Tired of generic, ‘fifty shades of grey’ business desktop software?
We’ve all used them; applications that look like children of the 90s: a series of differently sized grey rectangles, devoid of any colour or company-specific styling, with little to distinguish them from other applications. Well, there is another way.
Enter Windows Presentation Foundation
A customer asked us to rewrite their existing suite of generic, grey, conventional desktop applications (which, incidentally, were developed by another company), and stipulated that they wanted the UI to be “radically different”. Could radically different be achieved with WinForms? Perhaps, but at the expense of creating lots of code to create custom controls.
Wouldn’t it be nice to change the fundamental look of a control, using XML-like configuration, beyond simply changing its colour; perhaps a button that symbolises some artefact of your business? What about adding sophistication to your application with the use of animations? Instead of popup windows appearing abruptly, they could smoothly fade into view. Enter Windows Presentation Foundation.
Creating a radically different, company-specific application
Once Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) was selected as the technology, the only limitation to meeting our customer’s remit was imagination. So, what would make our customer’s new application look radically different?
The fifty shades of grey were replaced with the customer’s company colours blue and white, and the company’s logo was added to each module view. A module selection view was created with elliptical buttons to reflect the shape of the company’s logo. Corners were rounded. Drop shadows added. Linear gradient effects applied to add sophistication and style. Already the application was starting to look like a child of the 21st century!
What about the menu system; we’re all familiar with the conventional top-of-screen menu system, but why follow convention? To deliver a cleaner UI and provide more screen real estate, all menus were implemented as context menus accessed with a right-click of the mouse.
To tab or not to tab, that is the question. Applications that implement a tabbed control limit the user’s experience by only presenting a single view at a time. Why not allow the user to access multiple views simultaneously? Enter the Expander control. By presenting tabular data in a number of Expanders, a fluid layout was achieved that allows our customer to view and access data from multiple views at once.
WPF applications for desktop, web and mobile
The beauty of WPF is that Silverlight web applications and Windows Store applications are built using the same technology. So, if you need a fresh, modern-looking application for desktop, web or mobile use, Symbiosys Business Solutions can help.