WPF Material Design Toggle Button

Another short post today, here I modified the code for my Apple Style Toggle Button so that it more resembled the MaterialDesign toggle button. I thought of this whilst playing with the YouTube autoplay button. Here is my code:

<Style TargetType="{x:Type ToggleButton}">
    <Setter Property="Template">
        <Setter.Value>
            <ControlTemplate TargetType="{x:Type ToggleButton}">
                <Viewbox>
                    <Border x:Name="Border" CornerRadius="10"
                            Background="#FFE2E2E2"
                            Width="40" Height="20">
                        <Border.Effect>
                            <DropShadowEffect ShadowDepth="0.5" Direction="0" Opacity="0.3" />
                        </Border.Effect>
                        <Ellipse x:Name="Ellipse" Fill="#FF909090" Stretch="Uniform"
                                 Margin="-8 -4"
                                 Stroke="Gray" StrokeThickness="0.2"
                                 HorizontalAlignment="Stretch">
                            <Ellipse.Effect>
                                <DropShadowEffect BlurRadius="10" ShadowDepth="1" 
                                                  Opacity="0.3" Direction="260" />
                            </Ellipse.Effect>
                        </Ellipse>
                    </Border>
                </Viewbox>
                <ControlTemplate.Triggers>
                    <EventTrigger RoutedEvent="Checked">
                        <BeginStoryboard>
                            <Storyboard>
                                <ColorAnimation Storyboard.TargetName="Ellipse"
                                                    Storyboard.TargetProperty="(Ellipse.Fill).(SolidColorBrush.Color)"
                                                    To="#FF0069F3"
                                                    Duration="0:0:0.05"
                                                    AccelerationRatio="0.7"
                                                    DecelerationRatio="0.3"/>
                                <ThicknessAnimation Storyboard.TargetName="Ellipse"
                                                    Storyboard.TargetProperty="Margin"
                                                    To="20 -4 -8 -4"
                                                    Duration="0:0:0.15" 
                                                    AccelerationRatio="0.7"
                                                    DecelerationRatio="0.3"/>
                            </Storyboard>
                        </BeginStoryboard>
                    </EventTrigger>
                    <EventTrigger RoutedEvent="Unchecked">
                        <BeginStoryboard>
                            <Storyboard>
                                <ColorAnimation Storyboard.TargetName="Ellipse"
                                                    Storyboard.TargetProperty="(Ellipse.Fill).(SolidColorBrush.Color)"
                                                    To="#FF909090"
                                                    Duration="0:0:0.05" 
                                                    AccelerationRatio="0.7"
                                                    DecelerationRatio="0.3"/>
                                <ThicknessAnimation Storyboard.TargetName="Ellipse"
                                                    Storyboard.TargetProperty="Margin"
                                                    To="-8 -4"
                                                    Duration="0:0:0.15"
                                                    AccelerationRatio="0.7"
                                                    DecelerationRatio="0.3"/>
                            </Storyboard>
                        </BeginStoryboard>
                    </EventTrigger>
                </ControlTemplate.Triggers>
            </ControlTemplate>
        </Setter.Value>
    </Setter>
</Style>

And finally, here is a little GIF of the toggle button:

Enjoy!

Using app.xaml and ResourceDictionaries for Cleaner WPF Customisation

When I first started making WPF forms, I was using PowerShell. This was a good starting point I think as I felt really comfortable with PowerShell which let me experiment more freely and break things in a way that I still felt comfortable.

However, this also meant putting all of my XAML into a single string. This might not sound too bad, but when you have five buttons all with slightly different templates and behaviours, the code quickly becomes messy and hard to read. Note that XAML is easy to read in the first place 😫 I was no stranger to having code that looked like this:

<Border Grid.Column="0" Grid.Row="1" Background="#FFE87E31" HorizontalAlignment="Right" Width="25" Height="25" Margin="0,0,2,0" CornerRadius="20"  BorderBrush="White" BorderThickness="1">
                <Label Name="Search_Button" Cursor="Hand" Foreground="White" Content="🔍" FontSize="12" Width="25" Height="27" Margin="-1.667,-1.667,-0.334,-0.334" />
            </Border>
<!-- OBJECT PANEL AND OBJECTS -->
            <Border HorizontalAlignment="Stretch" Grid.Column="0" Grid.Row="2" VerticalAlignment="Stretch" Background="#FF34495F" >
                <ScrollViewer VerticalScrollBarVisibility="Auto">
                    <StackPanel>
        <!-- ALL OPTION OBJECTS HERE -->
                        <Border Height="35">
                            <Border.Style>
                                <Style>
                                    <Setter Property="Border.Background" Value="#FF34495F"/>
                                    <Style.Triggers>
                                        <Trigger Property="Border.IsMouseOver" Value="True">
                                            <Setter Property="Border.Background" Value="#FF1F2A36" />
                                        </Trigger>
                                    </Style.Triggers>
                                </Style>
                            </Border.Style>
                            <Label Name="General_Information_Button" Cursor="Hand" VerticalContentAlignment="Center" Foreground="White" Content="General Information" FontFamily="Century Gothic" FontSize="14" />
                        </Border>

Horrible I know…

But when I moved to use C# with WPF, I found that I could have separate resources that could be used by multiple controls at the same time. You do this by adding a resource dictionary to the app.xaml file inside the WPF project.

