In the past two weeks, including a lunch meeting with an MVP yesterday, I have ran into developers that don’t take advantage of the productivity features in the Visual Studio 2010 WPF and Silverlight Designer. They told me they didn’t realize the Designer was a good tool now.
As you know, I’m a die-hard XAML Head, I love .NET’s other first class language, XAML.
Just know that the Designer has come so far in this release, you should do yourself a favor and use it. By the way, since you paid for Visual Studio 2010, you need to get your money’s worth in productivity gains.
Below are some of the Designer features I really like:
- No more quadrant algorithm; that annoyance of the Designer trying to help you too much; gone!
- Designer Context Menu
- Reset layout makes it super fast to set a control to consume space provided by parent
- Grid has Row/Column Insert, Move and Delete
- Margin, Edge, Text Baseline snap lines and adorners
- Grid rail adorner allows setting height/width (Star, Auto or Pixel sizing)
- Designer highlights the drop target when dragging and dropping
Properties Window Features
Note: These features work in the XAML Editor view also, provided you loaded the designer. See my post here, read the section “Binding Builder in XAML View, it explains about Designer loading.
- Binding Builder
- Resource Picker
- Image Picker
- Extract Value to Resource
- Go To Definition
- Much improved collection editors
- Brush Editor
- Three ways to sort, Alpha, Category, Value Source (displays locally set properties at the top)
Data Sources Window Features
If you are a Data Sources Window person, watch these three videos and read the next two blog posts. This will really help you get the most from the Data Sources Window.
TechEd 2010: Rocky Lhotka, Using the MVVM Design Pattern with the Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 XAML Designer
TechEd 2010: Cider Team, Making the Most of the Microsoft Silverlight and WPF Designer in Microsoft Visual Studio 2010
Cider Team: Lap around the WPF Designer creating a data bound application
Cider Blog: Create WPF Master – Detail UI Using Data Sources Window Object DataSource
Cider Blog: Create Silverlight Master – Detail UI Using Data Sources Window Object DataSource
You can easily extend the current WPF or Silverlight control design-times or write great design-time experiences for your controls. I have blogged about doing this here.
WPF and Silverlight Designer Team Blog (Cider Team)
You can stay current with techniques and updates by checking out the Cider Team blog.
Don’t forget to keep your Designer up-to-date. You do this in two ways; by installing new versions of Silverlight Tools for Visual Studio 2010 and installing any service packs when they come out.
Silverlight Tools for Visual Studio updates the Designer, so even if you don’t currently developer Silverlight applications, you need to install this update.
You can read about the latest Silverlight Tools for Visual Studio here.
Have a great day,
Just a grain of sand on the worlds beaches.