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Thread: The "What do you think of how my app looks" thread

  1. #81

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    Re: The "What do you think of how my app looks" thread

    Couldn't you just make them enlarge when you actually click to select them then?
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  2. #82
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    Re: The "What do you think of how my app looks" thread

    I'm already planning to show the selected day to the bottom right (underneath the small calendar), where it can be shown much larger, so that would be a bit redundant. I haven't figured out how to get that to work though. I remember from my early days that if you bind a Combobox to a list of elements the combobox actually displays those elements (I think i had a dropdown filled with calenders once by mistake ), like a 'copy' of the element, but I can't get that to work by myself. I tried having a ContentControl with its Content bound to the SelectedDay property of the calendar, but it complains that the selected day is already a child of the calendar and i have to remove it from the calendar first... Oh well, I'll figure something out.

  3. #83
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    Re: The "What do you think of how my app looks" thread

    New project, an application that allows me to manage my scientific papers so that I can categorize them under various categories, authors, titles, journals, etc. The main grid (it's actually a UserControl with comboboxes and a ListBox) can filter on any column so that I can quickly find the paper I'm looking for.



    There's dialog windows for Authors, Journals and Categories, but I can also create them 'on the fly' when creating a new paper (so that I don't have to remember to create a new author first, I can do that all in the 'edit paper' window (not shown)).



    I've created the Windows 7 themes myself; I've got Windows 7 themed ListBoxes, ComboBoxes, TreeViews, ToolBars and Menus, all in an easy to re-use custom control library.
    I'm not sure how these look in XP, but there's no aero transparency or things like that so it should look the same (it might clash with the horrible title bars in XP though).


    It's quite early in development but I already love it, it's so easy to work with! What do you think?

  4. #84

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    Re: The "What do you think of how my app looks" thread

    I like the fairly simple style - I have one question though, why make all of the windows 7 themed controls yourself? If you are not bothered about running it on XP, what have you gained over just using the built in controls that already have the Windows 7 theme when run on Windows 7?

    PS is this WPF or Winforms?
    Last edited by chris128; Jun 23rd, 2011 at 03:18 PM.
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  5. #85
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    Re: The "What do you think of how my app looks" thread

    It's wpf of course. None of the standard controls (listbox, treeview, toolbar, etc) use the Windows 7 theme for me... They all have the standard solid blue selection rectangles and the toolbar looks just like the winforms toolstrip, in other words not at all like any real apps... Also i'd like it to look the same on xp, i just havent got an xp system to try it on.

  6. #86

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    Re: The "What do you think of how my app looks" thread

    Huh? You must have something set wrong then because all of the standard WPF controls have the theme of the OS you are running them on by default. If I just add a standard treeview control to a WPF window it looks exactly like yours does in that screenshot.
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  7. #87
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    Re: The "What do you think of how my app looks" thread

    Nope, not for me :/

    XAML:
    Code:
    <Window x:Class="WpfApplication2.MainWindow"
            xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/winfx/2006/xaml/presentation"
            xmlns:x="http://schemas.microsoft.com/winfx/2006/xaml"
            Title="MainWindow" Height="350" Width="525">
        <Grid>
            <Grid.ColumnDefinitions>
                <ColumnDefinition Width="*" />
                <ColumnDefinition Width="*" />
            </Grid.ColumnDefinitions>
    
            <ListBox  Margin="5" x:Name="listBox" Grid.Column="0" />
            <TreeView Margin="5" x:Name="treeView" Grid.Column="1">
                <TreeViewItem Header="Item 1" />
                <TreeViewItem Header="Item 2">
                    <TreeViewItem Header="Subitem 1" />
                    <TreeViewItem Header="Subitem 2" />
                </TreeViewItem>
                <TreeViewItem Header="Item 3" />
            </TreeView>
        </Grid>
    </Window>
    Screenshot:

    I even have this in the App.xaml which is supposed to turn on Aero themes, but no luck:
    Code:
    <Application x:Class="WpfApplication2.App"
                 xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/winfx/2006/xaml/presentation"
                 xmlns:x="http://schemas.microsoft.com/winfx/2006/xaml"
                 StartupUri="MainWindow.xaml">
        <Application.Resources>
            <ResourceDictionary>
                <ResourceDictionary.MergedDictionaries>
                    <ResourceDictionary Source="/PresentationFramework.Aero;component/themes/Aero.NormalColor.xaml" />
                </ResourceDictionary.MergedDictionaries>
            </ResourceDictionary>
        </Application.Resources>
    </Application>

