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Designing Windows Applications with Expression Blend Manual 2

A Buttons Life: Page 1 Color Swatch: Page 37 Branded Web Search Sample: Page 54 RecipeBox: Page 82

Expression Design + Expression Blend: A Button's Life

You will experience the creation of the most simple of the UI controls: the button. You will get to experience the button being designed in Expression Design and then will make that design an actual interactive rich button in Expression Blend.

In this HOL you will experience a Buttons life. One of the most basic of the WPF controls, the button, is enough to showcase some of the key concepts behind the break through concepts of customizing controls. There are different ways to customize a control, in this case we will start in Expression Design, creating visual assets for our Button and then we will jump into Expression Blend to give those graphics life by converting them into an actual fully working .NET button. Windows desktop applications dont have to be gray or rectangular, now, with .NET 3.0 thanks to WPF, designers and developers can have fun creating their own look and feel.

This HOL only covers a few of the many scenarios that are possible with these tools. If you wish to experiment more with Expression Media and Expression Web we invite you to visit www.microsoft.com/expression to download a Trial version of any of the Expression products.

The concepts you will go through this Expression Design + Expression Blend HOL are:

1. Expression Design a. Exploring Expression Design b. Drawing vector shapes using B-Splines c. Adding color to shapes d. XAML Export 2. Expression Blend a. Importing your graphic assets into Expression Blend b. Creating a standard looking Button c. Editing the Button template d. Customizing the appearance of your Button e. Defining a rollover state using Property Triggers f. Inserting you Expression Design icons into your brand new button

TO DO A. Getting Started
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Start Microsoft Expression Design from the Start menu or use the shortcut on the Desktop Maximize the application if needed. Go to File | Open. Go to C:\MIX HOLs\Expression Labs\Expression Blend HOLs\LEXPR01 DesignToBlend\ Select Icons.design, and then click Open.


In the first part of this lab you will focus on two things: the drawing and editing features of Expression Design that pertain to vector-based graphics; and how to export these graphics to other formats such as bitmap-based formats (JPG, GIF, etc.) and XAML. XAML is a new language that was created to allow designers and developers to collaborate together on rich user interface experiences based on the Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF). Expression Blend is a perfect tool for designing interfaces that leverage XAML and WPF. Expression Design fully integrates with Expression Blend, making it the perfect tool to create all of the graphics needed for a stunning and functional user interface. Lets begin by opening a collection of vector-based icons that have been created for this lab. Notice that, unlike bitmap-based images, you can zoom in closely on vector-based images and they do not lose their quality.

6. 7.

Click the spaceship icon in the upper left corner. Go to View | Zoom on Selection.


Press CTRL+ several times to zoom in on the icon.

You can also see (and individually select) all of the paths that form the graphic.

9. 10. 11. 12.

Go to View | Actual Size. Click the mouse icon. Go to View | Zoom on Selection. Click on the white surface outside of the box that borders the image.

Feel free to select and zoom in closely on the other icons. When you are finished, the lab will proceed with the mouse icon. You will now see how to create one of these icons. The nice-looking mouse you see here was created by tracing a digitized photograph. When you select the icon all of the paths that comprise it are made visible.

13. Click the icon.

B. Tracing a Photograph to Create a Vector-Based Graphic

1. 2. In the Layers pane, scroll down and find the Icon_Mouse layer, which will be highlighted with a yellow bounding box. On the left click the small eye icon to turn off the layer. Lets take a look at the photo that inspired this icon. First turn off the current layer and then turn on the layer containing the photo. Using a digital camera as a basis for creating vector-based images is a terrific way to supplement your artistic abilities. Very few people can draw something even as simple as this mouse icon without some help. Expression Design was built with you, the budding digital artist, in mind. The photograph of this mouse is from the Microsoft.com Web site.


Click the small eye icon on the Mouse_TracePhoto layer.


Click the Mouse_TracePhoto layer to select it. You will see the yellow bounding box appear around to this layer. In the lower right corner, click the New Layer button.


To create a vector-based image from a photo, begin by tracing the objects shape. Before doing so, make sure that the layer on which the photo resides is locked so that you dont inadvertently move it while tracing. Add a new layer that will contain your vectors. Expression Design automatically adds the layer above the currently selected layer (in this case, the Mouse_TracePhoto layer).


Double-click Layer 9 and then type a more meaningful name such as Mouse_TracePaths. (Make sure this layer is on above Mouse_TracePaths

7. 8.

In the upper left, click the pen icon. Click B-Spline.

In the Toolbox you can see a collection of different tools that allow you to create and edit vector paths. The top four are the traditional Bezier curve tools with which every designer is familiar. The Pen tool lets you build Bezier paths by placing a series of nodes. Each node or point has a control handle (or "tangent handle"), and by varying the length and direction of the handle you can affect the shape of the curve. The Add Anchor Point and Delete Anchor Point tools allow you to add a point to, or delete a node from, an existing Bezier curve. Finally, with the Convert Anchor Point you can convert an existing point to one of six types of nodes: Symmetrical, Smooth, Unconstrained, Angle Lock, Corner and Cusp. Point conversion is beyond the scope of this lab, so if you want to know more about this or the point manipulation tools, please consult the F1 Help. Also available are a Polyline tool and a B-Spline tool. The latter is more common in 3-D graphics applications such as 3D Studio MAX or LightWave. However, Expression Design has incorporated the B-Spline into a 2-D environment, giving you a terrific tool for creating vectors. There may not be sufficient time in this lab to fully create the mouse icon. Its a time consumingthough fun!job to trace everything that comprises the final mouse icon you have seen. You will at least see how to start the process. Notice that if you press the ALT key the curve is not interpolated but instead follows the segments exactly. This allows you to make sharp corners. When you use the B-Spline tool you are really just defining straight line segments, which are represented by dashed lines. The first two mouse clicks define the first segment. Each subsequent mouse click creates a new segment, as well as an interpolated, curved path. You can also practice closing a path by making your last point coincide with the first point. When you get near the first point the cursor will change and the path will snap to a closed shape.

9. In a white portion of the layer click around to practice with the B-Spline tool. 10. Press ALT to see how the B-Spline cursor and behavior changes. Notice in this screenshot the last segment does not have a curve inside.

11. Press the A key to switch to Direct Selection mode, which allows you to change any of the path vertices. Click and drag any of the vertices. 12. Press the V key to revert to normal Selection mode. Click and drag the path to see how this mode operates. 13. When done, double-click and then press DELETE one or more times to remove the path. 14. In the upper right, click the box with the red slash through it (tooltip: None).

Before tracing lets make sure the fill color is set to none. If set, fill colors get applied to areas bounded by a path even when the path is not closed.

15. In the Toolbox click the B-Spline icon. 16. Starting in the lower right corner of the mouse photo, click to place points close to the straighter areas of the mouses border, and slightly further from the curvy areas (the distance allows the B-Spline curves to work their magic). 17. When you have completely encompassed the mouse, close off the path by clicking

With a little practice you can quickly create object traces. Be careful only to single click the mouse. If you double-click the path will end (complete itself).

as close as possible to the first point you laid.

18. In the Toolbox click the top arrow icon (Selection tool).

You are done working with the B-Spline tool, so revert to the Selection tool. After deselecting the path you can easily reselect it by simply creating a selection region that touches the path. When the path is selected you can then adjust its width and then choose a stroke color.

19. Click on the white space outside of the bordered mouse area in order to deselect the path you just created. 20. Select the path by clicking outside of the mouse and dragging across a portion of it, then releasing the mouse button.

21. If the path does not appear thick enough, in the upper right, double-click the Width value and change it to a higher number, such as .5 (px), then press ENTER. 22. Ensure that the Stroke icon is selected, and then click on the red square to its right.

23. Click on the white space outside of the bordered mouse area in order to deselect the path.

When you again deselect the path you can probably now see it more easily.


24. Time permitting you may trace the other main lines of the mouse. Again, press ALT for sharp corners like you see here.

The next steps, however, unveils a completed layer of paths that comprise the mouse icon. So there is no need to continue tracing if time and interest do not permit.

25. Click the eye icons for both the Mouse_TracePhoto and Mouse_TracePaths layers to turn them off. 26. Click the eye icons for the Mouse_Paths layer to show the completed paths. 27. Go to Select | All (or press CTRL+A) to select all the paths in the layer.

This layer shows all the paths that comprise the mouse icon. Currently it looks like a wireframe graphic because no fill colors have yet been applied to the shapes.


28. Click anywhere outside of the mouse and then click the outer border near the tail. 29. In the upper right, click the larger left-most rectangle (tooltip: Fill), and then click the gradient square to its right.

To apply a gradient fill to the main shape, click on the outer border and then choose a gradient fill color, adjusting the first color stop to a medium dark gray instead of black.

30. In the gradient control, click the left color stop and then click on the left of the custom palette, about midway vertically.


31. In the Toolbox click the shaded arrow and then select Gradient Transform.

Lets say you want the light source to appear to emanate from the right. You can change the gradient direction using the Gradient Transform tool. You can then click and drag in the direction you want the gradient to flow, light to dark. When you release the mouse button the gradient will change.

32. Click on the middle of the left side and drag across to the right side.


33. In the Toolbox click the top arrow icon (Selection tool). 34. Click anywhere outside of the mouse. 35. Click the lower right portion of the larger regions path.

Change to the Selection tool, deselect the current path, and then multi-select the three inner regions to apply a fill color that has some translucence (opacity of only 60% instead of 100%). Feel free to continue to select other regions and fill with colors and opacities of your choice.

36. Press and hold SHIFT, then click the smaller, gray path in the upper left.


37. In the upper right click the white square to apply a white fill color. 38. Double-click the Opacity value, type 60, and then press ENTER.

39. Click the eye icon for the Mouse_Paths layer to turn it off. 40. Click the eye icon for the Icon_Mouse layer to turn it on.

To prepare for the next part of this lab, turn off the Mouse_Paths layer you have been working in. You should now have only six layers visible: one for each of the pre-made icons. You will now learn how to export vector-based images as other image formats. But first, organize the icons that appear to be randomly placed on the layer.

C. Exporting Vector-Based Images into XAML Format

1. 2. 3. Go to View | Fit to Screen. Click and drag your mouse to select all the icons. At the bottom click the arrow in the Align button, and then select BottomEdges.


