Jerry Nixon @Work: Use Expression Design to create a Windows 8 ‘Ratings’ control

Jerry Nixon on Windows

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Use Expression Design to create a Windows 8 ‘Ratings’ control

imageIf you are not aware of Expression Design, you are missing a powerful tool in your toolbox. Expression Design allows designers and developers to create original vector assets or edit existing, including those created in other tools (like those from Adobe).

An update to Expression Design 4 was recently released. You can download the June 2012 preview here. (learn more) As the capabilities of Design continue to bloom, in this article we’ll use the basic functions to create a vector-based ratings solution that anyone can add to their Windows application.
Note: Design is in the same family as Blend, which I discuss here.

Why ratings?

So, I am on the team creating the a Windows 8 reference application. Soon, we will release this for developers to consume. The app is a mash up of various services providing restaurant data. These include user ratings. As a result, I needed to figure out how to display ratings in a XAML app. This is the result of that effort. And I think my learning is useful to anyone wanting to use Design, XAML, or show ratings in their application. It’s sophisticated but pretty straight forward.

As it turns out, blog articles, news articles, user, questions, restaurants – so many things include ratings. This solution is an approach. Don’t take my code – just follow my technique. As it turns out, with so many ratings and rating-like data, this might speak right to you. Remember, if you use my stuff, send me an email and let me know. I love to hear from you guys.

Here we go

In the video above, I go through the scenario – take a dream and make it visually real in Design, export it into XAML and leverage that XAML in my application like a control. The core takeaway is how easily Design let me accomplish what would have been a manual nightmare. With Blend and Design, XAML and HTML developers have a suite of assets in their toolbox.

Best of luck!