Windows Phone Toolkit - September 2012 Release

A few astute people (@Patric68@scottisafool) have noticed that we pushed out the September 2012 release of the Windows Phone Toolkit.  This was a soft launch, quietly pushed out because we’ve been going like crazy with bug fixes, prepping for Build and doing a whole host of things and I really wanted to get a build out that had the latest fixes and improvements without blocking on all the paperwork. That’s agile baby!

What’s New


It’s now just the “Windows Phone Toolkit”.  Honestly “Silverlight for Windows Phone Toolkit” was too much of a mouthful and new developers targeting Windows Phone often don’t know of the Silverlight underpinnings.  We’re slowly transitioning all branding in the source to the shorter version.


Sample CustomMessageBox Image

CustomMessageBox is a new control that makes it easy to create, well, custom message boxes that look and feel just like the default ones on the phone.  I did a little write-up of it last week in my blog post, “Welcome CustomMessageBox to the Windows Phone Toolkit”.


Sample Rating Control Image

Rating is another new control that does exactly what it says, provides a rating control that matches the Windows Phone UI.  Expect a blog post on using it soon but it as always you can see it in action by downloading the sample application from CodePlex.

Transition Effects

There are new transition effects that make it even easier to match the Windows Phone UX.

  • SlideInEffect – Ever notice when you’re in a Pivot or Panorama on the phone in one of the native experiences , say the People Hub, how the items in a list slide in on a separate animation as you swipe back and forth?  It’s subtle but adds a nice level of polish to the whole experience and now it’s super easy to add to your application as well.  There is a new attached property, toolkit:SlideInEffect that you set on each item in your DataTemplate that controls the order in which elements slide in:
        <StackPanel Margin="0,0,0,17" Width="432">
            <TextBlock Text="{Binding LineOne}" 
                       Style="{StaticResource PhoneTextExtraLargeStyle}"/>
            <TextBlock Text="{Binding LineTwo}" 
                       Style="{StaticResource PhoneTextAccentStyle}"
            <TextBlock Text="{Binding LineTwo}" 
                       Style="{StaticResource PhoneTextSubtleStyle}"
  • FeatherTransition – Another common effect seen on Windows Phone is a “feathering” in of the controls on a page such as when you launch the mail app.  Notice how the items on the page feather in from top to bottom.
    <StackPanel Grid.Row="0" Margin="12,17,0,28">
        <TextBlock Text="{StaticResource ApplicationTitle}" 
                    Style="{StaticResource PhoneTextNormalStyle}"
        <TextBlock Text="turnstilefeathereffect" 
                    Style="{StaticResource PhoneTextTitle1Style}"

Distribution / Installation

We’ve taken a new approach to distribution this time and gone “all-in” on NuGet as the official way to install the toolkit.  We’ll no longer be supporting an MSI-based installer as it’s not very maintainable or discoverable.  NuGet is built into Visual Studio 2012 and is fast becoming the de-facto standard for installing packages and if you haven’t already installed the plug-in for Visual Studio 2010 I highly recommend it.

As always you can still either download the source as a zip or from the source control on CodePlex and compiling the assembly yourself.

Bug Fixes

No release is complete without bug fixes and we have roughly 25 of the top user voted bugs fixed in this release.


As always we love feedback, bug reports, creative uses and ideas.  We have more plans for the toolkit in the near future as well so stay tuned!

  • Juan Perez

    Great job! I’d like to see an easy to implement Continuum transition. I’d also like a TextBox that feels native: like the Messages app, where you can type and then scroll the whole page, as well as keep the page title in view. And finally, fix the size limit of the content on the TextBox (after you write a lot, content starts disappearing).

    • Shawn Oster

      Thanks Juan! A few things

      * Continuum transition, got it, I’ve added that to our list of needed effects (did you also file the CodePlex feature request on this?)
      * To achieve the effect of typing into a TextBox while still being able to scroll the whole page you’ll need to put it into a ScrollViewer, Let me know if you’d like some sample code.
      * I believe the size limit you’re talking about is anything rendered greater than 2k x 2k pixels? That is sadly a limit of the HW graphics compositor, where it can’t handle any single surface larger than 2k x 2k in dimensions. A possible solution would be implement an internal tiling solution to work around this but it didn’t make it for Mango. I know this is frustrating and it’s on the list of issues to address.

  • Brendan Arnold

    Really like the CustomMessageBox, however when I put anything inside the callback assigned to the Dismiss event, it raises an error when it contains anything referring to anything in the enclosing class scope i.e. NavigationService, or a member of the enclosing class - see

    Am I doing something wrong?

    • Shawn Oster

      Looking at your stackoverflow question it looks like you ended up figuring this out? That there was an older toolkit reference hanging out in your application? Let me know if you’re still having issue and we’ll get to the bottom of it. Glad you like the control btw!

  • Quinn Damerell

    I can’t get the Slide Effect to work for the life of me. Is there anything special that needs to be done to use it beyond adding the toolkit: tag to the element?

  • Scott

    Hi! I am looking for help with the Slide Effect - my page1 slides left, then I see a little black (this depends on the windows background color it seems), and then page2 slides right in. How can I make the slide transition, so that it looks like page1 and page2 is next to each other while the slide happen?
    I am using WP8, WPToolkit.