Click the arrow in the Distribute button, and then select To Horizontal Center. They should now look like this:

Notice that the white space between the icons is not evenly distributed. You can correct that with the Distribute option.


5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

Go to File | Export | Select the XAML file type Click Desktop, and then click Save. In the Xaml Export dialog, click and drag the icons to re-center them. Move the mouse wheel forward and backward to zoom in and out. In the upper right click the XAML Code tab.

During the export process the Xaml Export tool appears. This allows you to preview the images and XAML source code before the new export file, Icons.xaml, is actually created. The icons appear exactly as they will after export, in a XAML-based environment. You can move them around, and zoom in or out with the mouse wheel, or by right-clicking and selecting the menu option. The XAML code is visible by clicking the XAML Code tab. This is the XML-based representation of the icons. These controls allow you manipulate the export process. The Canvas option exports all of the icons as single file. You will still be able to treat the icons as separate entities, but they will all reside in one file.

11. Click the Graphics tab. 12. Click the circle next to each of the two main menu items on the right, exposing their sub-menus.

13. Under Document Format click Canvas. 14. Click Resource Dictionary. 15. Scroll through the thumbnails across the bottom, clicking them to view the full image.

Resource Dictionary exports them as a library of objects. You can see how this XAML tool now displays each icon is a set of scrolling thumbnails, much like Windows Explorer when in Filmstrip mode. This is a great export method because it allows you to share the library with other


designers or developers, who can then easily reuse these assets in a WPF project.

16. Click Canvas. 17. In the lower right click Export.

For this lab youll use the Canvas method. Clicking Export creates the Icons.xaml file on the Desktop. Its now time to use Expression Blend.

D. Creating a Custom .NET 3.0 Button Using Expression Blend

1. 2. 3. 4. Start Expression Blend from the Start menu or use the shortcut on the Desktop called WPF Expression Blend Go to File | New Project. In the Create New Project dialog, for Name type MyCustomButton. For Location browse to the Desktop, then click OK. You will now import the XAML file you just generated, and then create some custom, fully functional, .NET 3.0-based buttons from scratch. In this way you will see how Expression Design and Expression Blend collaborate together to create great-looking user interfaces. Creating a project gives you an empty workspace on which you can start laying out different elements. The first task is to import the XAML-based icons you just created. In Expression Blend this project area in the upper right is called the Project palette. It will look familiar to developers because under the hood it is actually the Solution Explorer pane in Visual Studio.


In the upper right, right-click the root project element (MyCustomButton) and select Add Existing Item.


6. 7. 8. 9.

In the Add Existing Item dialog, click Desktop, then select Icons.xaml. Click Open. In the Project palette double-click Icons.xaml. Feel free to click and drag the icons, zoom in or zoom out, etc.

You can double-click the imported file to view it just as you did Expression Design. Selecting an icon you can see that it is an independent object within the single XAML file. Closing the Results palette gives you more workspace. The TAB key controls the visibility of all palettes.

10. Toggle F8 to show/hide the Results palette. When done, leave the palette hidden. 11. Toggle TAB to show/hide all palettes. When done, keep the remaining palettes visible. 12. Above the main palette click the Window1.xaml tab. 13. In the Toolbox, click and hold the Button icon to expose the other UI elements, then click Button.

Switch to the other XAML file in the project to create a new button. The Toolbox contains numerous .NET 3.0 user interface controls. NOTE: There are other even easier and faster methods to create a Button in Expression


Blend but for the purpose of this HOL we will take you through one of the methods which will allow you to interact with a wider range of concepts within the tool.

14. Press and hold the SHIFT key, then on the white design surface click and drag to create a square button that is 125 units long (as determined by the dynamic numbers along each side).

Pressing and holding the SHIFT key keeps the length and width proportional as you size it. Without the SHIFT key you would likely end up with a rectangle.

15. In the Toolbox click the Zoom icon. 16. On the design palette click the button three times to zoom in. 17. Notice the Window palette on the left.

So far this is just a generic, gray Windows button, devoid of any artistic appeal. You will now see how WPF and Expression Blend enable you to create a really cool looking button. The XAML document hierarchy is visible in the Window palette. This shows that the button resides on a LayoutRoot control, which in turn is contained in a Window.


18. Right-click the button and go to Edit Control Parts (Template) | Edit a Copy.

Editing the template means that any button instances created from this template will share the same characteristics. This is very useful for creating multiple buttons that look alike except for perhaps the image and/or text on them. You edit a copy of the template because the original template is part of the WPF.

19. In the Create Style Resource dialog, for Resource name type GelButton01, and then click OK.

This dialog allows you to set a resource name for one the button and define where you want it saved. In this case the location will be the default This document. Click OK drops you into the template hierarchy for the button itself, which you can determine by looking at the Template palette (which replaced the Window palette). Each of these hierarchical itemsTemplate, Chrome and [ContentPresenter]comprise the button. No longer are buttons isolated entities, as they were in the past. Its now a collection of WPF controls. This means that you now have much more control over the buttons behavior and appearance. The Template control comes directly from the WPF. Its your buttons base class, as it were, providing the buttons core functionality. (This is why you only edited a copy of the template.) Think of the template as the bodiless soul or essence of the button. The Chrome control is the buttons body. It is what provides the buttons generic appearance. The ContentPresenter control allows us to host content inside as a layer on top of the chrome. In this case it is only hosting the text Button. It can also host full-motion video, graphicseven other buttons! This allows you to create complex nested controls for rich user interface experiences. The Chrome control is actually not required; and because it is a bit ugly, delete it after

20. Click [ContentPresenter] and press CTRL+X to cut and save the control to memory.


21. Click Chrome and press DELETE.

first cutting its child ContentPresenter control. All that is left is the Template control, visible by the yellow border. Now you will proceed to do what UI designers have for years dreamed aboutcreate a rounded button. In the absence of chrome you need to give the button a body. You need a different type of content container, in this case a Grid. A Grid control allows you to draw shapes on it and contain a ContentPresenter control.

22. In the Toolbox double-click the Grid icon.

23. The main palette should now appear as a green box inside the yellow box:

24. In the Template palette double-click Grid to open it inside the Template control in the main design palette. 25. In the Toolbox, click and hold the Rectangle icon to expose the other shapes, then select Ellipse.

The Ellipse tool is what enables you to create a button in the shape of a circle. When done, you can paste the ContentPresenter that was cut from the Chrome control into the Grid control.


26. Press and hold SHIFT, then, on the main design palette, click and drag on the Grid to create a circle that fills the Grid. 27. In the Template palette click Grid and press CTRL+V to paste the ContentPresenter control into the Grid control. 28. If at this time you do not see positioning guides emanating from the Button text, go to Tools | Options, Artboard, check Use grid layout mode, and then click OK.

Grid layout mode provides extra visual cues to help you in your design work.

29. In the upper right click the Properties tab. 30. Below, in the Layout palette, click into each Margin field and change the value to 0.

The numbers in the positioning guides indicate the distance of each side of the ContentPresenter control from the Grid control. You may be able to see that currently the ContentPresenter control is not big enough to contain the graphics you created. Setting the margins to zero makes the ContentPresenter control the same size as its parent Grid control.


31. In the Layout palette, for HorizontalAlignment click the Center (second) icon to its right. 32. For VerticalAlignment click the Center (second) icon to its right.

However, the Button text now appears in the upper left. You can correct this changing the horizontal and vertical alignment properties. Notice also that the position guide numbers are now gone, indicating that the sides of the PresenterControl are coincident with the boundary of the Grid control.

33. In the Template palette click Ellipse. 34. In the Brushes palette click the Gradient Brush icon.

Its now time to give the ellipse a nice gradient color.

35. Click the right color stop and then above it select a dark blue color from the palette. 36. Select the left color stop and then select a lighter blue color from the palette. 37. Slide the right color stop to the left about one-third to increase the dark fill.


38. In the Toolbox click the Brush Transform icon.

It looks cooler to have the gradient come from an angle. The Brush Transform tool allows you to easily modify the gradient by clicking and dragging the arrows head or tail. You can even make the arrow larger or smaller. Try this and see how it affects your gradients look, then try to end up with something like you see in this screenshot (the arrow position might be quite differentjust try and make the buttons appearance similar).

Click and drag the arrows head and tail to below and center of the frame.


39. In the Brushes palette, click Stroke and then select a bright yellow from the color palette. 40. In the Appearance palette set StrokeThickness to 5. 41. In the Toolbox click the Ellipse icon. 42. In the upper right click and drag to draw an elongated oval. 43. In the Brushes palette select the No Brush icon (rectangle with horizontal line). 44. Click Fill, click the Solid Color Brush icon (to the right of No Brush), and then select white from the color palette. 45. Next to the color palette, for the A field type 40 and press ENTER. 46. Hover over the corner of the white oval and then click and drag down a little to orient it at an angle. 47. Finally, click the ovals edge until the move cursor appears, then drag it up and to the right to move it next close to the yellow border.

Stroke is the ellipses border. The button will look better if you change this, too.

Another cool thing you can add is a highlight effect in the form of a white oval with a low opacity.


48. Go to Object | Path | Convert to Path. 49. In the Toolbox click the Direct Selection icon (or press the A key).

This looks pretty good, but you can improve the highlight by converting the shape to a vector-based path and then tweaking the vertices to get the shape to look more realistic. This will give a better gel appearance.

50. Click and drag the vertices to make the highlight look more like this:


51. In the Objects and Timeline palette click the Scope Up icon.

You are done with modifying the buttons template (copy), so you scope up to the Window again. Notice that the Template palette is replaced by the Window palette.

52. Press F5.

Pressing F5 launches a .NET 3.0 test application to preview how your button will look and behave. The button does not yet have any behaviors associated with it, so previewing at this point does not show you much.


53. 54. 55. 56. 57. 58.

Close the Window application. Click the Icons.xaml tab. Press the V key to ensure you in Selection mode. Click one of the icons and press CTRL+C. Click the Window1.xaml tab. Press CTRL+V. Dont worry about the size of the icon relative to button. You will fix this shortly. 59. Click and drag the icon over the button until the dashed box appears.