  8. #88

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    Re: The "What do you think of how my app looks" thread

    I don't see the difference between that screenshot of the treeview and your original one? I thought you meant it was still giving you the little + symbols instead of the black triangles for expandable nodes like it would in XP. I see what you mean about the listbox selected item colour - that is the same for me, but to be honest I'd never really noticed as I always tend to apply a datatemplate to items in a listbox and get rid of the default selection highlighting etc.
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  9. #89
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    Re: The "What do you think of how my app looks" thread

    No I'm mainly talking about the selection highlight. If you want to implement that for a TreeView you'll have to draw the arrow yourself too (since you have to create the entire control template). I got the TreeView code (everything besides the selection highlight) from somewhere else but it looks spot on. I made the selection highlights (consisting of two borders and various gradients) myself so that they look like the Windows 7 explorer theme even on other OSes (the default blue just looks horrible with the rest of the theme of my app).

    I get your point about the custom data template, but in this case there's really nothing else to display besides a name so I went with the Windows 7 theme selection instead of some custom style.

  10. #90

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    Re: The "What do you think of how my app looks" thread

    Ah yeah that's fair enough then I'm just working on an app with a fairly simple treeview and listbox at the moment and now that you've pointed out the ugly blue selection colour I can't help but notice it lol might have to do something about that soon. Its still very early in the development of it but I'll post some screenshots in a minute
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  12. #92

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    Re: The "What do you think of how my app looks" thread

    Here we go. Its not really anything special in terms of looks, especially not at the moment as I only started working on it a couple of days ago. It does use a nice blur effect on the main window when a dialog window is shown though (as you can see in a couple of the screenshots). Oh and before anyone says it - yes I think I'm going to change the background colour of the main window









    Sorry for blatantly stealing your look of the OK and Cancel button area at the bottom of the dialog windows
    Last edited by chris128; Jun 28th, 2011 at 04:16 PM.
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  13. #93

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    Re: The "What do you think of how my app looks" thread

    Quote Originally Posted by NickThissen View Post
    Cool. If you need my windows 7 style code just ask, I was going to put it in the codebank anyway but there's still some issues I need to fix.
    Yeah that would be good cheers

    Oh and what did you end up doing for the large menu item buttons in your app (The New, Edit, and Delete buttons at the top) ? Are they just normal buttons with a custom template/style applied or are they menu items or what? I just used normal buttons for mine and set the background colour to transparent, which looks fine for the most part but after the buttons have been clicked they look a bit out of place.
    Last edited by chris128; Jun 26th, 2011 at 01:32 PM.
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  14. #94
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    Re: The "What do you think of how my app looks" thread

    Quote Originally Posted by chris128 View Post
    Yeah that would be good cheers
    Here you go. Keep in mind though that there's still a few issues (especially with the toolbar buttons) and that I may not be using the 'correct' way to handle things. I'm quite new to WPF and especially things like creating custom themes is something I've mainly just did using trial and error, I've never really read a book about it or something (I do have a book but didn't get that far yet), so I might be using the wrong practice everywhere... But the important thing I guess is the colors, brushes and control templates which do look the same as Windows 7 as far as I can tell.
    Attached Files Attached Files

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    Re: The "What do you think of how my app looks" thread

    Thanks I'll have a play around with it and yeah don't worry I'm the same lol I have 2 WPF books in fact but I've never read much of either...
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  16. #96
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    Re: The "What do you think of how my app looks" thread

    Hey, is that "blur effect" possible with Windows Forms ?

    Thanks

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    Re: The "What do you think of how my app looks" thread

    By the way nice app chris. The only things I don't like is the abundance of light blue (so yeah I would change the background indeed), and the menu and statusbar colors. As for the blur effect that's pretty neat. Too bad you can't blur the window borders itself (right?) so it makes the border stand out a bit. Perhaps try overlaying a dark color as well as the blur, that might get rid of the 'hard edge' between the window contents and the border (right now it seems like it's blurring the edge colors with black so that there's a small black gradient at the edge, that might be less visible if the whole window is a little darker).

    Quote Originally Posted by chris128 View Post
    Sorry for blatantly stealing your look of the OK and Cancel button area at the bottom of the dialog windows
    That's ok, it looks great doesn't it By the way, how do you make your OK and Cancel buttons equally wide? Do you simply set the Width? I've read that you shouldn't set the Width if you can avoid it so I've always been trying to get them about the same size using the Padding but I don't think there's a value that works...


