.Net, C#, Design, Material Design, UI, UX, WPF, xaml

Bending the WPF ProgressBar

There’s plenty progress loop controls around for WPF, but for Material Design In XAML Toolkit I really wanted to stick to “themeing” existing framework controls where-ever possible. Here’s examples of what were trying to achieve from Google’s own documentation, if you have an Android phone you’ll no doubt have seen these in action:

Before I tackled the style I spent a few weeks bouncing ideas around in my head.  To create the circular effect we’d have to dust off the trigonometry but I really wasn’t sure if I cold pull it all off inside a WPF Style, without creating a new control, or at least inheriting (yuck) from ProgressBar.  ProgressBar says it all.  It wasn’t really designed to go where I wanted it to go and whilst weighing things up I reflected into the ProgressBar.cs source:


//----------------------------------------------------------------------------
// File: ProgressBar.cs
//
// Description:
// Implementation of ProgressBar control.
//
// History:
// 06/28/2004 - t-sergin - Created
//
// Copyright (C) 2004 by Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
//
//---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Okaaaayyy…so using the ever flexible WPF we are still taking something from 2004 and trying to theme it using 2015 design trends.  Should be fun!  There are a few TemplatePart’s which the code it expects – to draw a standard bar – but fortunately the control is also gracious enough to operate without them.

To create the looping progress ring thingy a simple arc path should do the job:

<Path>
  <Path.Data>
    <PathGeometry>
      <PathFigure StartPoint="?">
        <ArcSegment Size="?" IsLargeArc="?" Point="?" SweepDirection="Clockwise" />
      </PathFigure>
    </PathGeometry>
  </Path.Data>
</Path> 

But you’ll see from the attributes with a ? we’ve got 4 values we’ve got to complete:

  • PathFigure.StartPoint: pretty simple, start the arc at the top, on the middle of the X axis
  • ArcSegment.Size: easy again, this is the radius, so half the size of the control
  • ArcSegment.IsLargeArc: to draw anything over 180deg, this needs to be set to true. We’ll need a multiple values to figure out if we are over half way through progress: ProgressBar.Minumum, .Maximum, .Value
  • ArcSegment.Point: This is where from the StartPoint we need to draw our arc around to. Again we’ll need ProgressBar.Minumum, .Maximum, .Value, and with the wonders of trigonometry we can figure this out.

No worries though, we can wrap all of these little calculations in a bunch of IValueConverter and IMultiValueConverter implementations.  In reality then, bending a straight progress bar into a circle is pretty simple.  The PathFigure – now, peppered with a bunch of value converters – looks a bit like this:


<PathFigure StartPoint="{Binding ElementName=PathGrid, Path=ActualWidth, Converter={StaticResource StartPointConverter}, Mode=OneWay}">
<ArcSegment Size="{Binding ElementName=PathGrid, Path=ActualWidth, Converter={StaticResource ArcSizeConverter}, Mode=OneWay}" SweepDirection="Clockwise">
<ArcSegment.IsLargeArc>
<MultiBinding Converter="{StaticResource LargeArcConverter}">
<Binding RelativeSource="{RelativeSource TemplatedParent}" Path="Value" />
<Binding RelativeSource="{RelativeSource TemplatedParent}" Path="Minimum" />
<Binding RelativeSource="{RelativeSource TemplatedParent}" Path="Maximum" />
<Binding ElementName="FullyIndeterminateGridScaleTransform" Path="ScaleX" />
</MultiBinding>
</ArcSegment.IsLargeArc>
<ArcSegment.Point>
<MultiBinding Converter="{StaticResource ArcEndPointConverter}">
<Binding ElementName="PathGrid" Path="ActualWidth" />
<Binding RelativeSource="{RelativeSource TemplatedParent}" Path="Value" />
<Binding RelativeSource="{RelativeSource TemplatedParent}" Path="Minimum" />
<Binding RelativeSource="{RelativeSource TemplatedParent}" Path="Maximum" />
<Binding ElementName="FullyIndeterminateGridScaleTransform" Path="ScaleX" />
</MultiBinding>
</ArcSegment.Point>
</ArcSegment>
</PathFigure>

(I don’t think WordPress wants to format that…)

We’re not done there though.  Material Design has extra animation flourishes to provide the extra pzazz.  If you look at the determinate loop in the video above, you’ll see that the whole ring is rotating in addition to drawing out the arc representing completion.  Something, a bit like this:

ProgressRingDoubleRotate

By applying a RotateTransform to the Path itself, and using yet another converter to calculate the rotation according to the percent of completion we can pretty close to the Google effect.