You can easily copy one of the icons in the projects other XAML file with a simple copy and paste action. With the icon in the button document you can place it onto the button and then resize it to fit properly.


60. While still holding the mouse button down, press ALT, release the mouse button, and then release the ALT key. The icon should appear to snap into the button.

When the icon snaps into place, it may appear to clip part of the graphic. But when you resize it the entire icon will be there.


61. Click one of the corners of the blue border around the icon and drag inward to resize the icon so that it fits properly inside the button.


62. 63. 64. 65.

Press F5. Hover your mouse over the button. Close the Window application. Right-click the button and go to Edit Control Parts (Template) | Edit Template.

You can see that the custom button is looking much better. It does not, however, act like a button yet. So its time to add some nice behavioral effects. In this case you dont edit a copy of the template because the template in the project now is already a copy. To add a behavior you combine a Property Trigger with a logic statement.

66. In the upper left, in the Triggers palette, click + Property Trigger.

67. Click and drag the bottom palette border to expose all of its menu options.


68. In the Activated when group, in the right dropdown menu, select IsMouseOver.

This statement could be expressed in English as something like Whenever the property of this button called MouseOver is True, make the main ellipse glow a little, and the button border to thicken.

69. 70. 71. 72.

Click into the menu just below and to the left, type True, and then press ENTER. In the Template palette click Ellipse. In the Brushes palette click the left color stop. Above it, click and drag the circle in the color palette, moving it in the general area of the upper left corner.

To create the highlight effect simply lighten the left-most gradient color.


73. In the Appearance palette change the StrokeThickness value to 8. The button should now look something like this:

74. Press F5 to preview the button. 75. Hover your mouse over it to test the rollover effect. It should look something like this screenshot, which shows both button states:

This is just a very simple example of rollover behavior. Expression Blend has many other effects from which to choose.


76. Close the Window application. 77. Click the Scope Up icon.

The last task is to create a button for each of the icons you exported.

78. If needed press CTRL and the (minus) key to zoom out from the workspace so that six copies of the button can fit in the white area. 79. Press CTRL+C and CTRL+V. 80. Click and drag the button (which is actually a new copy of the button) and place it next to the original. Make four more copies and arrange them in the workspace, like so:


81. 82. 83. 84. 85.

Click the Icons.xaml tab. Click a different icon and press CTRL+C. Click the Window1.xaml tab. Press CTRL+V. If you do not see the newly pasted icon, you may have to scroll the worskspace horizontally or vertically. 86. Click and drag the newly pasted icon over one of the buttons until the dashed box appears and the boxs message reads ALT-drag to place into [Button].

Make sure before releasing the mouse button and ALT key that the text above the segmented box contains the word [Button], not [Canvas].

87. While still holding the mouse button down, press ALT, release the mouse button,


and then release the ALT key. The icon should appear to snap into the button.

88. Click one of the corners of the blue border around the icon and drag inward to resize the icon so that it fits properly inside the button. 89. Repeat these steps to use all of the remaining icons, resulting in something like this:

90. 91. 92. 93.

Press F5 to preview the buttons. Hover your mouse over each button to see the rollover effect. Close the Window application. Close Expression Design and Expression Blend. If prompted to save changes click No.

You can again preview the buttons and see that they all share the same templated look and behavior. This completes the lab!


Expression Blend: Color Swatch

Have fun customizing a ListBox control to look like a color pantone!
In this sample you will experience the end-to-end customization and design of a color pantone. You will start using the default ListBox control available in WPF and will go through the process of creating a custom template to make that control come to life in color, linking it dynamically to external XML data.


Expression Blend exposes most of the user interface controls available in WPF. In this HOL you will experience the ListBox, a control that now thanks to WPF can get to be as exciting as never before. With Expression Blend you can fully customize your ListBox to look and act the way you want to. Its a pretty powerful environment as you will see when you draw a standard looking ListBox and end up with a gorgeous Color Pantone set of cards.

This HOL only covers a few of the many scenarios that are possible with these tools. If you wish to experiment more with Expression Blend we invite you to visit www.microsoft.com/expression to download a Trial version of any of the Expression products.

The concepts you will go through in this Expression Blend HOL are:

Expression Blend
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. Get your Project started Create a Custom User Control Drawing vector shapes with Expression Blend Adding a Data bound ListBox Customizing your ListBox Animate your color swatches Adding a highlight to your swatches


TO DO TASK 1: Create the Project

Launch Blend from the Start menu or use the shortcut on the Desktop called WPF Expression Blend 1) Launch Help | Welcome Screen

2) 3) 4)

Open the Color Swatch sample Press F5 to test the project a. Look at the ColorSwatch in this sample. This is the control well replicate in this tutorial Close the sample application


5) 6)

In Blend Launch File | New Project and create and Standard Application project and call it ColorSwatchControl In the Object and Timeline panel select the Window element


Add a radial background to the main Window a. In the Properties panel look under the Brushes properties and select Background b. Select the Gradient tab and click on the Radial gradient button

c. d.

Select each gradient stop and set a nice color for the background From the toolbar in the left select the Brush transform tool and use it to create a faux light effect


TASK 2: Create a User Control

1) Launch File | New | User Control and name it ColorSwatchControl.xaml

2) 3)

Resize the User Control element to the size of the color swatch a. In Properties panel under Layout properties set Width to 100 and Height to 350 Add a rectangle using the rectangle tool

4) 5) 6)

Right click on the rectangle and select Autosize | Fill Using the Brushes properties in the Properties panel add a Radial gradient to the rectangles fill Set the rectangles stroke to No Brush by clicking on the first tab of the Brushes properties



Apply rounded corners to the rectangle by using the Corner Radius adorners a. In Properties panel under Appearance properties the values for RadiusX and RadiusY should be around 22


Add an ellipse using the ellipse tool to the bottom right of the User Control a. Tip: press the CTRL key while creating the Ellipse to get a proportional sized object

9) In the Objects and Timelines panel select the Ellipse and then select the Rectangle 10) Launch the Object | Combine | Subtract command to combine the paths 11) Using Properties panel name the path PaletteChrome


Add a databound ListBox to the User Control

1) Using the Data panel in the Project panel click on the +XML button to add a new Xml data source

2) 3) 4)

Select Colors.xml from C:\MIX HOLs\Expression Labs\Expression Blend HOLs\LEXPR06 - ColorSwatch\ In the Data Panel expand the Data source tree hierarchy to select the color (Array) element Drag the color (Array) to the scene and select the option to create a new ListBox


Choose the default binding to ItemsSource



In the Databinding dialog: a. Change the container for children to be a Grid b. Uncheck the value: (String) item

7) 8)

Right click on the ListBox and select Autosize | Fill In the Properties panel Add Top and Bottom margins to the ListBox a. In the Layout properties click and drag the margin value (example use Top=30 and Bottom=50). 9) Clear the brush values for Background and BorderBrush a. In the Brushes properties click on the desired property (either Background or BorderBrush) b. Click on the first tab to set the property to have No Brush. 10) Right click on the ListBox in the timeline and select Edit other templates | Edit generated Items (ItemTemplate) | Edit Template 11) Using the Objects and Timeline panel select the Grid object

12) Resize the grid on the main canvas (by drag and drop of the resize handles) a. Resize horizontally until the grid is as wide as the User Control b. Resize vertically until you get around 40 pixel of height


13) Using the Objects and Timeline Panel select the TextBlock element 14) Make the TextBlock Horizontal alignment centered. a. In the Layout properties of the Properties panel Identify the HorizontalAlignment property b. Click on the button to center align

15) Double click on the Grid in the Objects and Timeline panel to make it the active insertion point. 16) Using the Rectangle tool draw a rectangle inside the grid under the TextBlock 17) Using the rectangle adorners. Make the rectangle have rounded edges.

18) In the Properties Panel select click on the Fill propertys marker and select Data binding


19) Click on the Explicit Data Context tab 20) In the Fields list expand the swatches data source and select value : (String) 21) Click Finish


22) 23) 24) 25) 26)

Launch File | Save under the Main menu Launch Project | Build Project under the Main menu Go back To Window1.xaml by clicking on the document tab Click on the Selection tool in the main toolbar Create an instance of your User Control in the scene a. Click on the Asset Library button in the toolbar b. Click on the Custom Controls tab c. Select the ColorSwatchControl control d. Draw it on the scene


TASK 3: Animate the Color Swatches 27) Click on the Selection tool from the main toolbar 28) Change the pivot point of the control a. Click on the center adorner of the User Control b. Drag it so that it aligns with Ellipse in the User Control

29) Copy and Paste three more copies of the User Control a. With the control selected hit CTRL+C once and CTRL+V three times


30) Click on the new timeline button in the Objects and Timeline panel

31) Click OK to the Create Storyboard Resource dialog

32) Select three of the controls and create a keyframe at time zero a. Multi-select the elements by holding the SHIFT key b. You can create a keyframe by clicking on the new keyframe button net to the timeline drop down

33) Type 0:00.2 in the time box next to the new keyframe button 34) Create another keyframe 35) From the Transform properties in the Properties panel set a rotation angle of 30 degrees

36) 37) 38) 39)

Select just two of the animated controls. Type 0:00.4 in the time box next to the new keyframe button Create another keyframe From the Transform properties in the Properties panel set a rotation angle of 65 degrees


40) 41) 42) 43)

Select just one of the animated controls. Type 0:00.6 in the time box next to the new keyframe button Create another keyframe From the Transform properties in the Properties panel set a rotation angle of 90 degrees

44) In the Objects and Timelines panel select the User Control that was not animated 45) Right click and launch Order | Bring To Front


46) Click the play button the timeline to test your animation within Blend 47) Test your application by pressing F5

TASK 4: Add a highlight path to the User Control 1) In Objects and Timeline panel select Default from the timeline drop down to exit animation mode

2) 3)

Select the [ColorSwatch] in the Objects and Timeline panel Right click and launch Edit Control



Click on the Scope up button the Object and Timeline panel to exit Template editing mode

5) 6) 7)

Double click on the LayoutRoot element in the Objects and Timeline panel to make it the active insertion point Select the Pen tool in the main toolbar Draw a path the rectangle a. Click on the position indicated as the first point in the picture below b. For point #3 click in the position indicated in the picture below then drag to get a curve c. After creating point #5 click again on top of point #1 to close the path

8) 9) 10) 11) 12)

Select the path called PaletteChrome and press CTRL+C to make a copy of it. Then press CTRL+V to paste it Holding the CTRL key select the highlight path (created in step 7 of this task) and launch Object | Combine | Intersect In the Brushes properties in Properties panel select the first gradient stop and set the Alpha value to be zero Select the second gradient point and drag left about a quarter of the way Set the Alpha value of the second gradient stop to be 75%


13) Launch File | Save 14) Launch Project | Build Project 15) Press F5 to test the application


Expression Blend: Branded Web Search Sample

Discover the power that custom user controls which provide to your rich experiences.
In this HOL you will create a pagination control as well as an animated loader using custom user controls. Custom user controls can include simple or sophisticated code behind created in Visual Studio and when integrated into the design environment of Expression Blend they can unleash infinite functional scenarios that thanks to the design features available in tool can also be styled and presented in different shapes, colors and visual metaphors.


