Category Archives: Computers and Internet

Windows 8 Development with XAML and C# – Controls

User interfaces are usually composed of reusable controls that encapsulate the logic for rendering the view, taking input and manipulating data. Windows 8 XAML has a wide range of such controls and this is a terse overview of these controls that you can use to check if you know them all.

Read more on Safari Books Online

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Windows 8 Development with XAML and C# – Introduction

Why develop for Windows 8?

Windows 8 is a platform with high potential. Based on the trends, Windows 8 is expected to run on half a billion devices within a year or two. Since previous versions of Windows are already running on over a billion machines today, and upgrading from any existing version will cost a mere $15 to $40 – this is just a deal that is hard to miss. Windows 8 is every bit as stable and incrementally improved in its desktop flavor, but it also has a new and exciting part in its touch-centric start screen and app store support.

Read more on Safari Books Online

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WPF/Silverlight vs. Jupiter Quirks – Opacity

Have you noticed the difference in how the Opacity property is handled by child elements the Windows 8 XAML vs. Silverlight or WPF?

Silverlight/WPF:

Windows 8 XAML (Jupiter):

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Creating a Zoomable ScrollViewer with ZoomSnapPoints in WinRT XAML

The Metro/WinRT XAML ScrollViewer by default allows to zoom in on its contents. That is because its ZoomMode property defaults to “Enabled”. I think in most cases it is actually not the desired behavior and you might want to set ZoomMode to ZoomMode.Disabled. I do understand though that this makes the feature more discoverable and does not hurt much while potentially getting users familiar with the new paradigm of quickly scrolling by zooming that is also displayed in the SemanticZoom control.

For my application I needed to enable users to zoom in on a horizontal StackPanel with a list of buttons so that all the buttons fit on screen. At first I thought I would use the SemanticZoom control, but then I realized I need an actual zoom not a semantic one, so the improved (over WPF/Silverlight) ScrollViewer is an obvious choice.

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In Search of a Better Name Than Windows Runtime “XAML” Framework

XAML is a very non-descriptive name for one of the UI technologies used in Windows 8 Metro style apps. Nothing at the level of WPF/Avalon or Silverlight/WPF/E. “Jupiter” could be its name, but no one at Microsoft ever officially confirmed what “Jupiter” really is or if it really is the father of “Apollo“. I noticed a blog post of a Microsoft Developer Evangelist mentioning XAML being Jupiter, but it might still just be a mistake, since developer evangelists are not usually members of the product engineering teams at Microsoft, so it might still just be based on rumors taken as fact. Looking for any confirmation I found there was not even a Wikipedia article for the latest XAML UI framework so here it is:

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Debug Layer in Direct3D 11.1 Metro Style Applications

DirectX developers might (should) be familiar with the Debug Layer. This is a piece of code that you can inject into Direct3D for debugging instrumentation. When you create a D3D device, by default – Direct3D is a very thin layer that allows you to achieve maximum performance from your API calls through the drivers to the hardware. In fact it is so thin, that when an error occurs – you only get one of few error codes. This might make you wonder why that API call you are making is failing. Did you forget to pad that constant buffer struct to a multiple of 16 bytes size? Or perhaps you passed an invalid combination of flags to that other method. Well, for years now – you could get all that information by enabling the Debug Layer, but how do you do that in the WinRT world?

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WinRT XAML Toolkit Updated for Windows 8 Release Preview

I just updated the WinRT XAML Toolkit for Windows 8 Release Preview. Grab the source code if you find it useful. Some things work better (ring/pie slice controls don’t flicker and shake any more). The CascadingTextBlock seems to have hit a new bug with PlaneProjections so you might need to set UseRotation to false, look/wait for a workaround or wait for a fix from Microsoft.

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Visual Studio 2012 – ALL CAPS vs. Old Style

Richard Banks – a Visual Studio ALM MVP posted about a registry hack to disable ALL CAPS in Visual Studio 2012, which gives an opportunity to compare Visual Studio 2012 with and without the highly controversial SHOUTING MENU.

See image below for comparison:

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Windows 8 Love

So I installed Windows 8 Release Preview today. I had a bit of a trouble since I first tried the unsupported method that ported my user profile from the previous version which was something between CP and RP. After backing up my files and doing a clean install – things started whirring and it works great now. It works so great in fact that I now love Windows 8. It has been an interesting experience with Developer Preview and Consumer Preview before, but mostly from the novelty of developing for a new platform that is somewhat familiar to a WPF/Silverlight developer. The only metro apps that I used were the ones I worked on myself and otherwise – I had staid in the desktop world, which is still good – with numerous improvements from Windows 7. With RP and the updated set of apps – things changed. I love the new apps. They finally have features that I can find useful and they look brilliant in the chromeless Metro style on my laptop.

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