        //This looks into the assembly and gets the resource by name
        //For this to work, you need to use the full application path to the resource
        //You get this by using your project name following by the folder tree to your item
        Assembly.GetExecutingAssembly().GetManifestResourceStream("WPF.Assets.Sounds.backgroundmusic.wav").CopyTo(fileStream);
    }
}

So that saves the file, what if I want to delete the file once the user wants to close the application?

For that I would use:

public static void DeleteMusicFromDisk(){
    //This looks into the %temp% folder and deletes the file called "backgroundMusic.wav"
    File.Delete(Path.Combine(Path.GetTempPath(), "backgroundMusic.wav"));
}

Peeeeerfect! 🎉 Does everything I need 😊

So, what if I wanted to save all the resources?

For that I could put all the resources into a string array and loop through them like this:

public static void SaveAllResources(){
    
    //Gets all the resources associated with the assembly and puts them into an array
    string[] resources = Assembly.GetExecutingAssembly().GetManifestResourceNames();

    foreach (string resource in resources)
    {
        //Create a new file in the %temp% for each resource
        using (FileStream fileStream = File.Create(Path.GetTempPath() + resource))
        {
            //Get the resource and save it to the current file
            Assembly.GetExecutingAssembly().GetManifestResourceStream(resource).CopyTo(fileStream);
        }
    }
}

I hope you learn something or found this helpful. Enjoy!

Caliburn.Micro Notify Change for Static Property

Normally in Caliburn.Micro and MVVM in general, you would have non-static properties that would be updated and notified like this:

private string _name;

public string Name
{
    get { return _name; }
    set
    {
        _name = value;
        NotifyOfPropertyChange(() => Name);
    }
}

However, if I had a static property, for example, if I wanted a property that could be accessed by another namespace, I would need to implement my own event handler as the default NotifyOfPropertyChange doesn’t operate on static properties.

This is the new EventHandler that I implemented:

public static event EventHandler<PropertyChangedEventArgs> StaticPropertyChanged;
private static void NotifyStaticPropertyChanged(string propertyName)
{
    StaticPropertyChanged?.Invoke(null, new PropertyChangedEventArgs(propertyName));
}

Finally, in order to use it. I would use this instead of the first example for non-static properties:

private string _name;

public string Name
{
    get { return _name; }
    set
    {
        _name = value;
        NotifyStaticPropertyChanged(() => Name);
    }
}

I hope this helps someone. Enjoy!

Caliburn.Micro MVVM Boolean To Visibility Converter

Say I wanted to toggle the visibility of a WPF object in an MVVM way, what would I need to do?

Here is what I currently have:

  • ViewModels
    • ShellViewModel
    • LoadingViewModel
  • Views
    • ShellView
    • LoadingView

When the application is loaded, the ShellViewModel is used to display the LoadingView in a ContentControl object. I have a button on there that I want to become visible after the LoadingView has been activated for 5 seconds.

What I need to do is created a custom class that has two methods: a way of converting a boolean to a visibility; and a way of converting a visibility to a visibility.

So I created a new folder in my tree called “Converters“. In here, I create a new class called “BooleanToVisiblityConverter“.  Here is what my tree now looks like:

  • ViewModels
    • ShellViewModel
    • LoadingViewModel
  • Views
    • ShellView
    • LoadingView
  • Converters
    • BooleanToVisibilityConverter

In my BooleanToVisibilityConverter class, I inherited from IValueConverter and added the necessary two methods. You can see the entire class below:

using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Globalization;
using System.Linq;
using System.Text;
using System.Threading.Tasks;
using System.Windows;
using System.Windows.Data;

namespace Project.Converters
{
    /// <summary>
    /// Contains the converter and convertback methods for the boolean to visibility conversions
    /// </summary>
    public sealed class BooleanToVisibilityConverter : IValueConverter
    {
        /// <summary>
        /// Used to convert a boolean to a visibility
        /// </summary>
        /// <param name="value">This is the boolean input</param>
        /// <param name="targetType"></param>
        /// <param name="parameter"></param>
        /// <param name="culture"></param>
        /// <returns>Returns a visibility</returns>
        public object Convert(object value, Type targetType, object parameter, CultureInfo culture)
        {
            if (!(value is bool))
            {
                //If there is an issue with the input, return collapsed
                return Visibility.Collapsed;
            }
            return (bool)value ? Visibility.Visible : Visibility.Collapsed;
        }