WPF and Expression Blend offer a wide range of user interface controls or layout panel controls for you to use and customize. Even with this amount of controls available to you, some scenarios will require the creation of Custom User Controls which can inherit some of the functionality of a default control and add some of their own or that could also be built from scratch. A Developer would usually created these Custom User Controls in Visual Studio using C# or VB code and then would hand those controls out to the Designer who thanks to the Expression Blend Asset Library or other palettes can get full control of these controls, customize them, insert them into the artboard, define their layout and more. In this HOL you will experience one of those scenarios where Custom User Controls make the difference between pretty UI and pretty + powerful UI. This HOL only covers a few of the many scenarios that are possible with these tools. If you wish to experiment more with Expression Blend we invite you to visit www.microsoft.com/expression to download a Trial version of any of the Expression products.

The concepts you will go through in this Expression Blend HOL are:

Expression Blend
1. 2. 3. 4. Exploring the prototype web search application Creating the pagination control Creating and using an animated loader control Integrating the pagination control into your application


Task 1: Exploring the prototype web search application

Launch Expression Blend from the Start menu or use the shortcut on the Desktop called WPF Expression Blend 1. File menu | Open Project Projects: A project is a collection of files that get compiled into an executable (or a control library) when the project is built. In the case of this sample, we have two projects: LiveSearch.csproj, and LiveSearchModel.csproj. We have split the application we are creating into two projects to clearly separate the UI from the business logic. All of the UI resides in LiveSearch.csproj, and all of the business logic resides in LiveSearchModel.csproj. Such separation allows you to change the UI at a later point of time (for example, change to a web-interface), but reuse the business logic. Solutions: A solution is a collection of projects that can reference each other, such that necessary projects are automatically there are any changes. Any real world project will usually consist of more than one projects grouped into a solution


Navigate to C:\MIX HOLs\Expression Labs\Expression Blend HOLs\LEXPR07 LiveSearch\Task1\LiveSearch and double-click on LiveSearch.sln. This will open the solution inside Expression Blend.


Hit F5 (Project menu | Test Project) to run the application. This will launch the desktop executable for the application.


4. 5. 6.

In the search box, type Mix Microsoft and hit Enter You will be presented with two sets of search results: Web search results on the left, and Image search results on the right. Click on a number at the bottom of the application window to navigate to a different page of search results. This is the first control we will be creating inside Expression Blend.



Note that as you move from page to page, an asynchronous search happens where a request is sent to a web service. To give feedback to the user about the delay, we have included an animated loader control. This is the second control we will be creating inside Expression Blend.

8. 9.

Close the running application. In Expression Blend, right click on (Solution LiveSearch (2 projects)) in the Project panel and Expression Blend and Visual Studio share the same project and solution


hit Edit Externally.

formats, and hence a project created in Blend can be opened in Visual Studio and vice-versa. Expression Blend also tries to bridge the gap between designer and developer tools but adopting shortcuts that users of both sets of tools are comfortable with, thereby reducing the learning curve. For example, you can hide and show all the palettes in Blend by hitting the Tab key, which is a gesture that is commonly used in designer tools. You can test your application by hitting the F5 key which is the shortcut used in Visual Studio to test applications.

10. Microsoft Visual Studio is launched. Choose the second radio button (Load project normally) and uncheck the Always ask me for option at the bottom of the dialog. The solution is now available for browsing and editing inside Visual Studio.

11. Hit F5 (Debug menu | Start Debugging) to run the application inside Visual Studio. 12. Close the application launched from Visual Studio, and close Visual Studio.


13. Close Expression Blend.

Task 2: Creating the pagination control

1. 2. 3. Launch Expression Blend. File menu | Open project Navigate to C:\MIX HOLs\Expression Labs\Expression Blend HOLs\LEXPR07 LiveSearch\Task2\LiveSearch and double click on LiveSearch.sln. This will open the solution inside Expression Blend for browsing and working with it. Hit F5 to run the application. This will launch the desktop executable for the application. In the search box, type Mix Microsoft and hit enter. You will be presented with two sets of search results: Web search results on the left, and Image search results on the right. However, this time there is no pagination control that will let you browse the result sets. Let us try to create and add such a control. Close the running application. File menu | New Item

4. 5. 6.

7. 8.


Select UserControl and rename it to PagingControlTest.xaml. Hit OK

UserControls: UserControls let you combine visuals with code-behind that can easily access and manipulate those visuals. You can embed a UserControl into another UserControl, or into your application Window. You can also share the same UserControl across applications by creating a library of such controls that can be then referenced.

Templates v/s UserControls: A Template is used to specify or customize the look of a control. Use a Template when you quickly want to change the visual aspects of a control. Use a UserControl if you want to add new functionality of extend the functionality of a control, and at the same time define the visuals for that control. 10. Choose the Selection tool. Click on the top of the grid panel in the blue highlighted area to add a column guide. Repeat 2 more times to create a total of 4 columns. Grid: A Grid panel is the most flexible layout control available in Expression Blend. A Grid panel offers a table-like layout metaphor with multiple rows and columns, and allows you to specify constraints on how


available size is distributed between the columns. On a child element of the Grid panel, you can specify the anchoring to a particular row or column, and other constraints like margins and sizes. When you create a new UserControl in Blend, we automatically add a Grid panel as the child of the UserControl so you could add multiple elements as the children of that Grid control and customize their layout behavior. You can replace the Grid panel with another panel of your choice (Canvas, Wrap, Stack, etc.) right click on a panel and use the Change Layout Type menu to change to a different panel.

11. Press the control key and select the 4 columns by clicking as shown below.


12. Switch to the Properties tab. For the Width property, select Pixel in the drop down list. For the Width property, enter 29. This will create 4 columns that are 29 pixels wide.

13. Select UserControl in the Object view.

The Property panel in Expression Blend exposes all the properties that you can set on an element. Windows Presentation Foundation exposes a number of properties, which while a powerful feature, can be a bit cumbersome to find. Blend alleviates this problem by allowing a user to search for a property in the Property panel, and dynamically filters that list of properties that mach the search criteria.

14. In the Property panels Layout properties, set the Height of the UserControl to 20.


15. In the Property panels Layout properties, set the Width of the UserControl to Auto by clicking the button shown in the figure.

16. Zoom into element we just changed the bounds on by using the Zoom tool. back to Selection tool after you are done.

. Switch

17. Select the Button tool. Right click on the tool (as shown below) to get the options on various elements you can create using this tool.


18. Draw a Button into each of the 4 columns.

19. Multi-select all 4 buttons in the Object view of the Timeline pane using the Shift key. 20. In the Timeline Object view, Right click | Auto Size | Fill. This will result in each button taking up all available space in the column and row the Button is contained within.

21. Deselect all the buttons. Edit menu | Select None. 22. Let us customize the look of one of these buttons. In a paging control, the button in the first column is supposed to be the Initial Page button. 23. Right click on this Button | Edit Control Parts (Template) | Create Empty.

Resource management in Expression Blend: Resource management lets you create and reuse resources across your application, and between applications. Practically anything can be a resource in your application brushes, colors, margins for layout, styles and templates, etc. The Resource pane in Expression Blend supports a variety of operations move resources across files or change the scope of their usage, rename


and delete resource, edit them, and apply them by simply dragging them onto an element. Resource Dictionaries are XAML files that solely contain resources, and references to other Resource Dictionaries. They allow for sharing of resources across projects and applications, as well as an easy way to add theme support to your applications. Border Control: A layout control that lets you add a single child element. A Border control also lets you specify a CornerRadius in such a way that each corner of the control can have a different Radius.

24. Hit OK in the Create Resource dialog presented.

25. Select Grid from the Layout tool, and double click on tool to insert a Grid.


26. Double click on the Grid in the Object view to make it the insertion point (active element). You will see the element being highlighted by a yellow adorner on the design surface as well as in the Object view in the Timeline. 27. Right click on the Layout tool to get a popup. In the popup, select Border to activate the Border tool. Double click on the Border tool to create a Border element inside the Grid.

28. In the Property panels Brush properties, select the Background property, select Solid Color brush, and give a background color for example, Red.


29. In the Property panel, find the Appearance properties, and for the CornerRadius property, enter a value of 3,0,0,3. This will result in the top-left and bottom-left corners of the Border control being rounded. 30. Select the Grid element in the Object view. 31. Select the Pen tool and draw a path that resembles backwards navigation by clicking on the artboard inside bounds of the control. done with the Path editing operation. Switch back to the Selection tool after being


32. Exit the template editing mode by hitting the Scope up button in the Object view to return to editing the paging control. This finishes styling one of the buttons (albeit poorly, but good enough for the purpose of this HOL).

33. For the remaining buttons, let us apply some Styles that we have pre-created. Switch to the Resource pane and expand PageControlStyles.xaml. PageControlStyles.xaml is a XAML file that contains a number of pre-created styles.


34. Drag and drop PagePreviousButtonStyle from the Resource pane into the button in the second column. For the popup that is presented, select Style.

