Using Custom Visual States - Page 1
       by kirupa  |  11 September 2009

If the previous page got you started, in this and subsequent pages, we'll get into the details of creating the UserControl and the states.

Creating the UserControl
With the CustomVSM project currently opened in Blend, take a look at your artboard. You will see a small square (rectangle) towards the center of your application. Go ahead and select it with your mouse cursor:

[ select the square on your artboard ]

Currently, this square is simply a primitive shape. What we want to do is convert this square into a UserControl. With the square selected, press F8 or go to Tools | Make into UserControl. Once you have done this, the Make Into UserControl dialog will appear with a Name field prominently displayed.

Inside the Name field, give your UserControl the name ColorfulRectangle:

[ give your new UserControl the name ColorfulRectangle ]

After you have changed the name in the Name field, press OK to go ahead and turn your lowly rectangle into a less lowly UserControl. Once you have done this, you will see that a XAML file called ColorfulRectangle has been created and opened with your rectangle as its content:

[ your shape is now contained inside a UserControl ]

Great, you are now inside your UserControl editing the same rectangle that you were dealing with earlier in its non-UserControl form in your MainPage.xaml. The next step is to create some states.

Creating the States
Like I mentioned earlier, because this is not a built-in UserControl, no states are defined for you. You will have to define them yourself. From the list of tabbed panels displayed by default on the top-left of your Blend window, go ahead and display the States panel by clicking on the tab marked States:

[ click on the States panel to see where your States live ]

Right now, your States panel is going to look pretty empty. Let's fix that. First, add a new visual state group by clicking on the Add State Group button found on the top-right of your States pane:

[ click on the Add State Group button to add a new state group ]

Once you have clicked that button, a Base state along with a category for your visual state group will appear:

[ a Base state and a state group will appear ]

The category's default name will be VisualStateGroup, but let's make it a bit more descriptive by renaming it to the word Sizes:

[ rename your state group to the word Sizes ]

While the state group name will be highlighted by default once you add a new state group, if for some reason it isn't or you clicked elsewhere, simply double click on the state group name to be able to rename it.

A state group is basically a container for the various states you want to define. Outside of categorization for the states that will live inside it, it doesn't really do much, so let's move on and add some states.

 To a state, click on the Add State button found to the right of your state group header:

[ click on the Add State button to add a state ]

Once you have clicked on the Add State button, a new visual state will be created for you, and you will also automatically find yourself in the VisualState state recording mode:

[ behold, a new visual state is born! ]

Double click on the VisualState text and rename this state to Small:

[ rename your visual state to Small ]

Right now, your rectangle is pretty small as it is, so there is really nothing extra for you to do in the Small state. So, let's go ahead and add another state. Click on the Add State button again to add another visual state, and rename this new visual state to Large:

[ add a new visual state and call it Large ]

Unlike what you did (or didn't have to do) with the Small state, your rectangle currently selected on the artboard will need to made larger in this Large state. We cannot leave it in its current size unfortunately. With the Large state selected, as it should be right now, go to your artboard and make sure your rectangle is selected:

[ make sure your rectangle is selected ]

We want to make the rectangle larger evenly on all sides. You can do that by holding down the Shift and Alt modifier keys on your keyboard while resizing:

[ evenly resize your rectangle by holding down the Shift and Alt keys ]

Once you have made your rectangle larger, you are good to go with your Large state. You can tweak some of your rectangle's colors if you want, but those are all just layers of icing on a nicely frosted cake. As long as your rectangle is larger in the Large state when compared to its size in the Small state, things should be good.

You can compare how your rectangle looks now with what it looked like earlier by clicking between the Small and Large states in your States panel. If you click on the Small state, notice that your rectangle appears at its smaller, original size. When you click on the Large state, it appears at its larger size. This does not seem like much, but we are making progress.

Right now, you are not fully done customizing the states just yet. There is an all important set of properties that define our State transition that we haven't set, so let's do that on the next page!

Onwards to the next page!


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