I’ve been updating some file uploader code in my photoalbum today and while I was working with the uploader I noticed that the File Open dialog using Silverlight that handles the file selections didn’t allow me to ever see an image preview for image files. It sure would be nice if I could preview the images I’m about to upload before selecting them from a list. Here’s what my list looked like:
This is the Medium Icon view, but regardless of the views available including Content view only icons are showing up.
Silverlight uses the standard Windows File Open Dialog so it uses all the same settings that apply to Explorer when displaying content. It turns out that the Customization options in particular are the problem here. Specifically the Always show icons, never thumbnails option:
I had this option checked initially, because it’s one of the defenses against runaway random Explorer views that never stay set at my preferences. Alas, while this setting affects Explorer views apparently it also affects all dialog based views in the same way. Unchecking the option above brings back full thumbnailing for all content and icon views. Here’s the same Medium Icon view after turning the option off:
which obviously works a whole lot better for selection of images.
The bummer of this is that it’s not controllable at the dialog level – at least not in Silverlight. Dialogs obviously have different requirements than what you see in Explorer so the global configuration is a bit extreme especially when there are no overrides on the dialog interface. Certainly for Silverlight the ability to have previews is a key feature for many applications since it will be dealing with lots of media content most likely.
Hope this helps somebody out. Thanks to Tim Heuer who helped me track this down on Twitter.