Windows Phone 8 is just around the corner. There are now over 110,000 apps in the Windows Phone Store. Combined with the release of Windows 8, the new Microsoft Surface, and sexy new hardware devices from Nokia, HTC and Samsung, it looks like the Windows Phone momentum is about to go into overdrive and its position gets cemented as the third mobile ecosystem. Infragistics has been supporting application developers for over 20 years, and I’m here to tell you this support is continuing for the 28K+ approved Windows Phone Store developers, and the other 100K+ developers exploring Windows Phone.
NetAdvantage for Windows Phone is excellent for building compelling mobile consumer apps as well as reliable corporate apps & mobile BI dashboard solutions. It is the only product on the market with a core set of rich enterprise-class Line of Business and Data Visualization controls to serve your Windows Phone development needs.
In our new 12.2 release of NetAdvantage for Windows Phone, we introduce commercial-grade versions of six popular UI widgets, including:
- Auto-Complete Box
- Context Menu
- Date Picker
- Time Picker
- List Picker
- Toggle Switch
We are also introducing CTP versions of really cool controls we just couldn’t wait to release, including the highly requested Windows Phone Calendar control, as well as our versatile Tile Manager. Combined with the current offering of more than 20 controls, and a brand new Samples Browser app, the new collection in NetAdvantage for Windows Phone release 12.2 provides a unique toolbox of rich & flexible controls for mobile developers who aim for the top spots in the Windows Phone Store.
The AutoCompleteBox is a control that combines a text box and a drop list, providing item suggestions to the user as they type text in the control. It allows developers to benefit from a powerful UI optimization technique to limit the amount of free text entry by the user. Developers can customize the display of items in the list, use data-binding to populate the list, control how the list items are filtered, and more. Key features include:
- Custom Layout. Specify your own data objects layout in the drop list.
- Data binding. Bind the drop list to any collection of objects.
- Filtering. Control how the drop list is filtered based on the input text using the FilterMode property, providing options for case sensitivity and which part of the data items are filtered against (beginning, or any part of the text).
- Custom filters. There are two approaches to custom filters:
- Filter based on the string representation of the data objects (by setting the TextFilter property).
- Filter based on the whole data item (or any of its properties).
- Drop list display control. Control the amount of time in milliseconds or the minimum number of characters that should be entered before the filtered list is populated and displayed to the user.
The ContextMenu is a dynamic control that can be displayed on demand based on a user interaction. Common scenarios for the context menu typically involve a Tap & Hold gesture by the user on any given screen element to pop the menu open, although it can be associated to other common events as well, such as a button click. The ContextMenu is a very useful tool to recreate a first-party Windows Phone experience where advanced options need to be presented to the user without cluttering the screen with additional application bar buttons, menu items or controls. Key features include:
- State & Behavior. Control and test the visible state of the pop-up context menu in code, and affect the zoom and fade behavior of the background when the context menu is visible.
- Data Binding. Populate the context menu with data from any collection using data binding.
- Scroll Menu Items. Scroll menu items within the context menu pop-up window when there are too many items to display at once.
- Styling. Style the context menu and items according to the look & feel of your application.
The DatePicker and TimePicker controls are two of three selector controls included in this release that allow developers to recreate a popular first-party Windows Phone data input experience. DatePicker and TimePicker are TextBox input controls that can be tapped by the user to display a separate window used for date / time selection. The DatePicker selection window contains three infinite scrolling lists, letting the user easily select a day, month and year without any typing required. The TimePicker selection window also features infinite scrolling lists, letting the user easily select the hour and minutes. You can use the 24 hour time format, otherwise an extra selection is made available for AM/PM. Key features include:
- Culture Format. Easily provide date and time selections to your users in your apps without requiring any typing, and do so in any calendar culture and time formats supported by Windows Phone.
- Customization. Customize the full-screen date and time picker pages by building your own.
The ListPicker control is third of three selector controls that allow developers to recreate a popular first-party Windows Phone data input experience. ListPicker is a TextBox input control that can be tapped by the user to display a separate window used for the selection of an item in a custom collection. ListPicker is basically the Windows Phone equivalent of the ComboBox control. Key features include:
- List Selection Mode. Use in-place list selection or a full screen selection page in your apps.
- Multiple Selections. Choose between single or multiple item selection.
- Data Binding. Populate the list picker’s selection of items from any collection of objects.
- Data Templates. Customize the XAML template to be used for the items in the selection list.
The ToggleSwitch is a simple control that enables users to turn an application option on or off. It is the Windows Phone equivalent of the checkbox and has two check states: On and Off. Key features include:
- Data Templates. Customize the XAML template to be used for the content and the header of the Toggle Switch in each state.
- Customization. Select the foreground color of your choice for the “On” state, or use the default accent color from the user’s chosen theme.