<Path.RenderTransform>
<TransformGroup>
<RotateTransform x:Name="RotateTransform" CenterX="{Binding ElementName=PathGrid, Path=ActualWidth, Converter={StaticResource RotateTransformCentreConverter}, Mode=OneWay}" CenterY="{Binding ElementName=PathGrid, Path=ActualWidth, Converter={StaticResource RotateTransformCentreConverter}, Mode=OneWay}">
<RotateTransform.Angle>
<MultiBinding Converter="{StaticResource RotateTransformConverter}">
<Binding RelativeSource="{RelativeSource TemplatedParent}" Path="Value" />
<Binding RelativeSource="{RelativeSource TemplatedParent}" Path="Minimum" />
<Binding RelativeSource="{RelativeSource TemplatedParent}" Path="Maximum" />
</MultiBinding>
</RotateTransform.Angle>
</RotateTransform>
</TransformGroup>
</Path.RenderTransform>

I’ve actually built further animation storyboards on top of this to try and get close to the indeterminate effect.  It’s not quite perfect yet, but close enough for what I released in version 1.0 of Material Design In XAML Toolkit.  Here’s a gif of how things were looking in that release:

Progress Loops

And, in keeping with my original challenge of staying close to the original .Net Framework controls, usage is pretty straight forward:


<ProgressBar Style="{StaticResource MaterialDesignCicularProgressBar}" Value="50" />

To see it in action run up the demo project which is part of the main source.

The actual final style can be found here:

https://github.com/ButchersBoy/MaterialDesignInXamlToolkit/blob/master/MaterialDesignThemes.Wpf/Themes/MaterialDesignTheme.ProgressBar.xaml

And – as there are a whole bunch of converters – they warrant their own namespace here:

https://github.com/ButchersBoy/MaterialDesignInXamlToolkit/tree/master/MaterialDesignThemes.Wpf/Converters/CircularProgressBar

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.Net, C#, Design, Material Design, UI, UX, WPF, xaml

Version 1.0 of Material Design In XAML has arrived!

Well, this project kinda came out of nowhere, but has proven to be pretty popular and I’ve really enjoyed getting it to this state: version 1.0!   It’s officially a non-alpha, non-beta, totally live thing!!

I’ve cranked up my contributions over the last month to push it over the line for its for first official release, recently adding runtime palette switching via the PaletteHelper/Swatch API, a new ColorZone control to help you design your layouts, and more granular control of ripples and shadows.  A few styles and animations have also been tweaked to really improve the look and feel.

To go with version one I’ve completely re-worked the demo app, as illustrated in the video.  It’s really worth checking, it might just give you some inspiration for your WPF apps!

And if you haven’t seen I recently launched a new home page for the project: materialdesigninxaml.net, which includes a Get Started section.

There’s still plenty more to come for both Material Design In XAML and Dragablz but I will be treating myself to a little break for a week or two!

Material Design, react.js, UI, UX

React.js and Material Design Lite

I’m a bit of a React.js fan lately, and with the arrival of Google’s Material Design Lite, I decided to combine them for a little project I’m throwing together.  Turns out to be pretty easy.  To simplify the Getting Started, you need to include a .css and .js file in your page:

<link rel="stylesheet" href="https://storage.googleapis.com/code.getmdl.io/1.0.0/material.grey-blue.min.css" />
<script src="https://storage.googleapis.com/code.getmdl.io/1.0.0/material.min.js"></script>

…and then show a Material Design button using the following class names:

<button class="mdl-button mdl-js-button mdl-button--raised mdl-button--accent mdl-js-ripple-effect">
  Button
</button>

The small gotcha for using templating techniques for dynamic pages such as with React.js is that for buttons, and other items, dynamically added you need to call a bit of script to upgrade the button:

//where button is your DOM element
componentHandler.upgradeElement(button, 'MaterialButton');