Here is a quick example of what I mean. I created a Styles folder in the root of my WPF project and added a new ResourceDictionary(WPF). I called this resource dictionary “TextStyles” and it looks like this:

<ResourceDictionary xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/winfx/2006/xaml/presentation"
                    xmlns:x="http://schemas.microsoft.com/winfx/2006/xaml">
    
    <Style TargetType="{x:Type TextBlock}">
        <Setter Property="FontFamily" Value="Arial"/>
        <Setter Property="FontSize" Value="28"/>
        <Setter Property="FontWeight" Value="Bold"/>
        <Setter Property="Foreground" Value="White"/>
    </Style>
</ResourceDictionary>

Perfect, I then added this to my app.xaml file which now looks like this:

<Application x:Class="WPFUI.App"
             xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/winfx/2006/xaml/presentation"
             xmlns:x="http://schemas.microsoft.com/winfx/2006/xaml"
             xmlns:local="clr-namespace:WPFUI">
    <Application.Resources>
        <ResourceDictionary>
            <ResourceDictionary.MergedDictionaries>
                <ResourceDictionary Source="/Styles/TextStyles.xaml"/>
            </ResourceDictionary.MergedDictionaries>
        </ResourceDictionary>
    </Application.Resources>
</Application>

From now on, all the text blocks in the WPF application would use the Arial font, use font size 28, be bold and also be white.

Important Notes:

  1. It’s important to add your resource dictionaries to the app.xaml file in the correct order. You want to work from top to bottom. Meaning you don’t want a resource dictionary using something from another resource dictionary below it. For example, if you are using custom colours and want your text blocks to be that colour, you would put your colour resource first and then your text block resource.
  2. If you don’t want a resource to be used everywhere in your application if you style inside the resource dictionary a name. Then you can reference the style inside your WPF XAML code.

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!

PowerShell Classes and Class Lists

I found that I could use classes in PowerShell similar to how I use them in C#. I instantly wanted to play with this and I thought I would share this as well.

To create a class in PowerShell, it’s as simple as:

#Person class
class PersonClass{
	[String]$Name
	[Int]$Age
}

This allows a “Person” to be created that has the attributed of a name and an age. Simple stuff.

Say I wanted to have a bunch of these “Person”s in a list, a “People” list if you will. Then I could do something like this:

#Creating a list to hold the people using the PersonClass
$People = New-Object 'System.Collections.Generic.List[PSObject]'

#Creating a new person
$newPerson = [PersonClass]::new()
$newPerson.Name = "Roy Orbison"
$newPerson.Age = "24"

#Adding the new person to the people list
$People.Add($newPerson)

What if I wanted to add something like a “Pets” attribute onto the person? Well, I could create a new class to hold a framework for each pet and create a new list attribute in the PersonClass. Here is my PetClass:

#Pet class
class PetClass{
    [String]$Name
    [Int]$Age
    [String]$Color
}

And here is how I add it to my PersonClass so that I can have a list of pets for each user:

#Person class
class PersonClass{<br>    [String]$Name
    [Int]$Age
    [PetClass[]]$Pets
}

Now its really simple to create a list of people with a list of any pets that they might have. Stitching this all together, it looks like this:

#Person class
class PersonClass{
	[String]$Name
	[Int]$Age
    [PetClass[]]$Pets
}

#Pet class
class PetClass{
    [String]$Name
    [Int]$Age
    [String]$Color
}

#Creating a list to hold the people using the PersonClass
$People = New-Object 'System.Collections.Generic.List[PSObject]'

#Creating a new person
$newPerson = [PersonClass]::new()
$newPerson.Name = "Roy Orbison"
$newPerson.Age = "24"

#Adding pets to the new person
for ($i = 0; $i -le 5; $i++){
    $newPet = [PetClass]::new()
    $newPet.Name = $i
    $newPet.Age = $i + 2
    $newPet.Color = "Brown"

    #Adding the pet to the new person
    $newPerson.Pets += $newPet
}

#Adding the new person to the people list
$People.Add($newPerson)

Above you can see that I have created a new person called “Roy Orbison” with an age of “24” and I have added five pets. The pet names and age aren’t really accurate but it’s good enough for this demonstration.

Continuing from this, I could add as many users as I want or even create new classes to add extra framework information for existing classes.

Searching this information isn’t as straight forward in PowerShell as it is in C# but it’s still quite easy. You can see how I get a list of all the pets that Roy Orbison has below:

$People | Where-Object {$_.Name -eq "Roy Orbison"} | Select-Object -ExpandProperty Pets

Upon finishing this, I realised that it would have been much more appropriate to do the users and albums, instead of pets. But I’m far too lazy to change what I already have…

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!

