WPF: Get the source value in ConvertBack() method

The other day I needed the source value in the ConvertBack() method of a converter class. Unfortunately the arguments do not provide this value.
My first try was to bind the value as a ConvertParameter, without success. The next idea was to use a DependancyProperty with the Converter. But the Converter is not an element of the element tree, so it has no DataContext. At codeproject I found a great article that shows a little helper class which observers the element tree and provides the DataContext to elements outside of the element tree.

Converter class with DependancyProperty:

public class ValueConverter : DependencyObject, IValueConverter
    public static DependencyProperty SourceValueProperty =
    public string SourceValue
        get { return (string)GetValue(SourceValueProperty); }
        set { SetValue(SourceValueProperty, value); }

    public object Convert(object value, Type targetType, object parameter, System.Globalization.CultureInfo culture)
        return value;

    public object ConvertBack(object value, Type targetType, object parameter, System.Globalization.CultureInfo culture)
        String sourceValue = SourceValue;

        return value;

DataContextSpy class from codeproject:

public class DataContextSpy : Freezable
    public DataContextSpy()
        BindingOperations.SetBinding(this, DataContextProperty, new Binding());

        this.IsSynchronizedWithCurrentItem = true;

    public bool IsSynchronizedWithCurrentItem { get; set; }

    public object DataContext
        get { return (object)GetValue(DataContextProperty); }
        set { SetValue(DataContextProperty, value); }

    public static readonly DependencyProperty DataContextProperty =
        new PropertyMetadata(null, null, OnCoerceDataContext));

    static object OnCoerceDataContext(DependencyObject depObj, object value)
        DataContextSpy spy = depObj as DataContextSpy;
        if (spy == null)
            return value;

        if (spy.IsSynchronizedWithCurrentItem)
            ICollectionView view = CollectionViewSource.GetDefaultView(value);
            if (view != null)
                return view.CurrentItem;

        return value;

    protected override Freezable CreateInstanceCore()
        throw new NotImplementedException();

And the WPF DropBox as an example implementation:

<ComboBox ItemsSource="{Binding Path=Values}"  Height="23"  HorizontalAlignment="Left" Margin="66,12,0,0" VerticalAlignment="Top" Width="120">
        <l:ValueConverter x:Key="converter" />
        <l:DataContextSpy x:Key="dataContextSpy" />
        <Binding Path="BindingValue" Mode="TwoWay">
                    SourceValue="{Binding Source={StaticResource dataContextSpy}, Path=DataContext.BindingValue}"/>

The full project with all sources can be found on github.

This entry was posted in C#, Development, WPF and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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