But when we come to create our React class, that’s easily handled in componentDidMount, leaving my Material Design Lite button class looking like this:

var MdlButton = React.createClass({
	handleClick: function() {
		this.props.onClick();	
	},
	render: function() {
		return (
			<button ref="btn" className="mdl-button mdl-js-button mdl-button--raised mdl-button--accent mdl-js-ripple-effect"
					onClick={this.handleClick}>
				{this.props.content}
			</button>
		);
	},
	componentDidMount: function() {
		componentHandler.upgradeElement(React.findDOMNode(this.refs.btn), 'MaterialButton');		
	} 
});

One small thing to note is the second arg to upgradeElement where we are passing in ‘MaterialButton’. As of now the docs aren’t overly clear on this, but it’s the name of the Javascript function object defined in the source. So, if we want to create a check box React class we can dig in to the Material Design Light source code in GitHub, and confirm that we’d pass ‘MaterialCheckbox’ into upgradeElement.

No doubt the community will provide a full library for this in time, but it doesn’t take much to combine these two libraries.

Design, Material Design, UI, UX

Open Sourcing a Logo

Open source doesn’t have to just apply to code.  I’ve been applying my XAML skills to Material Design In XAML Toolkit to help other developers quickly craft good looking user interfaces in WPF.  I’m pretty happy with the results, and in some of my own projects I’ve produced some striking applications using the toolkit.  Despite doing this, I readily admit I’m no designer.  For such a visually focused code library I really wanted a logo, but knew I could never do the task justice.

So I threw the task out to the community.

I created an issue on GitHub, tweeted a bit, posted on Reddit.  And waited.  Pretty much bang on 2 weeks later a result came back from a young guy called Sam, and I’m really happy with it:

Material Design In XAML Toolkit

Sam or “snalty” can be found on Twitter, and you can see some of his other designs on his blog.

In summary, a great bit of collaboration helping to push Material Design In XAML Toolkit further along.

.Net, C#, Material Design, UI, UX, WPF, xaml

Material Design Themed TimePicker and Clock Controls for WPF

I’ve managed to get the existing WPF controls; DatePicker & Calendar themed as part of Material Design in XAML Toolkit as described in this blog post.

But the fun part was cranking a couple of brand new controls to build the Material Design time picker experience:

  • TimePicker
  • Clock

These are sibling controls to the existing DatePicker and Calendar controls.  I wanted to keep the API experience similar so you can dive straight in without any kind of learning curve.  The Clock can be used in isolation, or use the DatePicker for an easy picker/popup/drop down behaviour.

Here’s a static glimpse at the picker:

Material Design Time Picker

And here’s a gif of the clock in action:

Material Design Clock Demo

There’s nothing complicated about using these, but you will need to get Material Design In XAML Toolkit referenced and set up in your app. Follow the initial tutorial, and head over to GitHub to download the source/examples project.

.Net, C#, Material Design, UI, UX, WPF, xaml

Material Design DatePicker/Calendar Style for WPF

Howdi,

After a bit of toil I have the DatePicker and Calendar WPF control styles done for Material Design in XAML Toolkit. I hope you guys like it!

(Edit: TimePicker & Clock now also available, blogged here)
Material Design templates for DatePicker/Calendar primitive controls.
Material Design templates for DatePicker/Calendar primitive controls.

Please note that the behaviour is not quite identical to that which you might see on Android. These are templates for the existing WPF DatePicker and Calendar primitive controls, and thus, some of the behaviour around month/year selection is driven by the nature of those controls. There is no modal dialog, as I don’t want these templates to get confused with any requirement/API used to manage dialogs in WPF.

I must say that I believe that it is testament to the original design of WPF/XAML – which is now a mature technology – that I could slot these styles in pretty much seamlessly for a control whose code base is around 8 years old. Note that some extra code has gone in to the Material Design Toolkit, bit this is wrapped inside the new templates and thus if you consume these templates you need never concern yourself with it.

Getting started:

If you haven’t taken a look at Material Design in XAML Toolkit yet (or indeed Dragablz) here is a blog post to get started, or download the source from GitHub and fire up the demo projects:

  • MaterialDesignColors.WpfExample
  • MahMaterialDragablzMashUp

Thanks due:

.Net, C#, Material Design, UI, UX, WPF, xaml

Material Design In XAML – Mash Up!