Office Click-To-Run and XML Files

So, it used to be that we would install Office using a batch script that would invoke a setup.exe, assign a specific /configure flag and manually assign a specific XML file that contained the product that we wanted to install. This was bulky. It got too bulky when we needed to install 32-bit and 64-bit versions.

TIME FOR A CHANGE!

This is when I started thinking: “wow I really hate batch. I’m really glad I’m not the one that had to write this old script. Lets PowerShell this shit!”

First I needed a template XML file to modify, So this is what that looks like:

<Configuration>
  <Add OfficeClientEdition="64" Channel="Current">
    <Product ID="O365BusinessRetail">
      <Language ID="MatchOS" />
    </Product>
  </Add>
</Configuration>

This is the file that we will edit to say which product we want installing also if we want 64-bit or 32-bit.

Next, I needed to create a PowerShell script that would take a user’s input, edit the XML file accordingly and start the setup.exe with this flag. I also needed the bit-version that they wanted.

I started by defining the variables I would need for the script:

#Variables used for the installation
$bitVersion = ""
$officeProduct = ""
$pathToOffice = "\\path\to\office\folder"
$xmlFile = "OfficeXML.xml"
$pathToXMLFile = Join-Path -Path $pathToOffice -ChildPath $xmlFile

Then I created a function I would use to update the XML file. I needed two parameters, the product that they wanted installing and the bit version they wanted:

#Updates the XML file based on the input
function Update-XMLFile([string]$product, [string]$bit){

    try{
        #Loading the XML document
        [xml]$xmlDoc = Get-Content -Path $pathToXMLFile

        #Edit the document
        $xmlDoc.Configuration.Add.OfficeClientEdition = $bit
        $xmlDoc.Configuration.Add.Product.ID = $product

        #Save the document
        $xmlDoc.Save($pathToXMLFile)
    }catch{
        $errorMessage = $_.Exception.Message
        Write-Host $errorMessage -ForegroundColor Red
        Read-Host "The script encountered the above error - will now exit"
    }
}

I then created another function to start the installation. This also required two parameters, the bit version and the XML file name

#Function to start the installation
function Start-Installation([string]$bit, [string]$xmlName){
    try{
        .\setup.exe /configure $bit\$xmlName
    }catch{
        $errorMessage = $_.Exception.Message
        Write-Host $errorMessage
        Read-Host "The script encountered the above error - will now exit"
    }
}

My final function was a verification test. Since we want to only use 64-bit for future installations, I had to make sure that whoever was using the script knew this and would be competent enough to do a little bit of math:

#Function to check the user wants 32 bit
function Get-Verification(){
    $output = $false

    Write-Host "Are you sure you want to install 32-bit?" -ForegroundColor Red
    Write-Host "All new installs should use 64-bit instead"
    Write-Host "If you want to install 32-bit, complete the test below, otherwise enter the wrong answer"

    $firstNumber = Get-Random -Minimum 1 -Maximum 11
    $secondNumber = Get-Random -Minimum 1 -Maximum 11

    $sumToCheck = $firstNumber + $secondNumber

    $verificationInput = Read-Host "$($firstNumber) + $($secondNumber) = ?"

    if ($verificationInput -eq $sumToCheck){
        Write-Host "Fine! 32-bit will be installed..."
        $output = $true
    }else{
        Write-Host "Finally! 64-bit will be installed"
        $output = $false
    }
    return $output
}

Now that all my functions were defined, I could start with the actual meat of the script. This included cleaning the screen, asking the user some questions, launching the 32-bit verification is needed, updating the XML file using a switch statement and finally kicking off the installation. Heres what that looked like:

#Clear the screen
Clear-Host

#region Checking if the user wants 64 bit or 32 bit

do{

    Write-Host "Do you want" -NoNewline
    Write-Host " 64-bit " -NoNewline -ForegroundColor Yellow
    Write-Host "or" -NoNewline
    Write-Host " 32-bit " -NoNewline -ForegroundColor Green
    Write-Host "? (64 or 32): " -NoNewline
    $bitVersionInput = (Read-Host).ToUpper()
}while((64 ,32) -notcontains $bitVersionInput)

#endregion

#Check the user definitely wants 32 bit
if ($bitVersionInput -eq "32"){
    if (Get-Verification){
        $bitVersion = $bitVersionInput
    }else{
        $bitVersionInput = "64"
    }
}

#Update the bitVersion variable
$bitVersion = $bitVersionInput

#region Asking what product to install

#Ask the user what product they want to install
Write-Host @"

