Since the new Windows Phone Marketplace for ‘Windows Phone Mango’ is nearly ready for submission of your apps, developers will be happy to know that today we are releasing the Silverlight for Windows Phone Toolkit (August 2011) add-on. This is a great new release of extra controls and should let you create even better apps with the Windows Phone 7.1 SDK.
In this toolkit you will find user interface controls like those found throughout the Windows Phone, with components like toggle switches, page transitions, picker controls and more. We have also localized the toolkit into all of the Windows Phone ‘Mango’ languages, since there’s a whole world out there hopefully looking to purchase your apps from the Windows Phone Marketplace.
You can download the new release straight from the CodePlex site at http://silverlight.codeplex.com/ – it requires the latest ‘Mango’ developer tools as well.
The release is also available on NuGet as the SilverlightToolkitWP package.
As always, the Silverlight for Windows Phone Toolkit is open source, letting developers extend the components and learn more about best practices for control and application development.
New features in the August 2011 release
Here are some of the new things you will find in this release:
LongListSelector has been rebuilt and redesigned to take advantage of the new smooth scrolling and off-thread touch input support in ‘Mango’. This is a buttery-smooth control for showing lists, including grouping and jump list support.
MultiselectList control enables multiple selection for easily working with lists of data, similar to the Mail app’s capability.
LockablePivot adds a special mode to the Pivot control where only the current item is shown (often used with multiple selection).
ExpanderView is a primitive items control that can be used for expanding and collapsing items (like the threaded views in the Mail app).
HubTile lets you add beautiful, informative, animated tiles to your application, similar to the new People groups in ‘Mango’.
ContextMenu control has been reworked: performance improvements and visual consistency fixes.
ListPicker now supports multiple selection.
RecurringDaysPicker lets your users select a day of the week.
Date & Time Converters localized to 22 languages. The converters let developers easily display date and time in the user interface in one of the many styles found throughout the phone’s UI, from a short date like ‘7/19’ to relative times like ‘about a month ago’.
Page Transitions have improved performance for a more responsive feel.
PhoneTextBox is an early look at an enhanced text box with action icon support, watermarking, etc.
All error messages and interface elements have been localized to all of the supported languages, making for a great experience for users around the world.
The release is also packed full of nice bug fixes and addresses many customer-reported issues. You can file bug reports and suggest features for the toolkit at http://silverlight.codeplex.com/.
Other great components
If you’re new to the Silverlight for Windows Phone Toolkit, you’re in for a treat as an app developer: the simple developer library also contains these great components designed specifically for the Windows Phone:
AutoCompleteBox is a text box control that allows for simple auto-completion based on a filter.
DatePicker lets a user select a date, similar to that found in the Alarms app on the Windows Phone.
PerformanceProgressBar can be used to show indeterminate progress inside an app (though you should also consider the new ProgressIndicator support in ‘Mango’, too).
TiltEffect attached property that gives buttons, list items, and other components that nice ‘tilt’ touch experience.
TimePicker for choosing a time.
WrapPanel is a non-virtualized wrapping panel often used for displaying photo thumbnails.
Helper code for Gestures (touch input manipulations).
Where to learn more about the release
To learn all about the new features, see example code, and learn more about the development process, check out this post announcing the August 2011 Silverlight for Windows Phone Toolkit on my blog. Also, do expect great resources to come up on the #wpdev hash tag.
We hope that you really enjoy this new release and welcome feedback, suggestions and bug reports on the Silverlight Toolkit’s CodePlex site. There you will also find a sample app that demonstrates the features of the toolkit, plus full source code.
Now ship some great ‘Mango’ apps!
Jeff Wilcox, Developer
Silverlight for Windows Phone