I have previously posted about the Material Design theme for Dragablz.  In this post I will describe how I arrived at this application mock-up, by combining Dragablz, Material Design in XAML Toolkit, and MahApps:

Material Design Demo
Material Design Demo

My initial task when creating that style was to create a separate, and composable way to define the Material Design colour palette for your application.  Making the separation between the colours and the Dragablz Material Design theme immediately paid benefit.  Being a big fan of MahApps and I was easily able to take things a step further and use the palette in conjunction with a MahApps MetroWindow. Encouraging MahApps to pick up my Material Design palette turned out to be easy because of the way the MahApps guys had also separated out their accents.  Very quickly, I had a MahApps MetroWindow up and running, using MahApps themed controls, the Dragablz Material Design theme, and all of which were using the Material Design palette.  It looked pretty good straight away.

I’ve previously posted on how to choose a Material Design palette, but for a refresher, take a look at this App.xaml.

In addition to the Material Design palette, you need to set a base theme; light or dark.  So add this resource dictionary to your App.xaml:

<ResourceDictionary Source="pack://application:,,,/MaterialDesignThemes.Wpf;component/Themes/MaterialDesignTheme.Light.xaml" />  

Getting MahApps to use the Material Design palette only takes a few extra lines in your App.xaml.  Firstly, merge in some of the usual MahApps dictionaries:

<ResourceDictionary Source="pack://application:,,,/MahApps.Metro;component/Styles/Controls.xaml" />
<ResourceDictionary Source="pack://application:,,,/MahApps.Metro;component/Styles/Fonts.xaml" />
<ResourceDictionary Source="pack://application:,,,/MahApps.Metro;component/Styles/Colors.xaml" />
<ResourceDictionary Source="pack://application:,,,/MahApps.Metro;component/Styles/Accents/BaseLight.xaml" />

Then, where you specify the primary Material Design colour, setup the MahApps brushes, but instead of pulling in one of the MahApps accent dictionaries, configure them manually, to use the Material Design palette:

<SolidColorBrush x:Key="HighlightBrush" Color="{StaticResource Primary700}" options:Freeze="True" />
<SolidColorBrush x:Key="AccentColorBrush" Color="{StaticResource Primary500}" options:Freeze="True" />
<SolidColorBrush x:Key="AccentColorBrush2" Color="{StaticResource Primary400}" options:Freeze="True" />
<SolidColorBrush x:Key="AccentColorBrush3" Color="{StaticResource Primary300}" options:Freeze="True" />
<SolidColorBrush x:Key="AccentColorBrush4" Color="{StaticResource Primary200}" options:Freeze="True" />
<SolidColorBrush x:Key="WindowTitleColorBrush" Color="{StaticResource Primary700}" options:Freeze="True" />
<SolidColorBrush x:Key="AccentSelectedColorBrush" Color="{StaticResource Primary500Foreground}" options:Freeze="True" />

For a complete example see this App.xaml.

Any controls added to your Window (or Dragablz TabablzControl) will now default to MahApps styles, but use the Material Design palette, leaving your application looking pretty good. Having got to this point myself, I couldn’t help but start playing around a bit further with some Material Design. I created a list box with a few cards and the result looked pretty promising:

MaterialDesignEarlyPrototype

It wasn’t long before I went even further and started styling a whole bunch of controls, and ended up with these:

MaterialDesignDemo2

I’ve packaged all these themes (and will continue to add to) on NuGet:

Install-Package MaterialDesignThemes

Where appropriate in your app you can include one or more of the contained resource dictionaries and use the Material Design style for a control in place of the MahApps. All of your other controls will still use the MahApps themes, meaning your application should always look great. A thorough-bred mash-up 🙂

To select the appropriate resource dictionary and style name the best thing to do is download the source/demo solution from GitHub and run the two projects in the solution:

  • MahMaterialDragablzMashUp
  • MaterialDesignColors.WpfExample

Or, take a look at this MainWindow.cs.

Hope that all helps you get a good looking application up and running quickly!

As an end note I must mention this great piece of styling in WinForms, which inspired me to create the Material Design theme for Dragablz in the first place.