Expression Blend, Silverlight, WinRT, WP7, wpf

Customized Sample data

Intro

When working on Windows Phone or Silverlight applications I use the sample data feature of Blend a lot. I like to see what I’m working on. The only downside of this sample data is that it rarely mirrors the data (unless I’m working on the chair application for a company called Lorem Ipsum). I’d like to see Dutch phone numbers, cities and postal codes. So I’ve decided to create my own list of sample data. At first I thought I had to build a new extension for Blend to be able to customize the data. It turned out to be far less complicated.

imageHow?

The “String” type of sample data is stored in two files. If you’ve installed Blend on the default location you can find these files at:

  • Blend for Visual Studio ==> C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 11.0\Blend\SampleDataResources\en\Data
  • Expression Blend 4 ==> C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Expression\Blend 4\SampleDataResources\en\Data

 

The first file, LoremIpsum.txt, contains a dummy text. This text is loosely based on Latin an is commonly used as dummy text. The second file, SampleStrings.csv, is a comma delimited file that contains the names and words you are probably used to when working with sample data. All you need to do if you want to create custom data is replacing these files.

Because I’m Dutch and would like to use Dutch dummy text I replaced the contents of the LoremIpsum.txt file with some of the generated text on this page. This immediately makes the random generated text look Dutch.

Replacing the SampleStrings.csv file was a bit more complicated. I assumed the strings had to be in the exact same format as they were, but I was wrong here. You can do whatever you want with this file, as long as the first row of elements are the names of the data you are fine. These names show up in the Format combobox.

Besides the obvious things like first name, last name and addresses, I added a few thing I always needed as sample data but didn’t have. I added image urls and a thumbnails that point to http://lorempixel.com. That way I have “real” images when binding the sample data to the source property of an image. I also added dummy tweets. These are just texts but sometimes start with @ or RE, can contain a url or sometimes have a random hash tag.

Download

You can find both files in SampleData. I also include .bak files of the original files.

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