Wednesday, May 20, 2009

How to Create a Sivlerlight Fly Out Panel

-Note: This example is built on Silverlight 2.0




Using fly out panels is a good way to add a touch of animation to applications while also increasing the amount of available browser real estate. In this post, I will show you how to create a basic fly out panel using Expression Blend and minimal C# code. The progression depicted in the images above begins with the panel will out of view except for its right border. When the border is clicked, the panel will fly into view. Clicking the panel again causes the panel to return to its hidden position.

Level of Difficulty: clip_image006 Easy


1. Create a New Silverlight application in Blend and name it FlyOutPanelBlend.

2. Set the Height and Width of the UserControl to Auto

a. Open Page.xaml by double clicking on it on the Project tab.

b. Select the [UserControl] node on the Objects and Timeline panel.

c. In the Properties tab, go to the Layout section and Change the Width and Height properties from their defaults, 640 and 480, to Auto.

This can be done by either typing the “Auto” in the appropriate textboxes, or by clicking the Set to Auto button clip_image009 to the right of each textbox.

3. After setting the Width and Height to Auto, the UserControl will be too small for laying out the user interface using the designer in Blend. To fix this, change the design time Height and Width properties of the UserControl.

a. Select the [UserControl] node on the Objects and Timeline panel.

b. Three extra handles are displayed around the UserControl, one on the bottom, one on the right, and one on the bottom right hand corner. These are used to click and drag in order to modify the design time Width and Height of the UserControl. Click and drag the triangle handle on the bottom right hand corner down and to the right. Notice that as you drag small labels display the values for the design time Height and Width.


c. To modify these values with greater accuracy, click on the Split view to show the designer and the XAML code simultaneously.

d. When dragging the handles for the design time Width and Height, Blend adds several extra attributes to the UserControl element telling it to display the user control in design time at the appropriate Width and Height. Change the d:DesignWidth value to 1024 and the d:DesignHeight property to 768. Note: The XAML show below has been formatted for easier reading.

e. Set the background color of the main grid by selecting the grid LayoutRoot on the Objects and Timeline panel. In the Properties tab, select the Background property and set it to a solid color brush by selecting the second sub-tab (Solid color brush), and choosing black from the color picker.


f. Right click on the Grid icon clip_image019 on the toolbox to show other panel control options. Select Border from the list to hide options. The Grid icon has now been replaced with the Border icon. Double click on the Border icon to place a Border object inside the LayoutRoot grid.

g. Set the background color of the border and name it bdrMenu by selecting the border on the Objects and Timeline panel. In the Properties tab, set the Name property to bdrMenu and select the Background property and set it to a solid color brush by selecting the second sub-tab (Solid color brush), and choosing white from the color picker.

h. Now stretch the border vertically to fill the entire height of the window. Do this by going to the Layout panel in the Properties tab and setting the Height property to Auto clip_image009[1] and the VerticalAlignment property to Stretch.


i. Change the width of the border to 200 and give it rounded corners on the tob and bottom right corners by setting the CornerRadius to “0,10,0,10” (top left, top right, bottom left, bottom right).

j. Place a title on top of the menu by double clicking on the TextBlock icon clip_image025 in the toolbox. This will place a textblock inside bdrMenu. If a TextBlock does not appear inside the Border, undo the last action (Ctrl+Z) and make sure the bdrMenu was selected in the Objects and Timeline panel before double clicking the TextBlock icon.

k. In the Properties panel, give the TextBlock the following properties: Text=”Menu”, FontSize=”22”, HorizontalAlignment=”Center”, and VerticalAlignment=”Top”.

l. Move the menu almost entirely off the screen, leaving the right border visible. To do this, select bdrMenu on the Objects and Timeline panel. Then, Properties tab, go to the Transform panel and set the value next to the X to -180. This will give the border a TranslateTransform with a value of -180 for the X property.

m. Create a new Storyboard for animating the panel into view. In the Objects and Timeline panel, click the New Storyboard buttonclip_image029 and name it ShowPanel.


n. You will see a timeline appear. Drag the yellow line to .5 seconds and select bdMenu on the Objects and Timeline panel.

o. Set the TranslateTransform’s X value to 0 in the Translate panel of the Properties tab. This will cause the panel to be visible after half a second whenever the storyboard is played. When making this change, you should see the property recorded in the timeline with a little sphere on the .5 marker. If you wish to make the animation take longer or shorter than .5 seconds, simply drag it left or right accordingly.


p. Expand the dropdown menu by the New Storyboard button by clicking the
triangle and select Duplicate.

q. This will create a copy of the previously created storyboard. Expand this same menu again and choose Reverse. Expand the menu once again and choose Rename. Rename the storyboard to HidePanel.
Generated Xaml

4. Open Page.xaml.cs in Visual Studio and add an AddEventHandlers method in the constructor. In the implementation of AddEventHandlers, assign a new event handler to the MouseLeftButtonDown event of bdrMenu.

5. Add a private member variable of type bool named _hidden. This will be used to keep track of the state of the panel. If the panel is hidden, this value will be set to true, otherwise it will be set to false.

6. In the event handler, create a conditional statement. If _hidden is true, begin the ShowPanel storyboard and set the _hidden flag to false. Conversely, if _hidden is false, begin the HidePanel storyboard and set the _hidden flag to true.

7. Finally, clean up the unnecessary using statements from the top of the file only keeping using System.Windows.Controls; and using System.Windows.Input;.