35. Drag and drop PageNextButtonStyle from the Resource pane into the button in the third column. For the popup that is presented, select Style. 36. Drag and drop PageLastButtonStyle from the Resource pane into the button in the fourth column. For the popup that is presented, select Style. 37. Let us now attach some behaviors to bring the paging control to life. Right click on (Solution LiveSearch (2 projects)) in the Project panel and choose Edit externally. This will open the solution in Visual Studio for editing. As before, choose the second radio button (Load project normally) and uncheck the Always ask me for option at the bottom of the dialog. The solution is now available for browsing and editing inside Visual Studio. 38. Switch back to Expression Blend. Double click on PagingControlTestCode.cs. This will result in the code file being opened inside Visual Studio for editing. Commands: Commanding is an input mechanism in Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) which provides input handling at a more semantic level than device input. Examples of commands are the Copy, Cut, Paste operations found on many applications.


39. The custom control we are creating exposes a number of properties that you would normally expect in such a control, and they are defined in the code file we are viewing: a. TotalResults: The total results that are to be displayed and paged. b. ResultsPerPage: The number of results to display in a page. c. CurrentPage: The index of the page currently being displayed, etc. The code file also exposes few commands that we will use shortly. A Command is also a property exposed by a control, that you can then data bind to your UI. The benefit of using commands is that you can clearly separate UI from logic giving maximum flexibility to a design tool and a designer creating the UI. In our case, we have exposed a number of commands, for example. a. FirstPageCommand: The command to move to the first page in the result set. When this command is fired by the UI, among other things, the CurrentPage property of this custom control is set to a value of 1 if the TotalResults property has a positive value. b. PreviousPageCommand: The command to move to the previous page in the result set. When this command is fired by the UI, among other things, the CurrentPage property is decremented by 1, or set to a minimum value of 1. 40. Switch back to Expression Blend. We will now data bind one of the buttons to its corresponding Command such that whenever the button is clicked, the Command is invoked. rd 41. Select the button in the 3 column. This is the button that corresponds to the gesture of moving to the next page when browsing a result set. 42. In the Property panel, search for the property Command. 43. Click on the small button at the extreme right of the property, and choose Data Binding Data binding in Expression Blend: Expression Blend has rich support for binding to a variety of data sources: XML files, any arbitrary data object, or any element in the scene. The Data pane in Blend provides you with support to drag-n-drop data binding data sources to an element in the scene, or to create new elements that will display the data.


XML Data Source: A local or remote XML file that can supply your application with data in XML format. You can use an XML file that you have added to your project, or you can set the data source to the URL of an XML file on a Web site. Common Language Runtime (CLR) Object Data Source: An object that contains public properties and collections to which you can bind your target properties. Element binding: Binding to any arbitrary property of any element in the scene. The simplest example would be a slider bar control that is bound to the width of a rectangle. Moving the slider bar would scale the rectangle larger and smaller.

44. In the data binding dialog, choose the second tab Element Property since we are trying to bind to a property exposed by this control. 45. In the tree on the left, choose UserControl. In the tree on the right which lists all the matching properties on the custom control we are creating, choose the NextPageCommand property and click Finish.


46. We are done with attaching the page next behavior. We will skip attaching the remaining behaviors for this lab, as well as creating the list of pages, but we have created a custom control that can be used across applications. Close PagingControlTest.xaml by clicking on the close button corresponding to the document. Click Yes to save your changes. Test the application by pressing F5 (Project | Test Project). The application works, but still does not support the paging behavior since we have not integrated the control we just created. Close the running application.

Task 3: Integrating the pagination control into your application

1. 2. Open SearchResultsControl.xaml from the Project pane. Open the Library tool and switch to the Custom Controls tab.



Select PagingControlTest in the list.


Double click on the control (as shown in the figure below) to insert PagingControlTest.


If the Property panel has the search field filled with a value, clear the value.


In the Property panel under Layout, change the HorizontalAlignment and VerticalAlignment


properties to Center. This ensures that the control remains center aligned no matter how tall and wide the parent control is.

7. 8.

For the Row property in Layout, change the value to 1. This ensures that the PagingControlTest is located in the bottom row of a Grid with two rows. Test your application by pressing F5 (Project | Test Project). Perform a search (say Mix Microsoft). You will notice that the Paging control is now visible, but non-functional since we have not yet tied it to the data model that is driving the application. Close the running application. We will now edit the XAML to connect the paging control to live data. Right click on the PagingControlTest in Object view | View XAML.



10. Delete the selected line. Uncomment the line below the selected line, i.e. <!--<LiveSearch:PagingControlTest HorizontalAlignment="Center" VerticalAlignment="Center" Grid.Row="1" TotalResults="{Binding Path=TotalResults}" CurrentPage="{Binding Path=CurrentPage, Mode=TwoWay}" ResultsPerPage="{Binding Path=ResultsPerPage}" PageCount="{Binding Path=PageCount}" />--> Becomes <LiveSearch:PagingControlTest HorizontalAlignment="Center" VerticalAlignment="Center" Grid.Row="1" TotalResults="{Binding Path=TotalResults}" CurrentPage="{Binding Path=CurrentPage, Mode=TwoWay}" ResultsPerPage="{Binding Path=ResultsPerPage}" PageCount="{Binding Path=PageCount}" /> 11. Switch back to the design view as shown below.


Test your application by hitting F5. Perform a search (say Mix Microsoft), and click on the next page button. Voila! The control you just created is now talking to, and browsing a live data set. The other buttons dont work since we never connected them to their behaviors in a previous step.

Task 4: Creating and using an animated loader control

1. As the last part of this lab, we will create and use an animated loader control. We will then use this control in SearchResultsControl.xaml so that whenever an asynchronous query is issued to the search web service, user gets feedback for the delay. In the Project panel, double click on Searching.xaml. This is a UserControl that has some precreated graphics and text. Select the path element in the timeline.

2. 3.



Click the + button in the Object view of the Timeline panel to create a new animation. Click OK on the dialog presented to you (which you can use to name your animations meaningfully). We will create an animation that infinitely animates the path in 360 degree rotations.


Move the play-head in the timeline to 0.5 seconds.

6. 7.

Expand the Transform category in the Property panel and switch to the Rotation tab. Enter 360 for the Angle property.


8. 9.

To loop the animation infinitely, expand to the Angle property in the Object view of the Timeline panel. Right click on the property in the timeline tree and choose Edit Repeat Count.

10. Click the Set to forever button to loop the animation infinitely and click OK.

11. Test the animation by clicking the Play button in the timeline. Note that the path rotates by 360 degrees once and then stops.


12. Switch out of the animation mode by selecting Default in the Timeline pane.

13. We will now use this control. Open SearchResultsControl.xaml in the Project panel by doubleclicking. 14. Select the Grid tool in the tool box.

15. Double click on the Grid tool to insert a Grid control. 16. Right click on the Grid control that we just inserted in the timeline | Auto Size | Fill 17. Rename the Grid control we just inserted to SearchingControlHost


18. Switch to the listing of all events available for this control in the Property panel. 19. For the DataContextChangedEvent, double click inside the text box next to it. This will switch your focus into Visual Studio. You will notice that an event handler is automatically created for you.

Event handling inside Blend: Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) controls expose a very rich set of events that users of the controls can respond to in their applications. While WPF and Blend provides you with the ability of adding no-code interactivity (for example, starting an animation when a button is clicked), you can also use event handling in the traditional way of calling a method upon the occurrence of the event. In Blend, when you add an event handler, if Microsoft Visual Studio is installed on your machine, the appropriate project / solution is opened inside VS and the event handler added to the right code-behind file. This provides for a great experience leveraging the strengths of both tools the rich design surface available inside Blend, and the powerful code and debugging features of VS. If you dont have VS, you can use the alternative clipboard experience that will copy the event handler code onto your clipboard which can then be pasted into the right code-behind file, saving you the trouble of remembering and generating the code by hand.

20. Copy the code indicated in the file and paste over the event handler that Blend generated for you, i.e. Replace
private void SearchingControlHost_DataContextChanged(object sender, DependencyPropertyChangedEventArgs e) { }

private void SearchingControlHost_DataContextChanged(object sender, DependencyPropertyChangedEventArgs e) { if (searchResultView != null) { searchResultView.PropertyChanged -= searchResultView_PropertyChanged; } searchResultView = e.NewValue as SearchResultView; if (searchResultView != null) { searchResultView.PropertyChanged += new System.ComponentModel.PropertyChangedEventHandler(searchResultView_PropertyChanged); } } private void searchResultView_PropertyChanged(object sender,


System.ComponentModel.PropertyChangedEventArgs e) { if (e.PropertyName == "IsSearching") { if (searchResultView.IsSearching) { SearchingControlHost.Children.Add(new Searching()); } else { SearchingControlHost.Children.Clear(); } } }

Test your application by pressing F5 (Debug -> Start Debugging) inside Visual Studio. You will now see the use of the control you just created as you browse from one page to the next in your search results. Congratulations! You are now done with this Hand-On-Lab. Close the running application, Visual Studio, and Expression Blend. We hope this session helped you understand some of the unique and powerful features of Expression Blend, and its promise in aiding designers to work closely with developers on the same project to help deliver tomorrows rich Windows client experiences.


Expression Blend: RecipeBox

Build custom designed interactive elements for a WPF based application targeted at home users.
In this sample application you will experience the possibilities available in Expression Blend to quickly customize controls and incorporate basic C# code to create a Windows application with a user interface that engages with home users who wish to keep their recipes in order.


With Expression Blend and WPF, designers can collaborate with developers to create compelling experiences for the Windows desktop. In this design driven prototype, you the designer will customize the look and feel of some of the controls in this home user facing application called Recipe Box.

This HOL only covers a few of the many scenarios that are possible with these tools. If you wish to experiment more with Expression Media and Expression Web we invite you to visit www.microsoft.com/expression to download a Trial version of any of the Expression products.