Please select one product from the below list

"@

Write-Host @"
1) Business Retail
2) ProPlus Retail

"@ -ForegroundColor Cyan

Write-Host @"
3) Visio Std Volume
4) Visio Pro Volume
5) Visio Pro Retail

"@ -ForegroundColor Green

Write-Host @"
6) Project Std Volume
7) Project Pro Volume
8) Project Pro Retail

"@ -ForegroundColor Gray

Write-Host @"
C) Cancel

"@ -ForegroundColor Red

do{
    $officeProductInput = (Read-Host "Enter a number").ToUpper()
}while((1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8, "C") -notcontains $officeProductInput)

#endregion

#Update the product variable
$officeProduct = $officeProductInput

#region Switch the input to see what it is and perform the required operation

switch($officeProduct){
    
    #Business Retail
    1 { Update-XMLFile -product "O365BusinessRetail" -bit $bitVersion}
    #ProPlus
    2 { Update-XMLFile -product "O365ProPlusRetail" -bit $bitVersion}
    #Visio Std Volume
    3 { Update-XMLFile -product "VisioStd2019Volume" -bit $bitVersion}
    #Visio Pro Volume
    4 { Update-XMLFile -product "VisioPro2019Volume" -bit $bitVersion}
    #Visio Pro Retail
    5 { Update-XMLFile -product "VisioPro2019Retail" -bit $bitVersion}
    #Project Std Volume
    6 { Update-XMLFile -product "ProjectStd2019Volume" -bit $bitVersion}
    #Project Pro Volume
    7 { Update-XMLFile -product "ProjectPro2019Volume" -bit $bitVersion}
    #Project Pro Retail
    8 { Update-XMLFile -product "ProjectPro2019Retail" -bit $bitVersion}
    #Cancel
    "C" {Exit}
    default {Exit}
}

#endregion

#Start the installation
Write-Host "Installing..." -ForegroundColor Green
Start-Installation -bit $bitVersion -xmlName $xmlFile
Write-Host "This window can be closed"
Read-Host

Done!

If you’re wondering what the script looks like as a whole, wonder no longer:

#Variables used for the installation
$bitVersion = ""
$officeProduct = ""
$pathToOffice = "\\sandpdc\software\Office"
$xmlFile = "OfficeXML.xml"
$pathToXMLFile = Join-Path -Path $pathToOffice -ChildPath $xmlFile

#Updates the XML file based on the input
function Update-XMLFile([string]$product, [string]$bit){

    try{
        #Loading the XML document
        [xml]$xmlDoc = Get-Content -Path $pathToXMLFile

        #Edit the document
        $xmlDoc.Configuration.Add.OfficeClientEdition = $bit
        $xmlDoc.Configuration.Add.Product.ID = $product

        #Save the document
        $xmlDoc.Save($pathToXMLFile)
    }catch{
        $errorMessage = $_.Exception.Message
        Write-Host $errorMessage -ForegroundColor Red
        Read-Host "The script encountered the above error - will now exit"
    }
}

#Function to start the installation
function Start-Installation([string]$bit, [string]$xmlName){
    try{
        .\setup.exe /configure $bit\$xmlName
    }catch{
        $errorMessage = $_.Exception.Message
        Write-Host $errorMessage
        Read-Host "The script encountered the above error - will now exit"
    }
}

#Function to check the user wants 32 bit
function Get-Verification(){
    $output = $false

    Write-Host "Are you sure you want to install 32-bit?" -ForegroundColor Red
    Write-Host "All new installs should use 64-bit instead"
    Write-Host "If you want to install 32-bit, complete the test below, otherwise enter the wrong answer"

    $firstNumber = Get-Random -Minimum 1 -Maximum 11
    $secondNumber = Get-Random -Minimum 1 -Maximum 11

    $sumToCheck = $firstNumber + $secondNumber

    $verificationInput = Read-Host "$($firstNumber) + $($secondNumber) = ?"

    if ($verificationInput -eq $sumToCheck){
        Write-Host "Fine! 32-bit will be installed..."
        $output = $true
    }else{
        Write-Host "Finally! 64-bit will be installed"
        $output = $false
    }
    return $output
}

#Clear the screen
Clear-Host

#region Checking if the user wants 64 bit or 32 bit

do{

    Write-Host "Do you want" -NoNewline
    Write-Host " 64-bit " -NoNewline -ForegroundColor Yellow
    Write-Host "or" -NoNewline
    Write-Host " 32-bit " -NoNewline -ForegroundColor Green
    Write-Host "? (64 or 32): " -NoNewline
    $bitVersionInput = (Read-Host).ToUpper()
}while((64 ,32) -notcontains $bitVersionInput)

#endregion

#Check the user definitely wants 32 bit
if ($bitVersionInput -eq "32"){
    if (Get-Verification){
        $bitVersion = $bitVersionInput
    }else{
        $bitVersionInput = "64"
    }
}

#Update the bitVersion variable
$bitVersion = $bitVersionInput

#region Asking what product to install

#Ask the user what product they want to install
Write-Host @"