- Dynamic State. Dynamically change the Content of the Toggle Switch depending on the current state.
The Calendar control for Windows Phone provides functionality similar to that of the month view in the built-in Windows Phone Calendar application. It is designed to display Days, Months and Years. The control enables the following key features:
- Navigate. by tapping the arrows in the header area or using drag gestures to navigate to the next/previous month; or by tapping over the header title which displays a month/year looping selectors allowing the user to choose a different month and/or year.
- Select. by tapping over a day cell. This functionality is available when the SelectionMode=”SingleDate” is set (by default). You can disallow selecting of cells by SelectionMode=”None”.
- Customization. Customize specific date cells, such as adding weather icons, moon phases images, event types, etc. with the CalendaDayButtonTemplateSelector.
- Display Agenda Content. by AgendaSource property of the control which accepts IAgenda data with StartDate, EndDate and Content of the agenda.
- Restrict the Display Date. by DisplayDateStart and DisplayDateEnd properties.
- Deny Selecting of Specific Dates. by adding them to the BlackoutDates collection of the Calendar.
The Tile Manager displays content on the phone display using rectangular tiles, which are arranged sequentially creating multiple rows of tiles. The mobile user can maximize a tile, which automatically minimizes the remaining tiles. However, the minimized tiles will remain in view along an edge of the control, so your end users can quickly maximize and shift their attention to new content.
The xamTileManager includes the following features:
- Animations. The xamTileManager has built-in animations that play during state transitions. You can supply your own animations to customize this experience.
- Data Binding. You can set the xamTileManager’s ItemsSource property to automatically create Tile objects based on your data model.
- Drag-and-Drop. Your end users can drag tiles and rearrange them at run time using touch gestures.
- Explicit Tile Layout. You can arrange tiles into explicit columns and rows using concepts already found in the Grid panel (Column, Row, ColumnSpan and RowSpan).
- Saving and Loading Layouts. After your end users modify the layout at run time, you can save the changes and restore them between application sessions.
- State-Based Item Templates. You can define item templates based on the state of the tiles. The xamTileManager will automatically apply the proper item template as your end users change the state of a tile.
- State-Based Size Constraints. You can restrict the size of tiles based on their state.
- Tile Resizing. Your end users can resize tiles using resizing indicators.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Can I try your controls? Is there an app in the Windows Phone Store?
Of course! Just visit http://bit.ly/IGWPApp to download our free NetAdvantage Samples Browser from the Windows Phone Store. We completely redesigned it from the ground up for easier navigation, with more samples than before and the ability to see the XAML and C# code behind.
Is NetAdvantage for Windows Phone compatible with Visual Studio 2012?
Yes, you can use NetAdvantage for Windows Phone release 12.2 in Visual Studio 2012. Visual Studio 2010 is of course still supported too.
Does Infragistics provide controls for Windows Phone 8?
Yes. The good news is our controls are compatible with both Windows Phone 8 projects and Windows Phone 7.5 projects. This way you can build apps for the new devices but you don’t have to abandon all the current Windows Phone 7.5 (and soon 7.8) users out there.
How much is NetAdvantage for Windows Phone?
$195.00 USD for the Standard Edition, per developer seat. You can get our Community Edition (forums support only) for $95, or add Premium Support for a total of $695.
Can I get a free evaluation of your controls before I buy them?
Yes you can, simply head over to the NetAdvantage for Windows Phone downloads page (linked here), create a free Infragistics account and download a free evaluation version. The installer also includes the full source code to our new Samples Browser.
Do you have native controls for other mobile platforms, like iOS or Android?
Yes we do! Make sure to try NUCLiOS, the world’s most powerful native controls for iOS developers, and IguanaUI, our free Android Controls Community Pack. You can also purchase all of our mobile controls together via MobileAdvantage for $695 ($495 for the Community Edition).
Native apps are dead! I want to build cross-platform apps in HTML5!
I must respectfully disagree with you. Native apps have their place when you want to create a unique user experience that follows each platform’s guidelines, when you want the best performance, when you want to take advantage of deep platform specific features, or when you want to create a truly competitive app, be it paid or free. However you are right that many scenarios can also be implemented using cross-platform HTML5 apps wrapped with PhoneGap.
So there you have it. Eight new controls for Windows Phone 8 (8 for 8, get it?), a whole new Samples Browser, a new bundle for multiple mobile platforms, and the best support you can ask for. When you do build some cool apps with Infragistics controls, no matter what platform you target, make sure to let us know. Go download it now and get started today!
If you have any questions or suggestions on which mobile controls you’d like us to focus on next, you can post a reply below, visit the NetAdvantage for Windows Phone forums here, contact me on Twitter via @ActiveNick, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also make sure to follow @infragistics on Twitter.
What mobile apps are you building?