The concepts you will go through in this Expression Blend HOL are:

Expression Blend
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Understanding the RecipeBox project Creating the Recipe viewer using Layout panels, Databinding and UI controls Creating an Animated Transition in Response to User Input using Timelines and Triggers Customizing a ListBox control Enabling a Search functionality using Databinding and a Value Converter (provided by a Developer)


Getting Started: Understanding the RecipeBox Project

Run Expression Blend from the Start menu or use the shortcut on the Desktop called WPF Expression Blend 1. Open the RecipeBox.sln project from C:\MIX HOLs\Expression Labs\Expression Blend HOLs\LEXPR05 - RecipeBox\Getting Started\RecipeBox\RecipeBox.sln Launch Project |Test Solution to run the current version of the Recipe Box

RecipeBox is an application written in C# which loads a set of recipes from an XML file and displays them using the Windows Presentation Foundation. WPF controls can be given customized appearances using a feature known as Control Styling. Those styled controls still retain the default windows behavior, which allows you to (e.g.) select items in this list by using the arrow keys. RecipeBox attaches the loaded data to the WPF controls using a technique known as Data Binding. In this lab we will explore both Control Styling and Data Binding which will allow you to extend this application to view recipes and search for recipes. In addition, you will create animated transitions and cause them to occur in response to user events. Finally, well take a look at some of the vector drawing tools in Expression Blend. In Task 1, you will design a stylized display for each recipe, similar to the one which shows currently as you select Edit from the running application. In Task 2, youll cause that display UI to appear and disappear as the user interacts with the application. In Task 3, youll reskin the WPF ScrollBar so that it looks more like our themed app. In Task 4, you will add search functionality to the app. Well walk through each of these tasks in great detail to give you a sample of how you would accomplish this in your own projects. The steps shown here will give you a complete and thorough view of how Expression Blend can help you build a stylized interactive application. If you wish to skip ahead to a particular task, you can open the project contained within the folder for that task. To skip to Task 3, for example, open C:\MIX HOLs\Expression Labs\Expression Blend HOLs\LEXPR05 - RecipeBox \Task 3\RecipeBox\RecipeBox.sln.



Try out the application in its current form. Notice that it lists a number of recipes and allows you to select them. a. Try selecting different recipes from the list using the mouse and/or keyboard b. Click Edit in the running application to see an editable list of the ingredients. c. In the next few tasks, you will be adding similar functionality to the View button, which currently does nothing. d. Try to change a recipe using Edit, and notice that if you close and reopen the application, your changes are still there.


4. 5. 6.

Close the running RecipeBox application Ensure the file MainWindow.xaml is open in Expression Blend. In the Project panel, look for the Data panel which shows you the structure of the data sources in this application. Expand the DataModel node to see the functionality provided by the C# application model. a. SearchFilter (String) will be used later to add search functionality to the user interface. b. SelectedRecipe (Recipe) will be used in the next section to display, add or edit a particular recipe

Lets begin by trying out the application and exploring it in Expression Blend.


The Data panel in Expression Blend allows you to add, remove, and browse the structure of data sources. You can also create or attach data to UI by dragging and dropping data fields onto the design surface. This project already contains a data source which provides the functionality of loading and saving recipes, and filtering based on a search string. You can explore the structure of that data source, or if you are familiar with Visual Studio and C# you can open this project and explore the code directly if youre curious as to how they are implemented. This data source is just a C# class which exposes the set of properties shown here in the Data panel. In order to create UI in Expression Blend based on this data source, theres no need to do anything more than dragging and dropping on to the design surface. By simplifying the process of creating UI from a data source, Expression Blend facilitates a workflow involving designers and developers.


From the Objects view within the Interaction panel, expand MainUIGrid and select RecipeListBox.

In Expression Blend, the Objects view provides an easy way to access the elements contained in the design surface. Within the Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), some elements may not have a visual representation. An example of this is a layout container whose primary purpose is to arrange other elements properly. Because of this, you may find it more convenient to select certain elements using the Objects view rather than the Selection tool. Elements composite in the order in which they are listed in the Objects view. If you want to move one element behind another, use the Send Backward or Send to Back command. You will also see this element move up and down in the Objects view. The Objects view also allows you to rename, hide, lock and reorder elements via drag-


drop. When you are animating elements in Expression Blend, you will use the attached Timeline.

The Properties panel in Expression Blend provides a powerful, centralized location where you can change the appearance and behavior of elements within the design surface. Many aspects of element appearance and behavior are indicated by attributes which are adjustable here. In addition to specifying simple values, you can also assign and create resources here, which are reusable values that can apply to many elements. You can use system resources which allow you to pick up colors and sizes from the current theme so that your application looks more like the Windows standard. Of course, many controls already do this by default for you. 9. Make the Properties panel visible. a. Notice that the ItemsSource property value is highlighted with an orange border. This indicates that a binding is being used to provide the value for this property. b. Click on the small orange dot to the right of ItemsSource value to bring up the Property menu, and select Data Binding The Create Data Binding dialog allows you to specify and inspect a number of options available while binding. Here, the Recipe data source implements a property called Recipes which is a list of Recipes. The custom styled ListBox in the center of the design surface gets its items from this list. As the list of Recipes within the data source changes (for example, as you click the New button within the application) the ListBox control will update to show the new item automatically due to this binding. You can attach property values to data by a feature known as data binding. Most properties can be driven from your data source, so that as the value of the data source changes, your UI updates automatically. You can even bind one property to another element within the design surface.


Notice that the Recipes (Array) value is highlighted and that RecipeBook.Recipes is shown in the custom path entry field.

Well be exploring this in more detail over the course of this lab.



These indicate that the RecipeListBox is data bound to a Recipes property on the data model. Click Cancel to return.

Task 1: Creating the Recipe Viewer

1. Find the MainUIGrid element in the timeline and double click to set the insertion point.

If you double-click an element within the Objects view, that element will become the insertion point. Newly added elements using any of the creation tools will be placed within the insertion point. The insertion point in Expression Blend indicates where newly created elements will go by default. This can cause interesting effects, for example, if you place elements within a StackPanel, they will, by default, lay themselves out one after another for you.


Using the Layout tool, select Grid and double click to insert a new Grid into MainUIGrid.


This can also provide a way for you to organize your project. If a new Grid element is placed, which takes up most of the design surface, it is very similar to the concept of a Layer found in, e.g. Expression Design. Well now create a new Grid called RecipeViewer which will hold the UI we create in this task. Well set it up to look like a sheet of paper.

You can also use the delayed click gesture to rename elements in the Objects view, or use the Properties panel. a. Rename this grid RecipeViewer by using the element context menu brought up by right clicking in the Timeline panel


From the Properties panel, under Brushes select Background. Choose a resource by clicking on the far right tab for Brush Resources.

The Brushes category in the Properties panel provides you with a way to customize the visual appearance of elements. You can specify a solid color, linear and radial gradients, or even an image or a tiling brush using the controls found here. The Brushes category also provides quick access to those Brush resources which are accessible from a given element. This PaperSheetImage resource was imported from Expression Design.


4. 5.

Browse to the PaperSheetImage resource and select it Resize the Grid using the resize handles so that the Grid takes up most of the central area. By dragging the resize handles you can resize, rotate, skew or even move the relative center of an element. With the Selection tool active, you can drag the element around in the design surface. To help you be more precise, there are a number of grids and guides available at the bottom of the design surface, just to the right of the Zoom control:

Whether you choose to use these guides throughout the lab is your preference, but you might like to try out Snapping to snaplines as shown above.


Double click the RecipeViewer element in the Objects view to set the insertion point.

We will be inserting several new elements, and would like them to all be logically grouped within our RecipeViewer grid.

7. 8.

From the Data panel, browse to SelectedRecipe row and expand it. Drag and drop the Name entry near the top of the RecipeViewer grid. a. Choose Select a control to represent this data field, choose a Label and click OK to accept defaults.

By dragging and dropping rows from the Data panel, we can quickly create new elements. Notice that where these elements go is determined by the current insertion point. After you drop an entry from the Data pane, a context menu will appear which gives you a number of options on how to proceed. Here we will be creating new UI, however if you prefer, you can create UI first using the creation tools. Then you can drag-drop to bind this element to the data entry.


The default sizing for elements created from the Data panel is large to make sure they are visible, even if no data is attached to them at design time. Our data source has some additional logic to provide data at design time as well. b. Notice that the Label has taken its value from the first recipes name.


Adjust the font and size properties from the Text portion of the Properties panel and reposition the element

Now is your chance to be creative and use the resize handles and Properties panel to customize an element. Using the picture as a guide, find a font you like and position the element as shown.


You could also set the font to a Resource: this sample provides you two resources which map to the fonts already in use elsewhere.


From the Layout tool, select StackPanel and draw a StackPanel taking up all vertical space beneath the recipe Title, using the right half of the horizontal space.

Well now want to display several fields, one after the other, to indicate the Ingredients and Steps and Notes for each recipe. By using a StackPanel layout container, these elements will automatically lay themselves out like a list.

10. Double click this StackPanel in the Objects view to set the insertion point 11. From the Text tool, select Label and double click to create a Label. a. Type Ingredients for the text Well mix our hardcoded titles with fields populated from the data source. For titles, a


Label is an appropriate element to use, though you can also use a TextBlock. Notice that you automatically begin editing the text when this element is created. Press ESC to indicate that you are finished, or simply select another element.

12. From the Data panel, drag and drop the Ingredients (Array) onto the design surface over the StackPanel (just below the Ingredients text).

For the list of ingredients, well use an ItemsControl. The ItemsControl is similar to a less functional ListBox. It does not allow you to select items within it, nor does it provide any individual styling for each item. ItemsControl simply lists each item, and thats what we want here.


Choose to Select a control to represent this data field, choose ItemsControl and accept the defaults here.


Reposition the list of ingredients by choosing Auto Size | Both from the


element context menu. Auto Size provides a convenient shortcut to cause items to take up all available space or size to content. In this case, the ItemsControl will size to content vertically and take all available space horizontally.


Indent this list slightly by setting the Left Margin to 20 using the Properties panel.

13. Double click the Text tool to create a new Label a. Type Steps for the text Now well create the heading for the second data list, Steps.


From the Data pane, drag and drop the Steps (Array) onto the design surface over the StackPanel just below the Steps Label. a. Choose to Select a control to represent this data field, choose ItemsControl and accept the defaults here. b. Reposition the list of steps by choosing Auto Size | Both from the element context menu. c. Indent this list slightly by using the left resize adorner

Once again well use an ItemsControl to show the list of steps.



Bring up the element context menu on this StackPanel and choose Group Into | ScrollViewer.