Please select one product from the below list

"@

Write-Host @"
1) Business Retail
2) ProPlus Retail

"@ -ForegroundColor Cyan

Write-Host @"
3) Visio Std Volume
4) Visio Pro Volume
5) Visio Pro Retail

"@ -ForegroundColor Green

Write-Host @"
6) Project Std Volume
7) Project Pro Volume
8) Project Pro Retail

"@ -ForegroundColor Gray

Write-Host @"
C) Cancel

"@ -ForegroundColor Red

do{
    $officeProductInput = (Read-Host "Enter a number").ToUpper()
}while((1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8, "C") -notcontains $officeProductInput)

#endregion

#Update the product variable
$officeProduct = $officeProductInput

#region Switch the input to see what it is and perform the required operation

switch($officeProduct){
    
    #Business Retail
    1 { Update-XMLFile -product "O365BusinessRetail" -bit $bitVersion}
    #ProPlus
    2 { Update-XMLFile -product "O365ProPlusRetail" -bit $bitVersion}
    #Visio Std Volume
    3 { Update-XMLFile -product "VisioStd2019Volume" -bit $bitVersion}
    #Visio Pro Volume
    4 { Update-XMLFile -product "VisioPro2019Volume" -bit $bitVersion}
    #Visio Pro Retail
    5 { Update-XMLFile -product "VisioPro2019Retail" -bit $bitVersion}
    #Project Std Volume
    6 { Update-XMLFile -product "ProjectStd2019Volume" -bit $bitVersion}
    #Project Pro Volume
    7 { Update-XMLFile -product "ProjectPro2019Volume" -bit $bitVersion}
    #Project Pro Retail
    8 { Update-XMLFile -product "ProjectPro2019Retail" -bit $bitVersion}
    #Cancel
    "C" {Exit}
    default {Exit}
}

#endregion

#Start the installation
Write-Host "Installing..." -ForegroundColor Green
Start-Installation -bit $bitVersion -xmlName $xmlFile
Write-Host "This window can be closed"
Read-Host

 

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!

LAPS 3

Okay, this is probably my final update to the whole LAPS thing. I have created two iterations in the past but neither were really groundbreaking or my own design. Not that this update is groundbreaking either though. This is a further update to the below post:

LAPS WinForm 2

I wanted to completely redo my LAPS form (again) to make it my own design, responsive and ultimately better. This is what the final form looks like. It is completely responsive and resizeable:

I will include the source code here but the best place to download this would be from my TechNet gallery.

There are a couple of things you need to change in the form to make it work:

  • Adding your domain controller and domain root to the variables at the top of the script
  • Add your BASE64 data into the BASE64 variable to use your own logo

Heres the code:

#Enter your domain and domain controller below :)
$script:domainController = "DOMAIN CONTROLLER HERE" #E.G domaincontroller.domain.lan
$script:domainRoot = "DOMAIN ROOT HERE" #E.G domain.lan

#LOADING ASSEMBLIES
Add-Type -AssemblyName PresentationFramework, System.Drawing, System.Windows.Forms, WindowsFormsIntegration

#ICON FOR FORM
[string]$base64=@'
BASE64 DATA HERE
'@

#CREATING THE IMAGE FROM BASE64 DATA
$bitmap = New-Object System.Windows.Media.Imaging.BitMapImage
$bitmap.BeginInit()
$bitmap.StreamSource = [System.IO.MemoryStream][System.Convert]::FromBase64String($base64)
$bitmap.EndInit()
$bitmap.Freeze()

