Graphical user interfaces are rife with popups and messages springing from every direction in order to notify users of important information. The Windows Phone 7 experience is no different and RadWindow is here to provide this functionality. Currently the toolkit for windows phone development provides a Popup control out of the box, so why bother writing a window from scratch? The main reason is that the stock popup is not hardware accelerated, that is, animations on UI elements displayed on it are executed on the UI thread, it doesn’t matter if the animation is a simple double animation, if you are only using light rectangular clips and all the other performance improvement tricks. All animations are executed by the CPU which on the phone can very often be detrimental to the smooth user experience that Windows Phone 7 was designed to provide.
RadWindow provides hardware acceleration by using a simple trick which most people familiar with popup implementations in Silverlight are aware of. It transparently inserts a canvas into the root panel which does not occupy any space and makes optimal use of the fact that Canvas does not clip its child elements. This allows developers to position the canvas elements at an arbitrary point on the screen via the well-known Canvas attached properties Canvas.Top and Canvas.Left.
Beside the hardware acceleration RadWindow provides a simple API that allows relative positioning of the window content as well as absolute positioning. Size can be controlled via the WindowSizeMode property which can be AutoSize and FitToPlacementTarget and also with the IsFullScreen property which takes priority over WindowSizeMode and stretches the content of the window over the whole screen.
RadWindow also makes use of the Telerik Animation Framework and provides easy setting of open and close animations via the OpenAnimation and CloseAnimation properties. Currently there is a little quirk in these properties which forces users to use RadAnimation.Empty instead of null in order to remove the open or close animation but the reasoning behind this will be a blog post of its own.
For a hands on with RadWindow be sure to check our examples application which is included in the CTP of RadControls For Windows Phone. The Windows Phone 7 Developer Tools are required in order to run the examples application.
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