        /// <summary>
        /// Used to take a visibility and returns a visibility
        /// </summary>
        /// <param name="value">This is the boolean input</param>
        /// <param name="targetType"></param>
        /// <param name="parameter"></param>
        /// <param name="culture"></param>
        /// <returns>Returns a visibility</returns>
        public object ConvertBack(object value, Type targetType, object parameter, CultureInfo culture)
        {
            if (!(value is Visibility))
            {
                //If there is an issue wtih the input, return collapsed
                return Visibility.Collapsed;
            }
            return (Visibility)value == Visibility.Visible;
        }
    }
}

Next, in my LoadingView, I added “ xmlns:sp=”clr-namespace:Project.Converters” so that the view could use the converter namespace. This is what my view dependancies look like:

<UserControl x:Class="Project.Views.MainView"
             xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/winfx/2006/xaml/presentation"
             xmlns:x="http://schemas.microsoft.com/winfx/2006/xaml"
             xmlns:mc="http://schemas.openxmlformats.org/markup-compatibility/2006" 
             xmlns:d="http://schemas.microsoft.com/expression/blend/2008" 
             xmlns:cal="http://www.caliburnproject.org"
             xmlns:sp="clr-namespace:Project.Converters"
             xmlns:local="clr-namespace:Project.Views"
             mc:Ignorable="d" FontSize="14" FontFamily="/Project;component/Assets/Fonts/#Roboto"
             d:DesignHeight="550" d:DesignWidth="400">

I then added the binding to the visibility property of my button. You can see this below:

<Button Name="LoadingButton" Content="Press Me" Visibility="{Binding ButtonIsVisible, Converter={StaticResource BooleanConverter}, FallBackValue=Collapsed}"

This means that it will get its visibility value from the LoadingViewModel and if this fails, it will fall back to being collapsed.

We’re almost done. In the LoadingViewModel create a full property which will hold and change the value for the visibility. This needs to be named the same as the binding given in the LoadingView (i.e ButtonVisibility). You can see this below:

private bool _buttonIsVisible;

public bool ButtonIsVisible
{
    get {return _buttonIsVisible;
    set
    {
        if (value != _buttonIsVisible)
        {
            _buttonIsVisible = value;
            NotifyOfPropertyChange(() => ButtonIsVisible);
        }
    }
}

So now if you want the button to be visible, you can just update the ButtonIsVisible property in the LoadingViewModel. Here is an example below (Don’t actually do this):

public LoadingViewModel(){
    ButtonIsVisible = false;
    Task.Delay(5000);
    ButtonIsVisible = true;
}

I hope this helped you. Enjoy!

Setting Up Caliburn.Micro MVVM

This is a fairly lengthy post that shows how to set up an initial MVVM WPF form using Caliburn.Micro.

Let’s get started, we’ll open up Visual Studio and chose to create a new WPF:

Visual Studio -> New Project -> WPF App (.Net Framework)

I usually set the project name to something like WPFUI and my solution name to be something like MVVMProject or the actual product name. For example, Microsoft might use Microsoft Outlook. Probably not, but you get what I’m saying…

 

1)

First I will add Caliburn.Micro to my project. To do this go to Solution Explorer -> References -> Add NuGet Packages and search for Caliburn.Micro:

 

2)

Now we can delete the MainWindow.xaml

 

3)

Create a Views and ViewModels folder. This is where your viewmodels and views will call home.

 

4)

Create a new class in the ViewModels folder and call it ShellViewModel and make it public. You’ll also want to inherit from screen and add the using statement for Caliburn.Micro:

5)

Create a new window in the Views folder and call it ShellView

6)

Create a new class in the root directory called Bootstrapper and inherit from BootstrapperBase and add the using statement for Caliburn.Micro

7)

In App.xaml remove the StartupUri element and add the bootstrapper class as a resource by adding:

<ResourceDictionary>
    <ResourceDictionary.MergedDictionaries>
        <ResourceDictionary>
            <local:Bootstrapper x:Key="Bootstrapper" />
        </ResourceDictionary>
    </ResourceDictionary.MergedDictionaries>
</ResourceDictionary>

Your app.xaml should look like this:

 

8)

Now go back into your Bootstrapper class and add the following:

public Bootstrapper()
{
    Initialize();
}
protected override void OnStartup(object sender, StartupEventArgs e)
{
    DisplayRootViewFor<ShellViewModel>();
}

You’ll also need to add a using statement for System.Windows and ProjectName.ViewModels.

