03 October 2011

The Standard About Page for Windows Phone 7 revisited

Back to business!

Although section 5.6 requiring an application to have easily discoverable application name, version information, and technical support contact information is still in the Windows Phone 7 Application Certification Requirements, it is no longer strictly enforced as far as I know. Yet, it’s still a very good idea to include this. It allows your App’s buyers to quickly review and rate your App and moreover, contact you easily, and usually providing you with all kinds of free ideas to make your App even better. What is better than to get direct input from the very people who bought your App!

I wrote about a Standard About Page some time ago. The latest version is now included in the 2.0.1 version of my wp7nl library on codeplex, which is also available as a Nuget package. Apart from some minor improvements to the AboutViewModelBase (and the update to MVVMLight 4.0), by popular request I created a user control, or actually, multiple user controls.

If your reference the wp7nl library, you will get three “About” controls:

  • AboutContents
  • AboutData
  • AboutInfoSymbol

AboutData is the complete thing: create an empty page, delete everything within LayoutRoot Grid, drag this control in it, bind your AboutViewModelBase descendant, and you are ready. Apart from the namespace declarations, all that’s left of the contents of the About Page of my Map Mania App now looks like this:

  <Model:AboutViewModel x:Key="AboutViewModel"/>

  <StaticResource ResourceKey="PhoneAppStyle"/>
<Grid x:Name="LayoutRoot" Style="{StaticResource LayoutRootStyle}" 
   DataContext="{StaticResource AboutViewModel}">

Again, by popular request this is built up out of of two sub controls, AboutContents (everthing below the actual “About”) and AboutSymbol (the info-symbol). A picture says more than a thousand words, therefore:


This, for instance, allowed me to construct the About ‘page’ of Catch’em Birds as part of a Panorama view, using just the AboutSymbol and the Contents like this:

<controls:PanoramaItem x:Name="PanAbout" 
  Header="{Binding LocalizedResources.About, Source={StaticResource LocalizedStrings}}" 
          <RowDefinition Height="0.994*"/>
          <RowDefinition Height="0.006*"/>
          <ColumnDefinition Width="40"/>
          <ColumnDefinition Width="Auto"/>
        <LocalJoost:AboutInfoSymbol HorizontalAlignment="Left" 
           VerticalAlignment="Bottom" Margin="0,0,0,6"/>
        <TextBlock Grid.Column="1" 
           Text="{Binding Content, RelativeSource={RelativeSource TemplatedParent}}" 
           FontSize="64" Margin="0" Grid.RowSpan="2" />
  <LocalJoost:AboutContents Name="aboutContents1" 
    DataContext="{Binding Instance.AboutViewModel, Source={StaticResource MainViewModel}}" />


Which yields the result as displayed on the left.

So now you can create an About Page with even less effort. You still have to make a child class of AboutViewModelBase and a resource file as described in the first About Page post but that’s about all.

A sample implementation of the whole stuff can be found here.

Have fun!


Alberto Silva said...

On this XML section, there's an error, the closing tag doesn't match the openning tag:

I would appreciate a complete sample implementation on your About page, still haven't found how to wrap everything together!

Joost van Schaik said...

Albert, you are correct. The first part is a snippet, and a snippet is by definition not complete. I assumed the post combined should be enough to get going, but apparently it is not. Thanks for the suggestion. I shall create a sample implementation ASAP, stay tuned.

Alberto Silva said...

Thanks, looking forward to it.

Joost van Schaik said...

@Alberto, I added a sample solution today. I am sorry it took a while but there where a lot of other things to do ;-)