#LAPS WINDOW XML
[xml]$LAPSXaml = @"
<Window
    xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/winfx/2006/xaml/presentation"
    Title="LAPS UI" Height="400" Width="400" MinHeight="400" MinWidth="400" WindowStartupLocation="CenterScreen">
    <Grid>
        <Grid.ColumnDefinitions>
            <ColumnDefinition Width="2"/>
            <ColumnDefinition/>
            <ColumnDefinition Width="Auto" MinWidth="75"/>
        </Grid.ColumnDefinitions>
        <Grid.RowDefinitions>
            <RowDefinition Height="Auto"/>
            <RowDefinition Height="Auto"/>
            <RowDefinition Height="Auto"/>
            <RowDefinition Height="Auto"/>
            <RowDefinition Height="Auto"/>
            <RowDefinition Height="Auto"/>
            <RowDefinition Height="Auto"/>
            <RowDefinition Height="Auto"/>
            <RowDefinition Height="Auto" MinHeight="7"/>
            <RowDefinition/>
        </Grid.RowDefinitions>
        <Label Content="ComputerName:" HorizontalAlignment="Stretch" VerticalAlignment="Stretch" Grid.Column="1" FontSize="14"/>
        <TextBox Name="Computer_Textbox" VerticalContentAlignment="Center" HorizontalAlignment="Stretch" Grid.Row="1" TextWrapping="Wrap" VerticalAlignment="Stretch" Margin="3" Grid.Column="1" FontSize="14"/>
        <Button Name="Search_Button" Content="Search" Grid.Column="2" HorizontalAlignment="Stretch" Grid.Row="1" VerticalAlignment="Stretch" Margin="0,3,5,3"/>
        <Label Content="Password" Grid.Column="1" HorizontalAlignment="Stretch" Grid.Row="2" VerticalAlignment="Stretch" FontSize="14"/>
        <TextBox Name="Password_Textbox" Grid.Column="1" HorizontalAlignment="Stretch" Grid.Row="3" TextWrapping="Wrap" Margin="3" VerticalAlignment="Stretch" IsReadOnly="True" FontSize="14"/>
        <Button Name="Copy_Button" Content="Copy" Grid.Column="2" HorizontalAlignment="Stretch" Grid.Row="3" Margin="0,3,5,3" VerticalAlignment="Stretch"/>
        <Label Content="Password Expires" Grid.Column="1" HorizontalAlignment="Stretch" Grid.Row="4" VerticalAlignment="Stretch" FontSize="14"/>
        <TextBox Name="Password_Ex_Textbox" Grid.Column="1" IsReadOnly="True" HorizontalAlignment="Stretch" Grid.Row="5" TextWrapping="Wrap" VerticalAlignment="Stretch" Margin="3" FontSize="14"/>
        <Label Content="New Expiration" Grid.Column="1" HorizontalAlignment="Stretch" Grid.Row="6" VerticalAlignment="Stretch" FontSize="14"/>
        <DatePicker Name="Date_Picker" Grid.Column="1" HorizontalAlignment="Stretch" Grid.Row="7" VerticalAlignment="Stretch" Margin="3" FontSize="14"/>
        <Button Name="Set_Button" Content="Set" Grid.Column="2" HorizontalAlignment="Stretch" Grid.Row="7" VerticalAlignment="Stretch" Margin="0,5,5,5"/>
        <GridSplitter IsEnabled="False" HorizontalAlignment="Stretch" VerticalAlignment="Stretch" Grid.Row="8" Grid.Column="1" Margin="5,2,5,2" Grid.ColumnSpan="2"/>
        <TextBox Name="Output_Textbox" VerticalScrollBarVisibility="Auto" IsReadOnly="True" HorizontalAlignment="Stretch" Grid.Row="9" TextWrapping="Wrap" Margin="1,5,1,1" VerticalAlignment="Stretch" Grid.ColumnSpan="3" FontSize="12"/>
    </Grid>
</Window>
"@

#LOADING XAML
$LAPSReader=(New-Object System.Xml.XmlNodeReader $LAPSXaml)
$LAPSWindow=[Windows.Markup.XamlReader]::Load($LAPSReader)
$LAPSWindow.Icon = $bitmap

#ASSIGNING CONTROLS
$Computer_Textbox = $LAPSWindow.FindName("Computer_Textbox")
$Search_Button = $LAPSWindow.FindName("Search_Button")
$Password_Textbox = $LAPSWindow.FindName("Password_Textbox")
$Copy_Button = $LAPSWindow.FindName("Copy_Button")
$Password_Ex_Textbox = $LAPSWindow.FindName("Password_Ex_Textbox")
$Date_Picker = $LAPSWindow.FindName("Date_Picker")
$Set_Button = $LAPSWindow.FindName("Set_Button")
$Output_Textbox = $LAPSWindow.FindName("Output_Textbox")

#FUNCTION TO SET OUTPUT TEXTBOX
function set-output-textbox{
    param(
        [string]$value,
        [bool]$date
    )
    if ($date){
        $Output_Textbox.Text = ("[$(Get-Date)] - $value `r`n")
    }else{
        $Output_Textbox.Text = $value
    }
}

#FUNCTION TO UPDATE OUTPUT TEXTBOX
function update-output-textbox{
    param(
        [string]$value,
        [bool]$date
    )
    if ($date){
        $Output_Textbox.AppendText("[$(Get-Date)] - $value `r`n")
    }else{
        $Output_Textbox.AppendText("     $value `r`n")
    }
    $Output_Textbox.ScrollToEnd()
}

#FUNCTION TO UPDATE FORM
function update-form{
    [System.Windows.Forms.Application]::DoEvents()
}

#FUNCTION TO UPDATE PASSWORD TEXTBOX
function update-password-textbox($value){
    $Password_Textbox.Text = $value
}

#FUNCTION TO UPDATE PASSWORD EX TEXTBOX
function update-passwordex-texbox($value){
    $Password_Ex_Textbox.Text = $value
}

#FUNCTION TO SET CONTROLS
function set-controls{
    param(
        [bool]$switcher,
        [bool]$setswitcher
    )
    $Search_Button.IsEnabled = $switcher
    $Set_Button.IsEnabled = $setswitcher
    $Date_Picker.IsEnabled = $setswitcher
}

#DECIDE IF COPY BUTTON SHOULD BE ENABLED
$Copy_Button.IsEnabled = $false
$Password_Textbox.Add_TextChanged({
    if ($Password_Textbox.Text.Length -gt 0){
        $Copy_Button.IsEnabled = $true
    }else{
        $Copy_Button.IsEnabled = $false
    }
})

