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.

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

How to use the Material Design theme with Dragablz Tab Control

In this post I will demonstrate how to – very quickly – combine Dragablz and MaterialDesignColors in WPF to create a great looking control which supports full tear out and can use the Google Material Design colour palette.

Dragablz Tab Contrtol and Material Design
Dragablz Tab Contrtol and Material Design

Start a new WPF project.  We rely on two NuGet packages, so get them installed straight away.  Install from the Package Manager tool in Visual Studio, or, from the NuGet console run these commands:

Install-Package Dragablz
Install-Package MaterialDesignColors

In the MainWindow.xaml, setup a simple usage of Dragablz TabablzControl:

<Window x:Class="MaterialDesignTabExample.MainWindow"
        xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/winfx/2006/xaml/presentation"
        xmlns:x="http://schemas.microsoft.com/winfx/2006/xaml"
        xmlns:dragablz="clr-namespace:Dragablz;assembly=Dragablz"
        Title="Material Design Demo" Height="350" Width="525">
    <dragablz:TabablzControl>
        <dragablz:TabablzControl.InterTabController>
            <dragablz:InterTabController />
        </dragablz:TabablzControl.InterTabController>
        <TabItem Header="HELLO">
            <TextBlock HorizontalAlignment="Center" VerticalAlignment="Center">Hello World</TextBlock>
        </TabItem>
        <TabItem Header="MATERIAL">
            <TextBlock HorizontalAlignment="Center" VerticalAlignment="Center">Material Design</TextBlock>
        </TabItem>
        <TabItem Header="DESIGN">
            <TextBlock HorizontalAlignment="Center" VerticalAlignment="Center">Looks Quite Nice</TextBlock>
        </TabItem>
    </dragablz:TabablzControl>
</Window>

Already if you run this project you will have a tab control that supports Chrome-style tearing out of tabs. But it wont look too good. So, the next step is to bring in the Material Design colours, and tell Dragablz to use the Material Design style.

Open up your App.xaml. We have to merge in three dictionaries.  The first two are to set up your Material Design colour palette.  The MaterialDesignColors assembly contains a ResourceDictionary for each color (a collection of hues and accents).  To create a full palette we need to bring in a primary colour, set up some hue brushes, and then bring in a secondary color for our accent color.  The third resource dictionary is to include the Dragablz theme for Material Design.  Finally we instruct our tab control to use the correct style.

Don’t worry, it’s not too complicated.  The full App.xaml is below:

<Application x:Class="MaterialDesignColors.WpfExample.App"
             xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/winfx/2006/xaml/presentation"
             xmlns:x="http://schemas.microsoft.com/winfx/2006/xaml"
             xmlns:dragablz="clr-namespace:Dragablz;assembly=Dragablz"
             StartupUri="MainWindow.xaml">
    <Application.Resources>
        <ResourceDictionary>
            <ResourceDictionary.MergedDictionaries>
                <!-- primary color -->
                <ResourceDictionary>
                    <!-- include your primary palette -->
                    <ResourceDictionary.MergedDictionaries>
                        <ResourceDictionary Source="pack://application:,,,/MaterialDesignColors;component/Themes/MaterialDesignColor.Indigo.xaml" />
                    </ResourceDictionary.MergedDictionaries>
                    <!--
                            include three hues from the primary palette (and the associated forecolours).
                            Do not rename, keep in sequence; light to dark.
                        -->
                    <SolidColorBrush x:Key="PrimaryHueLightBrush" Color="{StaticResource Primary100}"/>
                    <SolidColorBrush x:Key="PrimaryHueLightForegroundBrush" Color="{StaticResource Primary100Foreground}"/>
                    <SolidColorBrush x:Key="PrimaryHueMidBrush" Color="{StaticResource Primary500}"/>
                    <SolidColorBrush x:Key="PrimaryHueMidForegroundBrush" Color="{StaticResource Primary500Foreground}"/>
                    <SolidColorBrush x:Key="PrimaryHueDarkBrush" Color="{StaticResource Primary700}"/>
                    <SolidColorBrush x:Key="PrimaryHueDarkForegroundBrush" Color="{StaticResource Primary700Foreground}"/>
                </ResourceDictionary>

                <!-- secondary colour -->
                <ResourceDictionary>
                    <!-- include your secondary pallette -->
                    <ResourceDictionary.MergedDictionaries>
                        <ResourceDictionary Source="pack://application:,,,/MaterialDesignColors;component/Themes/MaterialDesignColor.Yellow.xaml" />
                    </ResourceDictionary.MergedDictionaries>

                    <!-- include a single secondary accent color (and the associated forecolour) -->
                    <SolidColorBrush x:Key="SecondaryAccentBrush" Color="{StaticResource Accent200}"/>
                    <SolidColorBrush x:Key="SecondaryAccentForegroundBrush" Color="{StaticResource Accent200Foreground}"/>
                </ResourceDictionary>

                <!-- Include the Dragablz Material Design style -->
                <ResourceDictionary Source="pack://application:,,,/Dragablz;component/Themes/materialdesign.xaml"/>                

            </ResourceDictionary.MergedDictionaries>

            <!-- tell Dragablz tab control to use the Material Design theme -->
            <Style TargetType="{x:Type dragablz:TabablzControl}" BasedOn="{StaticResource MaterialDesignTabablzControlStyle}" />
        </ResourceDictionary>
    </Application.Resources>
</Application>

And that’s it. Fire up your baby and you are done. You can change the colours by changing the two colour resource dictionaries which are referenced. You can also tweak the hues, but do not change the brush names.  Dragablz will be looking for these.

Links:

Enjoy!