Wpf – Should a ViewModel in MVVM reference the View


In the MVVM (Model-View-ViewModel) pattern should the ViewModel reference the view. I would think that it should not. But how should the following scenario be handeled? I have a view that has a tab control as the main container, the viewmodel for this view implements a command to add a new tab to the tab control. The easy way would be to allow the viewmodel to reference the view and then in the command implementation to just programmatically add the new tab to the tabcontrol in the view. This just seems wrong. Should I somehow bind the tabcontrol to the viewmodel and then implement a data/control-template to add the new tabs. I hope this makes some kind of sense to somebody 🙂

Best Solution

In "pure" MVVM, the ViewModel shouldn't really reference the View. It's often convenient, however, to provide some form of interface in the View whereby the ViewModel can interact with it.

However, I've found that I almost never do that anymore. The alternative approach is to use some form of attached property or blend behavior within your View, and bind it to your ViewModel properties. This allows you to keep the View logic 100% within the View. In addition, by creating a behavior for this, you create a reusable type that can be used to handle this in every ViewModel->View interaction. I strongly prefer this approach over having any View logic within the ViewModel.

In order to demonstrate this technique, I wrote a sample for the Expression Code Gallery called WindowCloseBehavior. It demonstrates how you can use a Behavior within the View bound to properties in the ViewModel to handle controlling a Window's life-cycle, including preventing it from being closed, etc.