Notice that we are running out of space for our viewer! In the running application, this will happen as well. We will solve this problem now, but at design time you can always resize the element temporarily to allow you to continue to work. Well create an element called a ScrollViewer, which displays a single piece of content, but allows it to scroll. By default it is configured to help scroll vertically which is just what we want. By selecting Group Into | ScrollViewer, in one action you can add a ScrollViewer to your project and configure it to scroll a piece of content. In this case well scroll the list on the right.


Select StackPanel from the Objects view. a. Bring up the element context menu and choose Auto Size | Both


Find this StackPanel in the Objects view and double click to set the insertion point.



Double click the Text tool to create a new Label a. Type Notes for the text

Now that our space issues have been solved, we can continue designing the recipe viewer. If you dont have enough space at design time, you can always temporarily resize the ScrollViewer to be larger. At runtime, it will be able to scroll its content so this wont be an issue.


From the Data pane, drag and drop the Notes : (String) entry onto the design surface just below the Notes text. a. Choose to Select a control to represent this data field, and choose Label and accept the defaults here.

Notes is not a list like the other data were displaying, its a single string. Well use a Label to display it as well.

b. c. 20.

Reposition the notes by choosing Auto Size | Both from the element context menu. Indent this Label slightly by using the left resize adorner

Double click the RecipeViewer control to set the insertion point



Using the Control tool, select Button and create a Button by double clicking on the tool itself


Move this Button to the bottom center of the UI area using the Selection tool

Well now add an OK button so users can indicate that they are finished viewing a particular recipe. The Control tool provides a list of commonly used controls. If you want a more extensive list, you can try the Asset library which is just below it.


Rename this button ViewRecipeFinished



Using the element context menu, choose Edit Text a. Change the text to OK, well set this button up to return us to the list from our temporary view.

By giving this Button and other elements appropriate names, well be able to find them later when we need to attach interactivity or animations to them. You can also access named elements from the code file for MainWindow. 25. Run Project | Test Application to see your progress so far a. The current list of ingredients displays on top of all other controls. In Task 2, we will set this up to move back and forth as the view and OK buttons are clicked. b. The ScrollViewer and other controls have the Windows default look, while wed like them to match our application theme. In Task 3 well customize the ScrollBars to match our application theme.

You can always save your project and test it using Project | Test Application, to see how it works with your changes so far. Nows a good time to review the progress we have made. In the screenshot, youll see weve also changed the fonts to match the scheme elsewhere in the app. Try to accomplish this on your own, or go on to the next task.


Task 2 will show you how to animate this viewer into view whenever the user clicks the view button. In Task 3 youll customize the appearance of the ScrollBar to show you how WPF controls can be styled while retaining their default behavior. Finally in Task 4, youll add search to this project, so the user can filter the list of recipes to the ones they are interested in.

Task 2: Creating an Animated Transition in Response to User Input

1. Select RecipeViewer from the Objects view a. Change the Visibility of this element to Collapsed using the Properties panel. b. Set the Opacity to 0%

In Expression Blend, there are a number of features which allow you to create keyframed animations. These animations can act as transitions between states in your applications, or provide a richer way to respond to user input. Specifying an animation and specifying how it is caused are done as two separate steps in Expression Blend. You can reuse animations so they happen in response to multiple events, or you can combine animation with the Control Styling features of the next section to create reusable, animating controls. Well create some animations which show and hide this new recipe viewer weve created. To begin with, lets hide the recipe viewer in the non-animated state. That way, when we start the application, it will not be visible. There are two common properties which affect whether you can see the element when the application is launched: Opacity and Visibility. Opacity can be adjusted between 0 and 100% so that the element (and all child elements) become somewhere between transparent and fully opaque.


Click on the + in the first row of the Objects and Timeline panel to create a new Timeline



Name this new timeline ShowRecipeViewer in the dialog.

The Visibility property has three values, Visibile, Hidden, and Collapsed. When an element is Collapsed, not only does it not appear, but it does not take up any space. Hidden elements take up space. This is useful if you have a layout container which holds many elements and would like to hide some of them. Lets create a new Timeline which will animate this viewer to be visible again.


By default you are now setting keyframes for time 0. a. Using the Properties panel, set the Visibility to Visible

Notice that the Objects and Timeline panel has expanded. You can also switch workspaces using F6/F7 or the Window menu. You can see the keyframe schedule area adjacent to the Objects view. Any new keyframes we create will be shown here. The model for editing animations in Expression Blend is that you first adjust the current time value to a particular time, and then adjust properties in record mode until your design surface looks how you want it to at that time. Those properties will leave keyframes which allow this appearance to be duplicated in the running application. If you are happy with the appearance of your object, but did not need to adjust properties to get there, you can click the Record Keyframe button. Whenever you change properties, keyframes will be automatically recorded for you so you wont need to do this. We want to animate the opacity, but it should be 0% at this point and it already is. By clicking Record Keyframe, we lock this value in even though we dont need to change it.


Click the Record Keyframe Button which will allow us to change Opacity as well.


Change the time to 1s by dragging the time indicator to the 1, or typing in 0:01.000 in the playhead area.

You can click and drag the orange time indicator to different times to adjust the current time. Well set it to 1 second and set the object up to reappear at that time.


Set Opacity to 100%



Press Play to preview this animation. You should see the viewer fade in.

The WPF animation system has smoothly interpolated between the two keyframe values for us. You should feel free to play around with this animation, and go on when you have a fade in animation you are happy with. You can always click the x in the first row of Objects and Timeline to delete this Timeline and start over. You can also undo any animation changes you make.

Now, well create an animation which hides the Recipe Viewer. 6. Select None using Edit | Select None or clicking on the edge of the design surface using the Selection tool. Click on the + in the first row of the Objects and Timeline panel to create a new Timeline


a. 8.

Name this new timeline HideRecipeViewer

Select RecipeViewer using the Objects view


By default you are now setting keyframes for time 0. a. Set the Visibility to Visible b. Set the Opacity to 100%

At the start of the animation, well force RecipeViewer to be visible.


Change the time to 1s by dragging the time indicator to the 1, or typing in 0:01.000 in the playhead area. a. Set Opacity to 0% Press Play to preview the animation. You should see the viewer fade out.

At the end of the animation, well hide it again.




Using the Timeline Selector drop down, change back to Default which disables creating animations.

To stop animating and editing timelines, switch back to Default.


In the Triggers panel, find Window.Loaded and select it. a. Press - Trigger to remove this trigger.

Well now set these timelines up to happen in response to certain events. You might have noticed, if you tested the application as you were going along, that the animations you created happened when the application launched. By default, when a timeline is created as above, Expression Blend sets this up to start at launch. Since we want these to happen in response to specific events well remove this behavior. Lets create a new Event Trigger which will cause the Show timeline to start in response to the user clicking on the View button in the menu.

14. 15.

In the Triggers panel, click on + Event Using the Objects view select ViewRecipeButton

a. b.

In the trigger editor change Window to ViewRecipeButton Change Loaded to Click


Click on the + to the right of this trigger to add a new action a. Set this to ShowRecipeViewer.Begin by using the drop down editors. After finishing this step, we have:


When ViewRecipeButton.Click is raised, ShowRecipeViewer.Begin. This shorthand describes the effect we are trying to achieve.

17. 18.

In the Triggers panel, click on + Event Using Objects and Timeline select ViewRecipeFinished a. In the trigger editor change Window to ViewRecipeButton b. Change Loaded to Click

Lets add one more Event Trigger so that when the user clicks the OK button at the bottom of the viewer, the viewer hides again.


Click on the + to the right of this trigger to add a new action a. Set this to HideRecipeViewer.Begin by using the drop down editors. We now have When ViewRecipeFinish.Click is raised, HideRecipeViewer.Begin This shorthand describes the effect we are trying to achieve.


Test your project, now the Recipe view should animate in when the View button is clicked, and back out again when the OK button is clicked. You now have a working recipe viewer, which should appear in response to the View button being clicked. When done viewing, you should be able to click OK and dismiss the viewer. This should give you an idea of how simple interactivity can be accomplished using Expression Blend.


Task 3: Customizing a Control

1. Notice that the file Simple Styles.xaml is contained within the project.

In Windows Presentation Foundation, the behavior of a Control is specified separately


from its appearance. This means that designers can change the appearance of standard controls and retain the functionality that Windows provides. To give you an idea of the power of this system, many controls within Expression Blend are the WPF standard controls with customized styles. Within Expression Blend, its easy to lightly customize the appearance of a control as well see below. To do detailed work here, you will also need an understanding of how each control is built and to understand the platform features they leverage. Expression Blend makes this process possible as well, and to help simplify the process well make use of Simple Styles. Simple Styles is a library of control styles which you can use in your own projects. It serves as a starting point for customizing controls; think of it as a blank canvas for each control. Simple Styles is always available within Expression Blend to be added to any project from the Asset library. It has already been added to this project, so lets make use of it. 3. Select [ScrollViewer] and decrease its height until the vertical ScrollBar shows as enabled a. Depending upon the size of your text, the vertical scrollbar might already be enabled. Because of the previous task, our RecipeViewer is hidden by default. Lets make it visible again.


Select RecipeViewer using the Objects view a. Set Visibility to Visible and Opacity to 100%

We now want to customize this ScrollBar. Well use a feature of Expression Blend called in place template editing which means well customize this scrollbar as it appears currently in the design surface. In order to make sure were customizing the ScrollBar properly, lets make sure it is enabled and all parts are visible.


Select [ScrollViewer] and from the element context menu, choose Edit Control


Parts (Template). Select Edit a copy from the submenu. a. Choose the default settings here

Well begin by customizing the ScrollViewer to point at our simple styles for its ScrollBar. When you choose Edit Template, you scope yourself within the template for the ScrollViewer control. Just like the Objects shown within the main design surface, controls may be composed of multiple objects. Those objects are contained within the Template for a control, and determine how it appears and to some degree how it behaves. These elements are attached to the control through a special kind of binding known as Template Binding. When properties on the control change, the template bound elements within the template will change as well, and vice versa. In this case the ScrollViewer is composed of a Grid containing two ScrollBars and a ContentPresenter. The ContentPresenter is a special element which displays the Content of the ScrollViewer onscreen. Template Binding is how the ScrollBars within the template affect scrolling within the parent ScrollViewer. You can also see that their name begins with PART_. This indicates these are Control Parts, and in general should not be renamed. ScrollViewer will not function properly without PART_ScrollContentPresenter, PART_VerticalScrollBar, and PART_HorizontalScrollBar. They must be the correct type of element and named properly.


