ARTICLE

How to Quickly Build Attractive Mobile UI in VS

Posted by Resco Articles | Mobile & Embedded December 01, 2009
Every developer wishes his application was not only efficient but also attractive, full of beautiful graphical elements and easy to operate. It is definitely one of the most important factors deciding whether the app will be commercially successful or not.
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Every developer wishes his application was not only efficient but also attractive, full of beautiful graphical elements and easy to operate. It is definitely one of the most important factors deciding whether the app will be commercially successful or not.

However, designing graphically attractive app is rather a job for the graphic designer than for the developer. Visual Studio, in this context, does not dispose of appropriate tools for designing icons or any other graphical elements. Moreover, graphical design can be considered a kind of art and cannot be done by anyone. Based on our experience, the developer is not the right person to do the graphical design. On the other hand, not every developer can afford hiring the graphic designer. The other fact to consider is the specifics of mobile environment, especially in context of designing mobile application where perfect experience is crucial.

A slick solution in this case can be Themes. The Themes provide the developers with handy tips how to design various components suitable for mobile applications development.

Numeric keyboard

A good example is a situation when the developer needs to design and develop a numeric software keyboard that can be easily operated by a finger. This is a classic case, as there are only a few mobile devices with built-in hardware keyboard. Furthermore, the standard software keyboard is relatively uneasy to operate and is not optimized for numeric data-input.

To solve this case, we will use Resco CustomKeyboard control which is part of the suite of components Resco MobileForms Toolkit.

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After the control Resco CustomKeyboard is added to the form's desktop, a list with an item Themes shows up in the right upper corner. When the selection is made, a dialog appears enabling Themes that can be applied to this particular component including screen shots.

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When the numeric keyboard is selected and confirmed by clicking "Apply" button, the keyboard is applied immediately to the component and forms and can be used in the application straight away.

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By following a similar scenario, we can use alphanumeric keyboard with keys large enough to be operated by a finger.

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Customer List

Another example is a form typical for almost every business application - Customer List. In this case, an ideal component to use is Resco AdvancedList for .NET CF. Its features make it a perfect match for utilization described above and fulfills all standards and trends of current mobile apps. Nevertheless, to design such Customer List component is not an easy task. It often requires cooperation of the developer with graphic designer. In our case, we use the Theme that is easily applicable in a same way as in the CustomKeyboard case.

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Naturally, the requirements of each developer vary. On the other hand, the Theme can serve as a prototype or inspiration that can be modified and customized in the Visual Studio designer. The rest of the work - to add functionality in C# or Visual Basic - is up to the person that is fully qualified for it - the developer.

To sum it up

In a current business situation, the work effectiveness is a key success factor. The same applies to software engineering as well. Therefore, the developers shall rather focus on development than waste time by performing activities that are out of their scope.

The Themes described above help not only the developers to make their work more efficient but can serve as inspiration for graphic designers.

About Resco MobileForms Toolkit

Resco MobileForms Toolkit is one of the richest and most comprehensive sets of Microsoft Visual Studio controls and libraries designed for developers of software solutions for mobile devices. In its portfolio there are controls and libraries that tackle most problems developers encounter in the mobile environment. Flexible keyboard, professional list control, powerful grid control, charting control, and scheduling control - to mention only the most frequently used ones.

For more information about Resco MobileForms Toolkit, visit http://www.resco.net/developer/mobileformstoolkit/default.aspx.

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