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Listbox handling in Windows Phone

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This article demonstrates how to implement a ListBox and get the value of the selected list item.

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Article Metadata
Code Example
Source file:
Tested with
Devices(s): Nokia Lumia 820, Lumia 920
Created: somnathbanik (15 Sep 2011)
Last edited: hamishwillee (22 Jan 2014)



Listbox can be implemented in two ways :

  • Using ListBoxItems
  • Data Binding

Generally ListBox is a kind of ItemControl together with ListPicker and other similar controls. The basic structure is same along with SelectedItem behavior. First we will use ListBoxItems method for creating the ListBox.

Using ListBoxItems

To make a list box using ListBoxItems method, the steps are listed below:

  • Create a new project by going through File | New Project | Windows Phone Application - Visual C#. Give a desired project name.
  • From Solution Explorer, open MainPage.xaml file. (If Solution Explorer window is currently not opened then open it via View>>Other Windows>>Solution Explorer)
  • Inside Control Panel code fragment, add following code to create a list box with some items:
  <!--ContentPanel - place additional content here-->
<Grid x:Name="ContentPanel" Grid.Row="1" Margin="12,0,12,0">
<ListBox Margin="0,0,0,0" Name="lstCountries"
<ListBoxItem Content="Brazil"/>
<ListBoxItem Content="China"/>
<ListBoxItem Content="India"/>
<ListBoxItem Content="Switzerland"/>
<ListBoxItem Content="Austria"/>
  • We have given a value lstCountries_SelectionChanged to the property SelectionChanged of the ListBox control it means when ever the selection event will be fired on any list box item then the corresponding lstCountries_SelectionChanged() will be executed.
  • In the MainPage.xaml.cs file, make a function like shown below:
 private void lstCountries_SelectionChanged(object sender, SelectionChangedEventArgs e)
MessageBox.Show("List Item " + (lstCountries.SelectedIndex + 1) + " pressed.");

Using the above code, whenever a list item will be selected, a message box will prompt with the list item index being selected.

Using Data Binding Method

For this example we will use Flickr API to get the XML data and then display the content as List items. When user clicks on any of the list item, the detail page comes up.

Windows Phone Windows Phone
Flickr Search Page
Flickr Detail Page

Step by Step Implementation

  • Download and install the Windows Phone SDK (WP SDK) 7.1 Release Candidate (RC)
  • After you have downloaded and installed the Windows Phone SDK, launch the Visual Studio 2010 Express for Windows Phone and then choose File->New Project. Here, you will find the usual list of project templates, select Silverlight for Windows Phone in Visual C# section and then select Windows Phone Application template. As of now we will go with very basic template but you can implement the same project with other templates too.
  • After creating a new project, you will get a view of the design surface and markup. Notice that the design surface shows the phone UI, letting you easily see how your application will look while you develop. For those familiar with Visual Studio, you will also find the familiar ToolBox, Solution Explorer and Properties pane.
  • For our application, we will start by adding a TextBox and a Button from the Toolbox. We will change the name of the TextBox that we added to SearchBox and change the page title text to flickr.
  • We will then write some code by double‑clicking on the button and create an event handler in the code-behind file (MainPage.xaml.cs).


private void FlickrSearch_Click(object sender, RoutedEventArgs e)
WebClient webclient = new WebClient();
webclient.DownloadStringCompleted += new DownloadStringCompletedEventHandler(webclient_DownloadStringCompleted);
webclient.DownloadStringAsync(new Uri("" + SearchBox.Text + "&format=rss2")); // Flickr search

We took the advantage of WebClient networking class to asynchronously download a Flickr feed. This takes three lines of code in total: (1) declaring and creating the WebClient, (2) attaching an event handler and then (3) calling the asynchronous DownloadStringAsync method.In the DownloadStringAsync call, we will pass a Flickr Uri plus a query string which pulls the text from the SearchBox TextBox. This feed will pull all the respective search item in an XML format. When the call completes, the DownloadStringCompleted event is fired and our generated event handler webclient_DownloadStringCompleted will be called

void webclient_DownloadStringCompleted(object sender, DownloadStringCompletedEventArgs e) 
if (e.Error != null)
// parsing Flickr
XElement XmlTweet = XElement.Parse(e.Result);
//var ns = XmlTweet.GetDefaultNamespace(); // get the default namespace
XNamespace ns = "";
listBox1.ItemsSource = from tweet in XmlTweet.Descendants("item")
select new FlickrData
ImageSource = tweet.Element(ns + "thumbnail").Attribute("url").Value,
Message = tweet.Element("description").Value,
UserName = tweet.Element("title").Value,
PubDate = DateTime.Parse(tweet.Element("pubDate").Value)