    Quote Originally Posted by akhileshbc View Post
    Hey, is that "blur effect" possible with Windows Forms ?

    Thanks
    I wouldn't count on it, at least not in a simple way. You could perhaps take a screenshot of the window, dynamically place a picturebox on the window (on top of every control), blur the screenshot and show it in the picturebox, but that's likely really slow. I've never come across a good blurring technique in winforms that wasn't slow. The only reason it works for WPF is that WPF can use your graphic card to create the blur effect which is orders of magnitude faster.

    Chris: followup question based on my last comment... How does the blur perform under Windows XP? As far as I understand there's no graphic card rendering in XP so it might be really slow.

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    Re: The "What do you think of how my app looks" thread

    Quote Originally Posted by NickThissen View Post
    I wouldn't count on it, at least not in a simple way. You could perhaps take a screenshot of the window, dynamically place a picturebox on the window (on top of every control), blur the screenshot and show it in the picturebox, but that's likely really slow. I've never come across a good blurring technique in winforms that wasn't slow. The only reason it works for WPF is that WPF can use your graphic card to create the blur effect which is orders of magnitude faster.
    Thanks for the info


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    Re: The "What do you think of how my app looks" thread

    Quote Originally Posted by NickThissen View Post
    By the way, how do you make your OK and Cancel buttons equally wide? Do you simply set the Width? I've read that you shouldn't set the Width if you can avoid it so I've always been trying to get them about the same size using the Padding but I don't think there's a value that works...
    Yeah I just set the Width property to the same value for both.


    Quote Originally Posted by NickThissen View Post
    Chris: followup question based on my last comment... How does the blur perform under Windows XP? As far as I understand there's no graphic card rendering in XP so it might be really slow.
    I use the following code to determine if the blur effect should be used or not:
    Code:
    Dim UseEffects As Boolean = CInt(RenderCapability.Tier >> 16) > 1
    because any machine with a Tier of 0 or 1 is probably not going to be able to handle the blur with decent performance (more info here: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/libr...lity.tier.aspx )
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  21. #101

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    Re: The "What do you think of how my app looks" thread

    Well im glad you asked because after reading the documentation that I linked to I have realised that tier 1 could probably handle the blur effect as well I always thought tier 1 was still pretty poor in terms of graphics power but it seems that it is not that much different to tier 2.
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  22. #102
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    Re: The "What do you think of how my app looks" thread

    Here's my go at WPF. I didn't have anything practical to make, so I just made a quick demo of a POS application. I've never actually used a POS application before, so the general design probably isn't ideal. Looking back, I'd probably do it a lot differently, but I'm fairly satisfied with this.

    In this demo, I actually didn't even use VS that much. Most of this was just done in Expression Blend. When I have an actual practical application to develop in WPF, I'll of course use VS a lot more.

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  23. #103

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    Re: The "What do you think of how my app looks" thread

    I really like it the buttons on the left maybe get a bit too dark though
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  24. #104
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    Re: The "What do you think of how my app looks" thread

    Quote Originally Posted by chris128 View Post
    I really like it the buttons on the left maybe get a bit too dark though
    Thanks. You mean the buttons underneath the "Menus" button? I suppose I could make them a bit lighter. They're the same color as the rest, just more opaque.

    But, this was a just a demo to get a little more familiar with WPF and Expression Blend. I'm trying to think of a practical application to create, so can really get into it.
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  25. #105
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    Re: The "What do you think of how my app looks" thread

    I finally decided what I wanted to make in WPF, to expand my knowledge on it. I can make demo after demo, but if I don't make something practical with an end goal in mind, I don't think I'd ever learn as much.

    So, I decided to make a desktop client for Reddit. I wanted to expand my knowledge on HTTP WebRequests, so I'm hitting two birds with this one.

    Anyway, here's my UI so far. I've already figured out how to login with Reddit credentials and I'm working on grabbing user data and when that's done, I'll focus more on grabbing submissions, so the UI will expand a lot more when that happens.


