23 October 2014

Making the Application Bar display on of top of the UI in Windows Phone 8.1 Store Apps

In Windows Phone 7, 8 and 8.1 Silverlight apps this is very easy: you just set the Opacity of the Application bar to any value less than 1 as described here, and the app does not reserve space for the app bar – it just displays the bar on top of the main UI like this:


The problem is, if you set the opacity of what is now called the CommandBar in Windows Phone 8.1 Store apps, the Application bar is translucent indeed - which you can see if you open it - but the apps still reserves space for it in it’s closed state:


The fix for this is surprisingly easy, but also pretty hard to find if you don’t know what you are looking for. In the end I got a tip by mail from my famous fellow MVP Rudy Huyn. You just add the following, not very obvious line of code to your app. I added it to my App.Xaml.cs, just before the line “Window.Current.Activate();”


Right. And then you get what you want (as is displayed in the first image). And once you enter this line of code into a search engine, then you find hits enough, dating back to even April. But well, that did not help me much. Hopefully this simple article will save someone else a fruitless seach ;)

To make this code compile, you will need to add a “using Windows.UI.ViewManagement;” on top of your file. And although it is in fact an article about code, I will skip the sample download app this time – for just one line of code it feels like a bit of overkill.

Update – be aware that not only the Application Bar now falls over the UI, but the status bar on top as well. So you may want to take that into account when designing your UI: keep some extra space at the top, or make in partially translucent as wel. Thanks to my fellow MVP Shawn Kendrot for pointing me to this article that he has written some time ago

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