Metro - Icons or Buttons

by Kevin January 12, 2012 20:33

I decided to put a quick update out for WinPhone Info to correct the pin and favorite buttons, because I didn't include the circle in the image. It may seem like a small detail that could easily be ignored, but I feel that strictly adhering to the Metro design guidelines helps to make my apps more aesthetically pleasing and easier to use.

        

If you are interested in learning more about the difference between icons and buttons in Metro, see this article - Why do we have circles around icons in the Windows Phone app bar?

 

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Windows Phone

WinPhone Info Redesign

by Kevin December 23, 2011 09:30

After my big Bill Reminder update, instead of taking a much-needed break, I decided to turn WinPhone Info into a full-featured app with an all new interface... 3 weeks and about 200 hours of coding and debugging later, it is almost ready.

Besides all of the new features, I really wanted to switch the main page from Pivot to Panorama style, because the Panorama style provides a more professional look and feel, and it really showcases the simple beauty of the Metro UI. However, it does present a lot of challenges for a design-challenged developer like me - splash screens, background images, hub tile images, UI responsiveness, etc.

Here is a link to an excellent article on the proper use of the Metro UI - When Metro design falls off the tracks.

Click here to learn more about the current version of WinPhone Info and for a link to download it in the Marketplace.

Here is a preview of the new interface:

WinPhone Info Beta Screenshot 1 WinPhone Info Beta Screenshot 2 WinPhone Info Beta Screenshot 3

 

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Windows Phone

Analytics Are Fun

by Kevin November 15, 2011 01:25

I recently started adding analytics to my apps to get an idea of how many of the people that downloaded my apps were actually still using them. Well, the data is finally coming in and I was shocked to see how widespread the user base is for Windows Phone 7 now.

You may be able to get a sense of the number of countries involved by looking at download counts in the App Hub, but it doesn't really hit you until you see it on a map. Here is the map for my apps showing some of the early app run data.

App Run Map

If you are interested in adding analytics to your Windows Phone 7 app, check out the Runtime Intelligence Service available from PreEmptive Solutions. Here is a good walk-through video to get you started. It also talks about dotfuscation, which can help you to protect your source code.

 

Windows Phone - Handling Light and Dark Theme Changes

by Kevin November 14, 2011 21:29

I love how the icons in the AppBar magically know how to switch from light to dark to match the currently selected OS theme, but I hate how they don't seem as "smart" when I use them elsewhere in my app.

Well, after doing it the hard way in UCF News (switching between header templates in the code behind), I stumbled across a really simple way in someone's response to a question on the subject. I couldn't believe it was that easy. I like to tell myself that this method only became available with the OS 7.5 (Mango) release, so it isn't entirely my fault that I missed it. Smile

Here is a code snippet to demonstrate. Just put both versions of the graphic, light and dark, in the same block, set the Visibilty attribute as shown, and let the OS do the rest.

<StackPanel>
    <!-- LightTheme -->
    <Image Source="/Images/AppBarIcons/light/appbar.new.rest.png"
        Visibility="{StaticResource PhoneLightThemeVisibility}" />
    <!-- DarkTheme -->
    <Image Source="/Images/AppBarIcons/dark/appbar.new.rest.png"
        Visibility="{StaticResource PhoneDarkThemeVisibility}" />
</StackPanel>

That's all it takes. I'm sure the same trick can be applied for other resources, but I haven't had to try it yet. Hopefully this post will save you a little time on your next app.

 

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me

I work on .NET development by day; Windows PC & Windows Phone development by night.

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