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  26. #106

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    Re: The "What do you think of how my app looks" thread

    Nice I like the simple icons on the top right and that logon screen looks nice too. One thing I would suggest that you might not be aware of if you are new to WPF (and this only applies if you are targetting .NET 4.0). To make the text less blurry you can set the following property on each TextBlock element:
    Code:
    <TextBlock Text="Some Text" TextOptions.TextFormattingMode="Display">
    or you can use a Style to apply this to all TextBlock elements in the window, like so:

    Code:
    <Window.Resources>
            <Style TargetType="TextBlock">
                <Setter Property="TextOptions.TextFormattingMode" Value="Display" />
            </Style>
    </Window.Resources>
    and for Images you can use the following to make them a bit sharper (note that if your images are not the same size on your window as the actual image file is then this may make them appear a bit pixelated):
    Code:
    <Image Source="example" RenderOptions.BitmapScalingMode="NearestNeighbor">
    When testing these properties, never rely on the VS designer to give you an accurate representation of what the images/text will actually look like - run the program and see what it really looks like. The VS WPF designer is pretty poor in my opinion, it often displays things quite differently to how they actually look when you run the application.
    Last edited by chris128; Jul 24th, 2011 at 01:04 PM.
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  27. #107
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    Re: The "What do you think of how my app looks" thread

    Quote Originally Posted by chris128 View Post
    Nice I like the simple icons on the top right and that logon screen looks nice too. One thing I would suggest that you might not be aware of if you are new to WPF (and this only applies if you are targetting .NET 4.0). To make the text less blurry you can set the following property on each TextBlock element:
    Code:
    <TextBlock Text="Some Text" TextOptions.TextFormattingMode="Display">
    or you can use a Style to apply this to all TextBlock elements in the window, like so:

    Code:
    <Window.Resources>
            <Style TargetType="TextBlock">
                <Setter Property="TextOptions.TextFormattingMode" Value="Display" />
            </Style>
    </Window.Resources>
    and for Images you can use the following to make them a bit sharper (note that if your images are not the same size on your window as the actual image file is then this may make them appear a bit pixelated):
    Code:
    <Image Source="example" RenderOptions.BitmapScalingMode="NearestNeighbor">
    Hey Chris,

    Yeah, I'm fairly new to WPF. As for the blur, do you mean the blur while the log in form is displayed? Because that was intentional. I noticed how you used it in one of your apps and like how it looked when a dialog when is displayed. I currently have the blur Radius set to 5, but that can always be changed.
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  28. #108

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    Re: The "What do you think of how my app looks" thread

    No I mean the slight blur that you get on all normal sized text in WPF (really large text looks better without that property I mentioned set). You might not notice it but trust me a lot of people will and it is very annoying. There's been a lot of complaints about this and so they added that property to WPF 4.0. See here for more info and examples: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/text/archive...rovements.aspx
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  29. #109
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    Re: The "What do you think of how my app looks" thread

    Did you guys purchase those slick icons, or are the available for a tight wad such as myself for free?
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  30. #110

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    Re: The "What do you think of how my app looks" thread

    I dunno about anyone else but I bought mine from here a couple of years ago: http://www.iconshock.com/
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  31. #111
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    Re: The "What do you think of how my app looks" thread

    Quote Originally Posted by wild_bill View Post
    Did you guys purchase those slick icons, or are the available for a tight wad such as myself for free?
    The icons I use in the Reddit app above, are free. But, I purchased the license to use them in my app at Custom Icon Design.
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  32. #112
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    Re: The "What do you think of how my app looks" thread

    Wow, all of these applications are very impressive. I've been meaning to get into WPF, the only thing that prevents me is that I've had some bad experiences with the designer and feel like it isn't very robust. After dabbling for ~10 minutes I crashed the designer and it wasn't a very friendly exit.

    I wish I had some of the XAML of your posts so that I could dissect them.

  33. #113
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    Re: The "What do you think of how my app looks" thread

    Are you using VS 2010? I haven't had problems with the designer, just my own lack of knowledge.
    That is the very essence of human beings and our very unique capability to perform complex reasoning and actually use our perception to further our understanding of things. We like to solve problems. -Kleinma

    Does your code in post #46 look like my code in #45? No, it doesn't. Therefore, wrong is how it looks. - jmcilhinney

  34. #114
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    Re: The "What do you think of how my app looks" thread

    I find the designer quite 'heavy', it seems to become slow really quickly, at least much slower than the code editor (for C#/VB). I've got 4GB of ram and an AMD Phenom II X6 cpu @3.5 GHz so that should be plenty imo... For the rest I don't really have any issues with the designer. You just have to step away from wanting to drag controls on the surface as you did with winforms (if you do this some strange properties will be set that you don't want), and you need to get used to the new layout system (no more absolute coordinates but all relative, more like web except without the CSS). Just figure out the layout system and write your controls in XAML, that is the easiest way imo

  35. #115

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    Re: The "What do you think of how my app looks" thread

    Yeah I always create all of the controls in XAML rather than dragging controls using the designer, like you said, things don't work as you would expect if you just drag n drop them on. Oh and yeah the designer is a little heavy and slow sometimes (even with 8 GB RAM, a solid state hard disk, a quad core CPU and a 1 GB graphics card) but I've just kind of got used to that.

