Tuesday, May 01, 2012

YLAD (Your Last [WP7] About Dialog) v2 released

Mister Goodcat - Version 2 of YLAD released

"I've released version 2.0 of my open source component "Your Last About Dialog". This major new release adds full styling support to the about page, which gives you complete control over the visual appearance of the component. This not only includes simple details like foreground and background colors, font sizes and styles, but also much more sophisticated things like the possibility to add page transitions from the Silverlight Toolkit, or control the visibility of the system tray and other details.

Version 2 also improves the install experience from NuGet by integrating some quick start help, to get you up and running in only a minute, without the need to study the documentation separately. As always, installing from NuGet is the recommended way, but you can of course also download the binaries and source code from CodePlex if you want. To learn about the new features in more detail, consult the "Styling" section of the documentation. The default styles that are created for you when you install the NuGet package also contains some pointers and comments on what you can do.

..." [GD: Post Leach Level: 99%]

Your Last About Dialog, 2.0.0

Are you tired of recreating the same about dialog logic and content for each Windows Phone app every time? "Your Last About Dialog" is a robust and generic, highly configurable implementation you can easily pull into your own app and set up for your needs. It is able to pull most data from your application automatically, supports fetching both text and Xaml content from remote sources (with fallback local content), and allows styling as well as localization of the complete dialog content to all of the languages supported by your app.

Your Last About Dialog - Documentation

Creating an about dialog, or something comparable, is mandatory for a Windows Phone app. In the technical certification requirements (5.6) you are required to include "easily discoverable" information about the application name, version and technical support contact options. On the other hand, statistics show that the about or help screen of an application is one of the least used features of apps (some claim something as low as only 3% of the users are accessing it). This results in the need for something that:

  • Is only loaded when the user actually requests it, to avoid unnecessary bloating of the apps memory footprint and wasting performance
  • Updates the information e.g. about the app version dynamically to minimize your efforts and to eliminate the risk of forgetting to do that manually
  • Looks good but doesn't require too much time to implement, and can be reused easily for future projects.
  • Allows you to easily extend the content with additional information or data you want to present for a particular app only.

YLAD is exactly that. It's easy to integrate into your own app, it pulls the required data from your application dynamically so you'll never forget to manually update it, it's loaded dynamically when the user requests it and still optimized to show first content as quickly as possible, and you can extend it easily with both local, static content as well as content that is fetched from a remote source and can be switched and changed dynamically even after publishing your app. In addition, the dialog supports localization. All this is achieved through configuration and doesn't require to write additional code. For more information, please scroll down.


Features at a glance

The following is contained in the package:
  • Shows information about your app dynamically (name, version, author etc.), all of which can be overriden explicitly.
  • Shows a configurable list of hyperlinks to your web site or email addresses etc.
  • Shows a button that lets the user rate your app in the Marketplace.
  • Allows adding an arbitrary number of additional pivot items to the dialog, containing local or remote content.
  • Freely configurable fallback content for remote sources if there's no network connection or in case of network errors.
  • Supports both text content (with auto-formatting/highlighting) and XAML content.
  • Can be localized for any culture you want to support.
  • Can be styled to fit your particular needs
  • Allows pre-selecting a specific item (for example if you want to show the version history directly after your app was updated).
  • Supports trial apps in various ways



I love this and how it keeps me from having to reinvent something that all apps should have... an About Dialog. And I dig how it's not just an about, but the History too (as I love seeing the version/change history in apps and hate when I get an update without one).

Look before you write your own About dialog, please take a few minutes and check this out, you'll save yourself a great deal of time at a great price (free and it's open source too)


Related Past Post XRef:
YLAD - You're Last [WP7] About Dialog

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