The result returned from the Flickr call will be in XML format. To parse this we’ll use LINQ to XML. LINQ to XML lets us create simple queries for accessing data in an xml feed. To use this library, we will first need to add a reference to the assembly (right click on the References folder in the solution explorer and choose Add Reference), and then select System.Xml.Linq from the list. Then add a using System.Xml.Linq namespace reference at the top of the code-behind file at the top of Main.xaml.cs file. XElement is used to parse the XML data. To store the data we will create a helper class FlickrData

  public class FlickrData 
public string UserName { get; set; }
public string Message { get; set; }
public string ImageSource { get; set;}
public DateTime PubDate { get; set; }

Then with the use of LINQ to XML we parse the returned XML string from Flickr. What the query does is pull out the key pieces of information for each Flickr post from the SearchBox we passed as the query string. For each item in the XML, we are creating a new FlickrData in the IEnumerable<XElement> returned by the Linq query. We then assign the generated FlickrData sequence to the ListBox’s ItemsSource property. We will then follow one more step to complete this step. In the MainPage.xaml file, we will add an ItemTemplate to the ListBox. For the demo, I have used a simple template that uses databinding to show the content.

<ListBox SelectionChanged="listBoxFlickerSearch_SelectionChanged"  Height="496" HorizontalAlignment="Left" Margin="-4,155,0,0" Name="listBox1" VerticalAlignment="Top" Width="460" >
<StackPanel Orientation="Horizontal" Height="132" MouseLeftButtonDown="Tap_LeftButtonDown"
<Image Source="{Binding ImageSource}" Height="73" Width="73" VerticalAlignment="Top" Margin="0,10,8,0"/>
<StackPanel Width="370">
<TextBlock Text="{Binding UserName}" Foreground="#FFC8AB14" FontSize="28" />
<!--TextBlock Text="{Binding Message}" TextWrapping="Wrap" FontSize="24" /-->
<TextBlock Text="{Binding PubDate}" TextWrapping="Wrap" FontSize="24" />

Now if you compile and run the application, it will come up the the list of Flickr data. but when you click on any of the item nothing happens.

  • We then create another page FlickrDetail.xaml to display the selected item. Right click on the Project->Add->New Item->Window Phone Portrait. In the FlickrDetail.xaml file, we then add an ItemTemplate to the ListBox as we did before, this list box we contain the detail of the item.


<ListBox Height="541" HorizontalAlignment="Left" Margin="9,35,0,0" Name="listBoxFlickrDetail" VerticalAlignment="Top" Width="441" > 
<StackPanel Orientation="Horizontal" Height="132">
<Image Source="{Binding ImageSource}" Height="73" Width="73" VerticalAlignment="Top" Margin="0,10,8,0"/>
<StackPanel Width="370">
<TextBlock Text="{Binding UserName}" Foreground="#FFC8AB14" FontSize="28" />
<TextBlock Text="{Binding PubDate}" TextWrapping="Wrap" FontSize="24" />
<TextBlock Text="{Binding Message}" TextWrapping="Wrap" FontSize="24" />
  • In MainPage.xaml we add SelectionChanged+=listBoxFlickerSearch_SelectionChanged to the ListBox control to get the selected item. In MainPage.xaml.cs we fetch the selected item and navigate the screen with NavigationService
private void listBoxFlickerSearch_SelectionChanged(object sender, SelectionChangedEventArgs e) 
if (e.AddedItems.Count > 0)
// get RSS item from ListBox and store in class var. Store page to navigate to in class var.
selectedItem = (FlickrData)e.AddedItems[0];
targetPage = new Uri("/FlickrDetail.xaml", UriKind.Relative);
// reset selection of ListBox
((ListBox)sender).SelectedIndex = -1;
// change page navigation
FrameworkElement root = Application.Current.RootVisual as FrameworkElement;
root.DataContext = selectedItem;
  • In FlickrDetail.xaml we create a class to hold the selected item data.
public class FlickrDetailPage 
public string UserName { get; set; }
public string Message { get; set; }
public string ImageSource { get; set; }
public DateTime PubDate { get; set; }

and assign the selected item value to the accessor while loading the page

void RssItemPage_Loaded(object sender, RoutedEventArgs e) 
{ // Set page title to news title and navigate to string containing news item. // PageTitle.Text = ((RssItem)DataContext).Title.ToLower();
FlickrDetailPage iFlickrDetail = new FlickrDetailPage();
iFlickrDetail.UserName = ((FlickrData )DataContext).UserName.ToLower();
iFlickrDetail.ImageSource = ((FlickrData)DataContext).ImageSource.ToLower();
iFlickrDetail.PubDate = ((FlickrData)DataContext).PubDate;
iFlickrDetail.Message = ((FlickrData)DataContext).Message.ToLower();

Finally we then assign the generated FlickrDetailPage sequence to the List Box’s ItemsSource property.

  • Compile the application with Ctrl+Shift+B and then run it with Crtl+F5 in release mode.

Source Code

The full source code of the example is available here:

This page was last modified on 22 January 2014, at 04:14.
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