    While I'm here, here's a couple of updated screenshots of my current project, though not really doing anything that impressive visually, I hope it looks fairly clean and easy to use





    The nice thing is that there's no VB code populating anything in those tabs on the right when the user clicks a specific node in the tree (or even telling it which tab to show), its all done through databinding Well actually there's a few lines of VB code in the Converters that some of the bindings use but not a lot.

    Oh and I really need to get round to using your treeview style Nick to get rid of that ugly solid blue rectangle selection on the treeview!
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  36. #116
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    Re: The "What do you think of how my app looks" thread

    I think it looks really good. It looks like a business application, and even though it does use WPF extensively (a few of the UI elements and obviously the databinding) it doesn't look cheesy as many other WPF applications. Good job!

    The only thing that looks a little strange is the grey bar between treeview and tabcontrol (I guess it's a grid splitter?); I think it would look better if it was just transparent. Maybe use a small icon or such in the middle to indicate it can be dragged.

    As for the databinding of the TabControl, I'm assuming you're using MVVM? So the TabControl is bound to a collection of viewmodels, and each type of viewmodel has a DataTemplate that tells the TabControl which view to use (the view is a UserControl)? I've recently been reading up on this techique and it works really well!

  37. #117

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    Re: The "What do you think of how my app looks" thread

    Yeah I really don't like the gridsplitter either and at some point I will try and make it look a bit nicer

    As for MVVM, I've never got round to looking into it so I have no idea if I am using MVVM or not lol but probably not :P basically the treeview (ResultsTree) is bound to a List(Of SomeClass) and then the tab control itself has its datacontext set like so (so that all bindings on controls within the tab control are relative to the instance of SomeClass that is currently selected in the treeview):
    Code:
    DataContext={Binding ElementName=ResultsTree,Path=SelectedItem}
    Then the controls on the tab pages use bindings like this:
    Code:
    <TextBlock Text={Binding Path=SomeProperty}>
    Where SomeProperty is a property of SomeClass.

    That XAML is all off the top of my head so might not be 100&#37; correct but you get the idea
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  38. #118
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    Re: The "What do you think of how my app looks" thread

    Here's my latest work, still a work in progress but I think it's coming along nicely



    It's a 'black box' application for a racing sim, basically you put it on a secondary monitor and it displays useful information during a race. The grid in the middle shows the drivers around you, drivers near to you are displayed larger so they are more easily seen. The colors indicate the type of car they are driving.

    Each 'toolwindow' is a dockable window and people can drag it around, resize it, etc. Each window is also a plugin, completely separate from the main app, and people can write their own plugins

    I've recently added a dropshadow underneath each of these windows, that looks very nice I think, but don't have a screenshot of that.

  39. #119
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    Re: The "What do you think of how my app looks" thread

    @Nick: I am not much satisfied with the colors in 2nd column (the "NR" one). Also, the display of rows with different font sizes, is somewhat not appealing to me. It's a bit hard to read those names which are under longer distances. Maybe, you could try a different styling. Say, automatically sort them based on the POS or something else.

    I liked it as whole.


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  40. #120
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    Re: The "What do you think of how my app looks" thread

    Quote Originally Posted by akhileshbc View Post
    @Nick: I am not much satisfied with the colors in 2nd column (the "NR" one). Also, the display of rows with different font sizes, is somewhat not appealing to me. It's a bit hard to read those names which are under longer distances. Maybe, you could try a different styling. Say, automatically sort them based on the POS or something else.

    I liked it as whole.

    The colors are the same as in the sim, so people know what they mean. As for the font sizes, you typically won't care about the drivers that far away from you, only those close to you. That's why I made them bigger. Also, you can now see them grow when they are aproaching you, so you get a kind of warning that a faster car is aproaching. In this case, the pink car is slow and the blue one is very fast, so this helps a lot in predicting when they will overtake you so you are not surprised. It actually works really well in practice!

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