Thinking Outside the Box – Using Programatic Animations in Silverlight

At the Atlanta Silverlight Firestarter a few months ago myself and Mason Brown did a talk ‘Lighting Up the UI’. At the end of the talk I ranted a bit trying to encourage developers to think outside of the box when approaching UI’s in Silverlight – to be open to creative ways in tackling new UI challenges. (You can find more on this talk in these posts on SilverlightAtlanta.net).

The example I went over in my example was a simple example of how to move an item from one ListBox to another. Most developers would look at this task the same way – they would remove the item being moved from the ‘from’ ListBox, and they would add the item to the ‘to’ ListBox. It would probably look something like this:

// get a handle on the item we are moving
ListBoxItem lbi = fromList.SelectedItem as ListBoxItem;
if (lbi == null)
    return;
 fromList.Items.Remove(lbi); // remove it from the 'from' list
toList.Items.Add(lbi); // add it to the 'to' list

When you work with designers and usability engineers you’ll often get challenged to do something which requires you to think outside the box. In this example the request is to get rid of the ‘popping’ between lists. The intent is to actually move the item, and show it moving from one list to the other – this is the sort of detail that can distinguish a standard app from a real user experience.

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