The program should now launch and show an empty white screen with “ShellView” as the window’s title. This is the first entry into a hopefully long series into the world of Caliburn.Micro.

Enjoy! 😊

Don’t use $input in PowerShell Functions

Just a short post and a gentle reminder to check conventions before pulling my hair out over a simple issue.

This all started when I wanted to test something simple in PowerShell. I had started using C# more often and I think this is what caused my brain just to use $input as I would normally use something like this in C#.

In C# my test functions (or methods) might look something like this:

public string TestFunction(string input){
    Console.WriteLine(input);
}

In C#, the above works…

However, $input is a reserved variable. You can see a list of them all here. But much to my annoyance, the PowerShell ISE doesn’t flag this as an issue (technically it isn’t) and just runs like nothing is wrong (once again, technically nothing is wrong).

In PowerShell, this doesn’t work…

function Test-Function([string]$input){
    Write-Host $input
}

After messing for about thirty minutes, I finally found this knowledge out and renamed my parameter. I think you’ll like the name I continued to use… 😊

function Test-Function([string]$stupidFuckingInput){
    Write-Host $stupidFuckingInput
}

Enjoy!

WPF Spinning Image – Loading Wheel

This is just a quick post for something that caused me quite a bit of hassle. How to spin an image in WPF. This is useful for creating loading icons such as a spinning icon.

This is what my implementation looks like:

To create this effect, I first added a resource to my user control. This is what that looks like:

    <UserControl.Resources>
        <Storyboard x:Key="imageRotationStoryboard" Storyboard.TargetName="loadingImage" Storyboard.TargetProperty="RenderTransform.(RotateTransform.Angle)">
            <DoubleAnimation From="0" To="360" BeginTime="0:0:0" Duration="0:0:1.5" RepeatBehavior="Forever"/>
        </Storyboard>
    </UserControl.Resources>

What this does is create a story animation that rotates the image from 0 degrees to 360 degrees (a full circle) in 5 seconds. It also does this forever, hence the spinning effect 😊

I then created an image object and set my source. I also changed the RenderTransformOrigin to be 0.5,0.5, this means that the rotation happens in the centre of the image instead of the default top left corner. I then created an event on the image at loaded to start the storyboard animation and set the rotate to 0 on load. Heres what that looks like:

<Image Name="loadingImage" Margin="200"  RenderTransformOrigin="0.5,0.5" Source="/SlickRHI;component/Assets/Images/Loading.png">
	<Image.Triggers>
		<EventTrigger RoutedEvent="FrameworkElement.Loaded">
			<EventTrigger.Actions>
				<BeginStoryboard Storyboard="{StaticResource imageRotationStoryboard}" />
			</EventTrigger.Actions>
		</EventTrigger>
	</Image.Triggers>
	<Image.RenderTransform>
		<RotateTransform Angle="0"/>
	</Image.RenderTransform>
</Image>

Hope this helps someone, I know I will need this at least once again in the future. Enjoy 😊

Quering and Adding Info To Access Database Using C#

In this post, I will show you how I created a program to extract and add data to an Access database. Before we get started, you can see my current specifications below:

Getting values from a table:

Using System.Data.OleDB;

//Create a new list to hold all the values
List<String> values = new List<String>();

//Build the connection string and SQL string
string connectionString = @$"Provider=Microsoft.ACE.OLEDB;Data Source = C:\Path\To\Access.accdb";
string sqlString = "SELECT * FROM Table_Name";

//Create a new connection to the Access file
using (OleDbConnection connection = new OleDbConnection(connectionString)){

    //Creating a new command
    OleDbCommand command = new OleDbCommand(sqlString, connection);
    
    //Try/catch to catch errors, DON'T DO THIS IN SERIOUS PROJECTS!
    try{
        
        //Opening the connection and reading the data
        connection.Open();
        using(OleDbDataReader reader = command.ExecuteReader()){
            while(reader.Read()){
                
                //Adding the value to the values list
                values.Add(reader["Field_Name"].ToString());
            }
        }
    }catch{ }
    
    //Closing the connection
    connection.Close();
}

//Sorting the list in ascending order
values.Sort();

 

Adding a new row to the table:

Using System.Data.OleDb;

//Building the connection string and SQL string
string connectionString = @$"Provider=Microsoft.ACE.OLEDB.12.0;Data Source = C:\Path\To\Access.accdb";
string sqlString = $"INSERT INTO Table_Name(Field_Name1, Field_Name2) VALUES ('{Field_Value1}','{Field_Value2}')";

//Creating a new connection to the Access file
using (OleDbConnection connection = new OleDbConnection(connectionString))
{
    //Build a new command
    using(OleDbCommand command = new OleDbCommand(sqlString, connection))
    {
        //Open the database connection and execute the write
        connection.Open();
        command.ExecuteReader();
    }
    //Close the database connection
    connection.Close();
}

Enjoy!