#MAKING COMPUTER NAME UPPERCASE ON FOCUS LOST
$Computer_Textbox.Add_LostFocus({
    $Computer_Textbox.Text = $Computer_Textbox.Text.ToUpper()
})

#COPY BUTTON LOGIC
$Copy_Button.Add_Click({
    Set-Clipboard -Value $Password_Textbox.Text
})

#COMPUTER TEXTBOX KEYDOWN LOGIC
$Computer_Textbox.Add_KeyDown({
    if ($args.Key -eq 'Enter'){
        $Search_Button.RaiseEvent((New-Object -TypeName System.Windows.RoutedEventArgs $([System.Windows.Controls.Button]::ClickEvent)))
    }
})

#DISABLING CONTROLS ON FORM LOAD
set-controls -switcher $true -setswitcher $false

#WELCOME MESSAGE ON FORM LOAD
$Output_Textbox.HorizontalContentAlignment="Center"
$Output_Textbox.VerticalContentAlignment="Center"
set-output-textbox -date $false -value "Welcome to version 3 of this form! It is now responsive and a lot cleaner in the background. Nothing you ever had to worry about though :)"

#SEARCH BUTTON LOGIC
$Search_Button.Add_Click({

    #DISABLING CONTROLS ON BUTTON PRESS
    $Output_Textbox.HorizontalContentAlignment="Left"
    $Output_Textbox.VerticalContentAlignment="Top"
    set-controls -switcher $false -setswitcher $false
    update-password-textbox -value $null
    update-passwordex-texbox -value $null
    $Date_Picker.Text = $null

    if ($Computer_Textbox.Text.Length -le 0){
        #OUTPUT IF EMPTY SEARCH AND ENABLING CONTROLS
        set-output-textbox -date $true -value "Input cannot be empty"
        set-controls -switcher $true -setswitcher $false    
    }else{
        set-output-textbox -date $true -value "Please Wait"
        
        #PUTTING INPUT INTO VARIABLE
        $script:computerName = $Computer_Textbox.Text

        #CREATING A SYNCHRONISED HASHTABLE
        $script:syncHash = [hashtable]::Synchronized(@{})

        #CREATING SEARCH RUNSPACE
        $searchRunspace = [runspacefactory]::CreateRunspace()
        $searchRunspace.ApartmentState = "STA"
        $searchRunspace.ThreadOptions = "ReuseThread"
        $searchRunspace.Open()
        $searchRunspace.SessionStateProxy.SetVariable("syncHash",$syncHash)
        $searchRunspace.SessionStateProxy.SetVariable("computerName",$computerName)
        $searchRunspace.SessionStateProxy.SetVariable("domainController",$domainController)

        #POWERSHELL TO BE RAN IN RUNSPACE
        $searchPowerShell = [powershell]::Create().AddScript({
            $syncHash.searchADComputer = Get-ADComputer -Identity $computerName
            $syncHash.searchInvoke = Invoke-Command -ComputerName $domainController -ScriptBlock { Get-AdmPwdPassword -ComputerName $args[0] } -ArgumentList $computerName | Select-Object Password, ExpirationTimeStamp
        })

        #ASSIGNING RUNSPACE TO POWERSHELL
        $searchPowerShell.Runspace = $searchRunspace
        #STARTING THE RUNSPACE AND POWERSHELL
        $searchObject = $searchPowerShell.BeginInvoke()

        #REFRESHING UNTIL POWERSHELL IS COMPLETE
        do{
            Start-Sleep -Milliseconds 100
            update-form
        }while (!$searchObject.IsCompleted)

        #ENDING POWERSHELL INVOKE AND DISPOSING OF RUNSPACE
        $searchPowerShell.EndInvoke($searchObject)
        $searchPowerShell.Dispose()
    
        if ($syncHash.searchADComputer){
            #COMPUTER IS FOUND ON DOMAIN
            if ($syncHash.searchInvoke){
                #INVOKE SUCCESSFUL
                $admpwdPassword = $syncHash.searchInvoke.password
                $admpwdPasswordExpiration = $syncHash.searchInvoke.ExpirationTimeStamp
                $admpwdPasswordExpirationFormatted = $admpwdPasswordExpiration.ToString("dd/MM/yyyy hh:mm:ss")

                #UPDATING FIELDS
                update-output-textbox -date $true -value "Information retrieved"
                update-password-textbox -value $admpwdPassword
                update-passwordex-texbox -value $admpwdPasswordExpirationFormatted
                set-controls -switcher $true -setswitcher $true
            }else{
                #INVOKE FAILED
                update-output-textbox -date $true -value "Failded to retrieve password information"
                update-password-textbox -value $null
                update-passwordex-texbox -value $null
                set-controls -switcher $true -setswitcher $false
            }
        }else{
            #COMPUTER NOT FOUND ON DOMAIN
            update-output-textbox -date $true -value "Host not found on domain"
            update-password-textbox -value $null
            update-passwordex-texbox -value $null
            set-controls -switcher $true -setswitcher $false
        }
    }
})