Select PART_VerticalScrollBar from the Objects and Timeline menu


From the element context menu, chose Edit Control Parts (Template) | Apply Resource | SimpleScrollBar

Lets first change the Vertical ScrollBar to use Simple Styles. Since they are already part of the project we can apply the Simple Style for ScrollBar using the element context menu.



From the element context menu, chose Edit Control Parts (Template) | Edit a Copy and choose the defaults. Using the Zoom tool, zoom in on the ScrollBar Now lets customize starting from this Simple Style. Using Edit Template well change the Template of the ScrollBar. Take a look at the Objects view for the ScrollBar template. It contains a number of elements including a Track element. Some of these elements are simple Button controls just as weve used before, and they are arranged using a Grid. This complex control is built out of simpler controls were familiar with. We can edit it just like were editing any other portion of our project.



Select DecreaseRepeat and IncreaseRepeat using the Objects view and delete them using Edit | Delete Select GridRoot


Lets make a customized ScrollBar with no page up/page down buttons. Well change the appearance of the Track as well.



From the Properties panel under advanced Layout, find the RowDefinitions property and Reset it using the property menu by clicking on the white dot next to the value.

The Grid layout container can specify rows and columns within which to place elements. Once we remove the IncreaseRepeat and DecreaseRepeat buttons, we dont need this anymore, so lets remove the current set of rows.


In the Objects view expand and find the [Thumb] element a. This is different than the Thumb property which is shown above it.

Well now try out of place template editing. The template for Thumb is specified within another file. When we wish to scope into this template, we will lose the context of the rest of our file.



Using the element context menu, Select Edit Control Parts (Template) | Edit Template In the Objects view, find Rectangle which gives this Track its appearance and select it

In place editing has the nice advantage that you can see values and colors from nearby controls, so that you may align to or match the color scheme of other elements. With out of place editing, youll get a default, but consistent appearance and set of sample data for each control, which can also be useful.


a. b. c.

In the Properties panel under Brushes, remove the stroke by clicking Stroke and then clicking on the No Brush icon Set the Fill to a Dark Red by choosing Fill, then clicking the Solid Color Brush icon. Use the color picker to set the color to a dark red. Using the Properties panel set RadiusX and RadiusY to 0. This will remove the corner rounding.

The thumb element is also built of other elements by using the Template mechanism. Certain elements, however, do not have templates and can be considered primitive elements. The Edit Template commands will not be enabled for those elements. Lets change the appearance of the Thumb by changing the color and shape of the Rectangle element here.


In the Objects and Timeline panel, click on the Scope Up button next to SimpleThumbStyle to return to the previous scope.


Select GridRoot within the template, and notice that its background is set to a Template Binding. a. In the Properties panel, click on the marker next to Background and choose Convert to Local Value

Using this button, we can return to the previous scope. This will allow you to navigate back all the way to, e.g., the main document.

The Grid background here is set up so that when you change Background on the ScrollBar itself, it will show through via a Template Binding. Lets remove this behavior and set up a hardcoded color.


b. 17.

Set the background to a solid color of a light brown by choosing the Solid Color Brush tab from the Brushes pane. In the Objects and Timeline panel, click on the Scope Up button next to ScrollBarStyle1 to return to the previous scope.

Finally, lets change the width of the VerticalScrollBar where its used: within the ScrollViewer template.


Select PART_VerticalScrollBar, a. Using the Properties panel set MinWidth to 0 and Width to 10 In the Objects and Timeline panel, click on the Scope Up button next to ScrollViewerControlTemplate1 to return to the root scope. If you resized the ScrollViewer in step 46 then you can return it to its original height now. Select [ScrollViewer] and return its Opacity to 0 and Visibility to Collapsed

Well need to remove the MinWidth which is specified as well by default. Its under advanced layout properties. You can also use the Search filter within the Properties panel.



Lets return the project to the state we need for it to run. Remember the recipe viewer should be hidden initially so we see the list of Recipes.



Use Project | Test Application to test out the new ScrollBar Try out using the custom ScrollBar you created. Notice that you can drag the Thumb around as with a standard ScrollBar, and you can use the keyboard to scroll if you give it focus.


Task 4: Enabling Search Functionality

1. 2. Using the Objects view double click LayoutRoot to set the insertion point. Using the Layout tool, choose Grid and double click to insert a Grid.

Notes In Expression Blend you can the drawing tools to create complex vector shapes. You can also use image assets and assets imported from Expression Design within your projects. In this task, well use the drawing tools in Expression Blend to draw out a vector background for a search text box. Then its a small matter to bind the value of this text box to our data model, using the data panel which will cause it to filter the list of results at runtime. Well also make use of resources imported from Expression Designs Xaml Export.

a. b.

Rename it SearchContainer Position the Grid at the top right of the application as shown using the Selection tool

Lets begin by creating a Grid which will hold our elements. Think of this as a layer if that concept is more familiar to you.


By setting the insertion point, our newly created elements will go into this grid. Lets create a shape which has two rounded bottom corners for the background of this search area. 3. 4. Double click the new SearchContainer to set the insertion point. Using the Rectangle tool, draw a Rectangle over the top of the Grid.


a. Ensure RadiusX and RadiusY are 0 b. Set its Fill to a bright orange, and Stroke to No Brush Draw a second Rectangle over the entire Grid a. Set its RadiusX and RadiusY to 20 b. Ensure its Fill is a bright orange, and Stroke is No Brush



Multiselect the two Rectangles using the Shift key in the Objects view.


In the Object menu choose Object | Combine | Unite

Expression Blend supports a number of Boolean operations which combine multiple vector shapes. Well use Unite to create a shape which is rounded on the bottom only.


In the Properties panel, under advanced Appearance, add a new Drop Shadow BitmapEffect by bringing up the popup next to the New button.

Windows Presentation Foundation also supports Bitmap based effects such as blur, bevel and emboss. Because these effect occur per-pixel, they should be used carefully as they consume processing power.



Draw a Rectangle taking up a section to the right of the Grid as shown below. a. Set its Fill to the Brush Resource MagnifyingGlassIcon b. Set RadiusX/RadiusY = 0 and Stroke to No Brush

Now lets use a magnifying glass brush drawn in Expression Design. If you are feeling ambitious you can try redrawing this within Expression Blend as well. We can use a Rectangle as a placeholder to pick up this resource.


Using the Text tool, choose TextBox and draw a TextBox

Lets add the TextBox which will be used to perform the search.

a. b. 11.

Delete all text within this text box. Rename this textbox to SearchTextBox

Draw a Label on top of the TextBox, taking nearly the same dimensions a. Change the text to SEARCH BY NAME OR INGREDIENT b. Set the Font Size on the Label so that this text fits completely c. Adjust the sizes of the Grid, TextBox, Label, and Rectangle using the Selection tool until you are happy with the overall appearance

Well use a separate Label on top of the text box to show a search hint. To do this well need to set up a set of data bindings which will cause it to disappear when necessary. Labels and other UI elements can be placed within a TextBox as well. Since we want the Label to appear on top, you may decide to temporarily lock the TextBox using the lock icon in the Objects view next to SearchTextBox. To select it later, remember to unlock it again.



Select the Label and change the Foreground to light gray using the Properties panel. From the Properties panel under Appearance, bring up the Property menu for Visibility and chose Data Binding a. In the left list, select RecipeDataModel b. Change Show Matching Types Only to Show All Properties

With the Label in place, well make it so that its hidden whenever the user has typed a search string. The data source has provided a property for that already, we need to bind to this IsSearchFilterEmpty property using data binding.



In the right list, browse to IsSearchFilterEmpty and select it


Because the types dont match up (bool can be True or False, while Visibility can be Visible, Hidden, or Collapsed) well use a Value Converter to adapt them. This BooleanToVisibilityConverter will make it so that the label is Visible whenever IsSearchFilterEmpty is True.


At the bottom of this dialog, expand the advanced options, and change the Value Converter to BooleanToVisiblityConverter

Lets also make it so that its not visible whenever the user is about to type text in to the SearchTextBox. We can check for IsFocused on this text box to handle that. e. 14. Click Finish

From the Properties panel under Appearance, bring up the Property menu for Opacity and chose Data Binding



Switch to Element Property. In Scene elements, select SearchTextBox


Change Show Matching Types Only to Show All Properties

Because the types dont match up (bool can be True or False, while Opacity can be any numeric value) well use a Value Converter to adapt them. c. Under Properties browse to IsFocused and select it This BoolToOpacityConverter is written to make it so that the label has 0% Opacity whenever IsFocused is True. If you are curious as to how ValueConverters are written, you can open Controls\BoolToOpacityConverter.cs from this project.



Expand advanced options and change the Value Converter to BooleanToOpacityConverter


e. Click Finish With the Label selected, uncheck IsHitTestVisible. Its in the advanced Common Properties, or use the search functionality to find it.

Finally, when the user clicks on this Label, wed rather give focus to the TextBox. We can do this by causing the Label to ignore mouse event with the IsHitTestVisible flag.


16. 17.

Select SearchTextBox from the Objects view From the Properties panel under Content, bring up the Property menu for Text and chose Data Binding a. Under Data sources select RecipeDataModel b. Under Properties, browse to SearchFilter and select it c. Expand the advanced options at the bottom of the dialog, and change Binding direction to Two Way d. Ensure Update source when is set to PropertyChanged

Lets set up the SearchTextBox to link to the search string in the data source.

In this case, wed also like to update the data source itself whenever someone types text into the TextBox. This is done using Two Way data binding.


Click Finish



Choose Project | Test Project and run the application. Try searching by using the text and see how the list of recipes shown is filtered. a. Notice that the text label disappears as text is being entered, and reappears once it is cleared and focus is lost.

Now you should have a fully functional RecipeBox. Typing text into the search field should cause the view to filter down to those recipes containing that text. It also searches the ingredients list, and other fields.

Thanks for trying out this Hands on Lab and using Expression Blend.