.net – ListBox with Grid as ItemsPanelTemplate produces weird binding errors


I've got a ListBox control and I'm presenting a fixed number of ListBoxItem objects in a grid layout. So I've set my ItemsPanelTemplate to be a Grid.

I'm accessing the Grid from code behind to configure the RowDefinitions and ColumnDefinitions.

So far it's all working as I expect. I've got some custom IValueConverter implementations for returning the Grid.Row and Grid.Column that each ListBoxItem should appear in.

However I get weird binding errors sometimes, and I can't figure out exactly why they're happening, or even if they're in my code.

Here's the error I get:

System.Windows.Data Error: 4 : Cannot find source for binding with reference 'RelativeSource FindAncestor, AncestorType='System.Windows.Controls.ItemsControl', AncestorLevel='1''. BindingExpression:Path=HorizontalContentAlignment; DataItem=null; target element is 'ListBoxItem' (Name=''); target property is 'HorizontalContentAlignment' (type 'HorizontalAlignment')

Can anybody explain what's going on?

Oh, and, here's my XAML:

    <!-- Value Converters -->
    <v:GridRowConverter x:Key="GridRowConverter" />
    <v:GridColumnConverter x:Key="GridColumnConverter" />
    <v:DevicePositionConverter x:Key="DevicePositionConverter" />
    <v:DeviceBackgroundConverter x:Key="DeviceBackgroundConverter" />

    <Style x:Key="DeviceContainerStyle" TargetType="{x:Type ListBoxItem}">
        <Setter Property="FocusVisualStyle" Value="{x:Null}" />
        <Setter Property="Background" Value="Transparent" />

        <Setter Property="Grid.Row" Value="{Binding Path=DeviceId, Converter={StaticResource GridRowConverter}}" />
        <Setter Property="Grid.Column" Value="{Binding Path=DeviceId, Converter={StaticResource GridColumnConverter}}" />

        <Setter Property="Template">
                <ControlTemplate TargetType="{x:Type ListBoxItem}">
                    <Border CornerRadius="2" BorderThickness="1" BorderBrush="White" Margin="2" Name="Bd"
                            Background="{Binding Converter={StaticResource DeviceBackgroundConverter}}">
                        <TextBlock FontSize="12" HorizontalAlignment="Center" VerticalAlignment="Center" 
                                Text="{Binding Path=DeviceId, Converter={StaticResource DevicePositionConverter}}" >
                                <RotateTransform Angle="270" />
                        <Trigger Property="IsSelected" Value="true">
                            <Setter TargetName="Bd" Property="BorderThickness" Value="2" />
                            <Setter TargetName="Bd" Property="Margin" Value="1" />

<Border CornerRadius="3" BorderThickness="3" Background="#FF333333" BorderBrush="#FF333333" >
    <Grid ShowGridLines="False">
            <RowDefinition Height="15" />
            <RowDefinition Height="*" />

        <StackPanel Grid.Row="0" Orientation="Horizontal">
            <Image Margin="20,3,3,3" Source="Barcode.GIF" Width="60" Stretch="Fill" />

        <ListBox ItemsSource="{Binding}" x:Name="lstDevices" Grid.Row="1" 
                 ItemContainerStyle="{StaticResource DeviceContainerStyle}"
                 SelectedItem="{Binding SelectedDeviceResult, ElementName=root, Mode=TwoWay}" >
                            <RotateTransform Angle="90" />

Best Answer

The binding problem comes from the default style for ListBoxItem. By default when applying styles to elements WPF looks for the default styles and applies each property that is not specifically set in the custom style from the default style. Refer to this great blog post By Ian Griffiths for more details on this behavior.

Back to our problem. Here is the default style for ListBoxItem:

    TargetType="{x:Type ListBoxItem}">
    <Setter Property="Panel.Background">
    <Setter Property="Control.HorizontalContentAlignment">
          <Binding Path="HorizontalContentAlignment" RelativeSource="{RelativeSource Mode=FindAncestor, AncestorType=ItemsControl, AncestorLevel=1}"/>
    <Setter Property="Control.VerticalContentAlignment">
          <Binding Path="VerticalContentAlignment" RelativeSource="{RelativeSource Mode=FindAncestor, AncestorType=ItemsControl, AncestorLevel=1}"/>
    <Setter Property="Control.Padding">
    <Setter Property="Control.Template">
          <ControlTemplate TargetType="{x:Type ListBoxItem}">

Note that I have removed the ControlTemplate to make it compact (I have used StyleSnooper - to retrieve the style). You can see that there is a binding with a relative source set to ancestor with type ItemsControl. So in your case the ListBoxItems that are created when binding did not find their ItemsControl. Can you provide more info with what is the ItemsSource for your ListBox?

P.S.: One way to remove the errors is to create new setters for HorizontalContentAlignment and VerticalContentAlignment in your custom Style.

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