#SET EXPIRATION BUTTON LOGIC
$Set_Button.Add_Click({
    
    #DISABLING CONTROLS ON BUTTON PRESS
    set-controls -switcher $false -setswitcher $false

    if ($Date_Picker.Text.Length -le 0){
        #OUTPUT IF EMPTY DATE AND ENABLING CONTROLS
        update-output-textbox -date $true -value "No date selected"
        set-controls -switcher $true -setswitcher $true
    }else{
        #GETTING NEW DATES FOR EXPIRATION
        $newExpirationString = $Date_Picker.SelectedDate.ToString("MM/dd/yyyy")
        $script:newExpirationDate = [datetime]::ParseExact($newExpirationString, 'MM/dd/yyyy', $null)
        
        #OUTPUTTING FRIENDLY EXPIRATION TO OUTPUT TEXTBOX
        update-output-textbox -date $true -value "Setting expiration to $newExpirationString..."

        #CREATING SEARCH RUNSPACE
        $setRunspace = [runspacefactory]::CreateRunspace()
        $setRunspace.ApartmentState = "STA"
        $setRunspace.ThreadOptions = "ReuseThread"
        $setRunspace.Open()
        $setRunspace.SessionStateProxy.SetVariable("syncHash",$syncHash)
        $setRunspace.SessionStateProxy.SetVariable("computerName",$computerName)
        $setRunspace.SessionStateProxy.SetVariable("domainController",$domainController)
        $setRunspace.SessionStateProxy.SetVariable("newExpirationDate",$newExpirationDate)

        #POWERSHELL TO BE RAN IN RUNSPACE
        $setPowerShell = [powershell]::Create().AddScript({
            try{
                $syncHash.setInvoke = Invoke-Command -ComputerName $domainController -ScriptBlock {Reset-AdmPwdPassword -ComputerName $args[0] -WhenEffective $args[1] } -ArgumentList $computerName, $newExpirationDate -ErrorAction Stop
                try{
                    Invoke-GPUpdate -Computer $computerName -ErrorAction Stop
                    $syncHash.setGPUpdate = $true
                }catch{
                    #GP UPDATE FAILED
                    $syncHash.setGPUpdate = $null
                }
            }catch{
                #CHANGING EXPIRATION FAILED
                $syncHash.setInvoke = $null
            }
        })

        #ASSIGNING RUNSPACE TO POWERSHELL
        $setPowerShell.Runspace = $setRunspace
        #STARTING THE RUNSPACE AND POWERSHELL
        $setObject = $setPowerShell.BeginInvoke()

        #REFRESHING UNTIL POWERSHELL IS COMPLETE
        do{
            Start-Sleep -Milliseconds 100
            update-form
        }while (!$setObject.IsCompleted)

        #ENDING POWERSHELL INVOKE AND DISPOSING OF RUNSPACE
        $setPowerShell.EndInvoke($setObject)
        $setPowerShell.Dispose()

        #CHECKING PASSWORD EXPIRATION SUCCESS
        if ($syncHash.setInvoke){
            update-output-textbox -date $true -value "Successfully reset password expiration date"
            #CHECKING GP UPDATE SUCCESS
            if ($syncHash.setGPUpdate){
                update-output-textbox -date $true -value "Succesfully ran GP update"
            }else{
                update-output-textbox -date $true -value "Failed to run GP update, this is probably due to permissions"
            }
        }else{
            update-output-textbox -date $true -value "Failed to reset password expiration date"
        }

        #RESETTING CONTROLS
        set-controls -switcher $true -setswitcher $true
    }
})

#CHECK FOR AD MODULE AND TEST IF ON LOCAL DOMAIN/NETWORK
if ( Test-Connection $domainRoot -Count 1 -Quiet){
    #DOMAIN IS ACCESSIBLE
    if (Get-Module -List ActiveDirectory ){
        #AD MODULE INSTALLED
        #FORM WILL BE DISPLAYED WITHOUT ANY MODIFICATIONS
    }else{
        #AD MODULE NOT INSTALLED
        set-output-textbox -date $false -value "Install the AD module and restart"
        set-controls -switcher $false -setswitcher $false
        $Computer_Textbox.IsEnabled = $false
    }
}else{
    #DOMAIN ISN'T ACCESSIBLE
    set-output-textbox -date $false -value "$domainRoot is not accessible"
    set-controls -switcher $false -setswitcher $false
    $Computer_Textbox.IsEnabled = $false
}   

#REMOVING PROCESS ON FORM CLOSE
$LAPSWindow.Add_Closing({
    try{
        $syncHash.Clear() | Out-Null
    }catch{}
    
    Stop-Process -Name "LAPS" -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue
})

#DISPLAY FORM WHILST TESTING
$app = [Windows.Application]::new()
$app.run($LAPSWindow)

Enjoy!