WPF Popups and ToolTip behavior – A Journey

January 15, 2009

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one comment

I am currently working on a WPF project which I needed a ToolTip with a certain behavior:

  • It should act like a ToolTip
  • Support content template
  • Appear upon hovering with a small interval
  • Appear once – hovering another element with a tooltip should hide the last shown tooltip.
  • Support Rich Content 

The latter is marked as bold since that was the essential requirement that made me not use the ordinary WPF ToolTip.

I needed the ToolTip to hold rich content – such as clickable buttons.
This also implicates that I wanted the ToolTip to remain shown until either one of the following

  • The window was moved/size changed
  • The window was deactivated (E.g. Alt+Tab)
  • A click was made outside the boundary of the shown tooltip
  • Otherwise – Keep being shown! – Unsupported by the built-in ToolTip.

I went over and examined my possibilities along with my close friend Aelij Arbel who worked together with me on this.
The options we were considering are as follows:

1) Built-in ToolTip – As indicated above – unsuitable.

2) Context Menu – The behavior I was looking for resembled the Context-Menu behavior, so I thought about perhaps I could template the Context menu to look like I wanted and try to change it’s core Right-Click functionality but it turned out to be quite complicated and I’m unsure it’s possible.

3) Use Popup – Popup is a great thing. It allows you to place content apart from the window Visual Tree – floating.
It supports most of the ToolTip placement properties which I needed – Let the popup control the placement positioning, take a lot of pain off my back.

Obviously, the third way appeared to be the best way to go.

Good news – Popups did do the trick I needed. However, they wouldn’t work properly in some cases.
Unfortunately, bad news – It didn’t in my case.

I attached a project sample showing some behavior disfunctions in the Popup, just so you see for yourself there are issues with that.

That was the starting point of my journey – I was going to create such RichToolTipPopup behavior that would be supported in every case!

I will post about my solution in the following days.

[af]

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