Show Live Updates to Your Xamarin Grids

One common scenario for a datagrid in a software application is showing live updates to values inside the datagrid. For instance, a grid used to view stock prices might show frequent updates during trading hours. Or a grid used to edit customer data might be updated at runtime with changes from the database which are caused by another user.

Because displaying live updates is an integral feature to datagrids, the Infragistics Xamarin Grid will respond immediately to all data updates which raise the INotifyCollectionChanged.CollectionChanged event, or the INotifyPropertyChanged.PropertyChanged event.

The sample in this blog demonstrates this in a simple way. The "Tick" method is invoked every 33 milliseconds, updating a numeric property to a random value on a random selection of 1000 data items. As expected, the grid updates the numeric cells as soon as the values are changed in code.

private void Tick()
{
    const int toChange = 1000; // number of data items to change

    HashSet toChangeIndexes = new HashSet();
    bool stillAnimating = _data.Any((item) => item.YearToDateSalesHeat > 0); // if any of the items are "hot" then we will still be animating their background color.

    if (!stillAnimating) // don't update anything if animation is in progress
    {
        _lastDataUpdate = DateTime.Now;
        for (var i = 0; i < toChange; i++)
        {
            int index = _rand.Next(_data.Count - 1);
            while (toChangeIndexes.Contains(index))
            {
                index = _rand.Next(_data.Count - 1);
            }
            toChangeIndexes.Add(index);
        }
    }

    // loop through the full dataset
    for (var i = 0; i < _data.Count; i++)
    {
        var item = _data[i];
        if (toChangeIndexes.Contains(i)) // if this item was flagged to change...
        {
            item.YearToDateSales += _rand.Next(4); // change its YearToDateSales to a random number.
            item.YearToDateSalesHeat = 1; // set its YearToDateSalesHeat to 1 to indicate the value was just changed.
        }
        else // if the item was not flagged to change...
        {
            if (item.YearToDateSalesHeat > 0) // if it has recently changed...
            {
                // decrease its YearToDateSalesHeat until it reaches zero.
                item.YearToDateSalesHeat -= .03;
                if (item.YearToDateSalesHeat < 0)
                {
                    item.YearToDateSalesHeat = 0;
                }
            }
        }
    }

    // we have updated the YearToDateSales value of many datapoints.
    // if the grid is currently sorted this column, invoke the QueueAutoRefresh button to re-sort the grid.
    bool sortedBySales = grid.SortDescriptions.Any((sortDescription) => sortDescription.PropertyName == "YearToDateSales");
    if (sortedBySales && toChangeIndexes.Count > 0)
    {
        grid.ActualDataSource.QueueAutoRefresh();
    }
     
    // re-invoke this method to do another update.
    Task.Delay(33).ContinueWith((t) =>
    {
        Device.BeginInvokeOnMainThread(() =>
        {
            Tick();
        });
    });
}

Exploring further, this sample also demonstrates a good technique for contextual coloring of the numeric cells. Handling the numeric column's DataBound event in code, a color is selected, from white to red, based on a property on each data item which represents how recently that item was updated.

private void yearToDateSalesColumn_DataBound(object sender, Infragistics.XamarinForms.Controls.Grids.DataBindingEventArgs args)
{
    // use the DataBound event to perform contextual coloring of the YearToDateSales cells, based on their YearToDateSalesHeat values.
    var item = args.CellInfo.RowItem as IGSalesmanItem;
    if (item != null)
    {
        if (item.YearToDateSalesHeat > 0)
        {
            var p = item.YearToDateSalesHeat;
            var toA = 1.0;
            var fromA = 1.0;
            var toR = 1.0;
            var fromR = 1.0;
            var toG = 0.0;
            var fromG = 1.0;
            var toB = 0.0;
            var fromB = 1.0;

            var a = fromA + (toA - fromA) * p;
            var r = fromR + (toR - fromR) * p;
            var g = fromG + (toG - fromG) * p;
            var b = fromB + (toB - fromB) * p;

            var brush = new SolidColorBrush(Color.FromRgba(r, g, b, a));
            args.CellInfo.Background = brush;
        }
        else
        {
            args.CellInfo.Background = new SolidColorBrush(Color.White);
        }
    }
}

The end result is a beautiful, responsive grid with live updates and contextual coloring of cells, produced in a short time with a small amount of code. Here is the link to the sample application.

Be sure to visit our Infragistics Ultimate UI for Xamarin site, where you can get quick lessons on getting up to speed with our incredible Xamarin Productivity Pack, as well as download a trial of the product for free