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Tutorial: Adding Tabs to your Visual Studio based Paint.NET v5.0 Plugin!


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Tutorial: Adding Tabs to your Visual Studio based Paint.NET Plugin!

 (This is written from the perspective of you already having written an effect as a vs project and you want to add tabs to it.

CodeLab can create a Visual Studio project of a CodeLab script*, and from there you can follow this tutorial.)

 

Paint.NET v5.0 really gave us plugin authors a TON of new toys.  This version introduces a completely new type of effect pipeline, a GPU accelerated pipeline.  And, most of these new toys are restricted to this new type of effect.  However, Rick did give us 2 new features for classic effects:  1) the ability to organize our UI into sections by using tabs--described below, and 2) the ability to clean up our UI by removing the horizontal dividers between controls.

 

Here is an example of what a tab set looks like in Paint.NET v4.3.12 (left, without tabs) compared to v5.0 (right, with tabs):

 

image.png     :RightArrowBlue:     image.png

 

The very first thing you need to do is add a PropertyNames entry for your TabContainer, something like this:

public enum PropertyNames
{
    Amount1,
    Amount2,
    Amount3,
    Amount4,
    Amount5,
    TabContainer  // add something here to name your tab set.
}

 

When writing an effect, you develop the following function to configure the UI based on the properties (controls) already defined:

protected override ControlInfo OnCreateConfigUI(PropertyCollection props)

In there, you generally have the following line of code to kick off the function:

ControlInfo configUI = CreateDefaultConfigUI(props);

This builds a default UI based on the controls previously defined in the OnCreatePropertyCollection() function.   Basically, what it does for you is create a panel and place all of your controls in the panel in the order specified in the OnCreatePropertyCollection() function.


Instead of building the default UI, we want to build a custom UI that has a tab set in it.  So, let's comment out that line and make a new ControlInfo structure.  At this point you need to decide if your effect is going to be a single tabset, or if you want additional controls and possibly a tabset to go along with them.

 

If you want your UI to simply be a tabset and nothing more, you can create the following line:

//ControlInfo configUI = CreateDefaultConfigUI(props);
TabContainerControlInfo configUI = new TabContainerControlInfo(props[PropertyNames.TabContainer]);

 

If you wish to have multiple tabsets or controls outside of the tabset, create the following lines:

//ControlInfo configUI = CreateDefaultConfigUI(props);
PanelControlInfo panelControlInfo = new PanelControlInfo();
TabContainerControlInfo configUI = new TabContainerControlInfo(props[PropertyNames.TabContainer]);

 

This creates a Panel AND a TabContainer... which will be added to the Panel.

 

Next, create a tabPage and add the controls to that page then add the tab page to the tab control:

// First Tab
TabPageControlInfo tabPage1 = new TabPageControlInfo();
tabPage1.Text = "Tab Title";
tabPage1.AddChildControl(PropertyControlInfo.CreateFor(props[PropertyNames.Amount1]));
tabPage1.AddChildControl(PropertyControlInfo.CreateFor(props[PropertyNames.Amount2]));
configUI.AddTab(tabPage1);

 

Repeat for each tab page. (Note: you must use every control defined in "props" and a control must not appear more than once.)

 

The rest of OnCreatePropertyCollection() remains the same.  This is where the details of each control are described (control titles, etc.).

  • If you did NOT create a panel control, simply return the tab container at the end of the function as was originally written:
    return configUI;
}

...and you're done!

  • If you DID create a panel, add the tabset to the panel.  You can then add controls directly to the panel following the tabset:
// Add tab set to the panel
panelControlInfo.AddChildControl(configUI);

// Controls below tab set
panelControlInfo.AddChildControl(PropertyControlInfo.CreateFor(props[PropertyNames.Amount5]));

The rest of OnCreatePropertyCollection() remains the same.  This is where the details of each control are described (control titles, etc.).

 

Finally, return the Panel at the end of the function:

    return panelControlInfo;
}

...and you're done!

 

If you want to know which tab is active during the Render function, you'll need to do one more thing:

 

Create a global variable to hold the index of the active tab:

int tabShowing;

 

When the tab is switched, OnSetRenderInfo() is called.  So, in the OnSetRenderInfo() function, populate that variable with the index of the active tab:

tabShowing = token.GetProperty<TabContainerStateProperty>(PropertyNames.TabContainer).Value.SelectedTabIndex;

 

That's it!  In your Render() function, you can branch based on the value in the tabShowing variable.

  

*Does not apply to the MS Store version of Paint.NET.  You'll need to download the free, classic version of Paint.NET if you want to develop plugins in Visual Studio.

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