Launch Chrome and Other Applications in C#

Hi Everyone,

Short post, I just wanted to put down into writing how I open Chrome windows and other applications in C# code. This is used by one of my startup programs which allowed me to open all my most used applications with ease 🙂

First I create a Process variables using the System.Diagnostics resource:

Process process = new Process();

I then point the process variables start info filename to the location of my Chrome executable:

process.StartInfo.FileName = @"C:\Path\To\Chrome.exe";

I then add my URL to the start info arguments:

process.StartInfo.Arguments = @"https://bbc.co.uk";

Then, if I want the link to open as a new window instead of onto an existing Chrome window I use:

process.StartInfo.Arguments += " --new-windows";

Finally, I start the process:

process.Start();

Here are some different scenarios:

Opening a URL in an existing Chrome window:

Process process = new Process();
process.StartInfo.FileName = @"C:\Path\To\Chrome.exe";
process.StartInfo.Arguments = @"https://bbc.co.uk" ;
process.Start()

Opening a URL in a new Chrome window:

Process process = new Process();
process.StartInfo.FileName = @"C:\Path\To\chrome.exe";
process.StartInfo.Arguments = @"https://bbc.co.uk";
process.StartInfo.Arguments += " --new-window";
process.Start();

Opening multiple URLs in a new Chrome window:

List<String> URLs = new List<String>(){
    "https://bbc.co.uk",
    "https://mharwood.uk",
    "https://youtube.com"
}

Process process = new Process();
process.StartInfo.FileName = @"C:\Path\To\chrome.exe";
foreach (string i in URLs)
{
    process.StartInfo.Arguments += i;
}
process.StartInfo.Arguments += " --new-window";
process.Start();

Opening different programs:

List<String> Programs = new List<String>(){
    @"C:\Path\To\First\Program.exe",
    @"C:\Path\To\Second\Program.exe",
    @"C:\Path\To\Third\Program.exe"
}

foreach(string i in Programs){
    Process.Start(i);
}

I hope this is useful information for someone. Enjoy!

Performing Asynchronous Remote WMI Calls C#

This was a problem that I was stuck on for a long time. Originally, I made a program in PowerShell that myself and a couple of other people in the company used to query remote computers to retrieve certain information (SN etc). I wanted to make the move to using WPF with C# simply because of its scale, simplicity and flexibility. The things that I saw being done in WPF with C# was beyond anything I could ever dream with PowerShell.

After making the initial leap, I realised that I would how much code I would have to re-write/re-imagine into C# code. Go figure… One thing that I thought would be simple is performing asynchronous operations but this proved to be something I should use with caution. See, I could simply use Task.Run() and perform the actions, but this is like using a sledgehammer to drive in a nail. After a lot of research, I moved from using this approve to using an observer class to watch the operation and using the QueryInstancesAsync method instead of QueryInstances()

This is the code that I ended up with:

//Used to define what is returned in the async results
public static CimAsyncMultipleResults<CimInstance> GetValues(CimSession _session)
{
    return _session.QueryInstancesAsync(@"root\cimv2", "WQL", "SELECT Username FROM Win32_ComputerSystem");
}

//This watches the async progress
class CimInstanceWatcher : IObserver<CimInstance>
{
    public void OnCompleted()
    {
        Console.WriteLine("Done");
    }

    public void OnError(Exception e)
    {
        Console.WriteLine("Error: " + e.Message);
    }

    public void OnNext (CimInstance value)
    {
        Console.WriteLine("Value: " + value);
    }
}

private static void Main()
{
    //Leaving cimsession creation as sync because is happens "instantly"
    CimSession Session = CimSession.Create("PC-NAME");
    //Creating a new watcher object
    var instanceObject = new CimInstanceWatcher();
    //Subscribing the watcher object to the async call
    GetValues(Session).Subscribe(instanceObject);
    Console.ReadLine();
}

This information was provided from Microsofts forums

Enjoy!