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Michael Crump Microsoft MVP, INETA Community Champion and XAML Advocate.

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I’m a big believer in having a hobby project as you can probably tell from the first sentence in my “personal webpage using Silverlight” article. One of my current hobby projects is to re-do my current WP7 application in the marketplace. I knew up front that I needed a “Loading” animation and a better “About” box. After starting to develop my own, I noticed a great set of WP7 controls by Coding4Fun and decided to use them in my new application. Before I go any further they are FREE and Open-Source.

It is really simple to get started, just go to the CodePlex site and click the download button.

After you have downloaded it then extract it to a Folder and you will have 4 DLL files. They are listed below:

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Now create a Windows Phone 7 Project and add references to the DLL’s by right clicking on the References folder and clicking “Add references”.

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After adding the references, we can get started. I needed a ProgressOverlay animation or “Loading Screen” while my RSS feed is downloading.

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Basically, you just need to add the following namespace to whatever page you want the control on:

xmlns:Controls="clr-namespace:Coding4Fun.Phone.Controls;assembly=Coding4Fun.Phone.Controls" 

And then the code inside your Grid or wherever you want the Loading screen placed.

<Controls:ProgressOverlay Name="progressOverlay" >
    <Controls:ProgressOverlay.Content>
        <TextBlock>Loading</TextBlock>
    </Controls:ProgressOverlay.Content>
</Controls:ProgressOverlay>

Bam, you now have a great looking loading screen. Of course inside the ProgressOverlay, you may want to add a Visibility property to turn it off after your data loads if you are using MVVM or similar pattern.

 

Next up, I needed a nice clean “About Box” that looks good but is also functional. Meaning, if they click on my twitter name, web or email to launch the appropriate task.

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Again, this is only a few lines of code:

var p = new AboutPrompt();
p.VersionNumber = "2.0";
p.Show("Michael Crump", "@mbcrump", "michael@michaelcrump.net", @"http://michaelcrump.net");

A nice clean “About” box with just a few lines of code! I’m all for code that I don’t have to write.

It also comes with a pretty sweet InputPrompt for grabbing info from a user:
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The code for this is also very simple:

InputPrompt input = new InputPrompt();
input.Completed += (s, e) =>
                       {
                           MessageBox.Show(e.Result.ToString());
                       };

input.Title = "Input Box";
input.Message = "What does a \"Developer Large\" T-Shirt Mean? ";
input.Show();

I also enjoyed the PhoneHelper that allows you to get data out of the WMAppManifest File very easy.

So for example if I wanted the Version info from the WMAppManifest file.

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I could write one line and get it.

PhoneHelper.GetAppAttribute("Version")

Of course you would want to make sure you add the following using statement:

using Coding4Fun.Phone.Controls.Data;

You can’t have all these cool controls without a great set of Converters. The included BooleanToVisibility converter will convert a Boolean to and from a Visibility value. This is excellent when using something like a CheckBox to display a TextBox when its checked. See the example below:

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The code is below:

<phone:PhoneApplicationPage.Resources>
    <Converters:BooleanToVisibilityConverter x:Key="BooleanToVisibilityConverter"/>
</phone:PhoneApplicationPage.Resources>
<CheckBox x:Name="checkBox"/>
<TextBlock Text="Display Text" Visibility="{Binding ElementName=checkBox, Path=IsChecked, Converter={StaticResource BooleanToVisibilityConverter} }"/>

That’s not all the goodies included. They also provide a RoundedButton, TimePicker and several other converters. The documentation is great and I would recommend you give them a shot if you need any of this functionality. Btw, thank Brian Peek for his awesome work on Coding4Fun!

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Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011 6:32 AM Silverlight , WP7 | Back to top

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