Apr 2009

Conjuring up some Creativity in WPF

by Steve Wortham
I spent the past few days working on the user interface of Data Comparisons. I made the decision to get rid of the standard Windows title bar in favor of something custom. So I made a bar with a gray-to-black gradient similar to the header of this site. Then I made minimize, restore, maximize, and close buttons with hardware-accelerated mouse over effects. That may sound like overkill, but it's not really. It was relatively easy to do and doesn't add any unnecessary size or complexity to the application.

Then I reworked each section of the application to include my little red and blue database icons for a consistent feel throughout. And lastly, I added a splitter between the console/textbox at the bottom and everything above so you can resize it however you like.

While I was at it I also built a simple help topics page. And now you can go directly to Online Help, Send Feedback, or Check for Updates all within Data Comparisons Express 0.96.

My goal with all of this was to create a clean and simple design that maximizes your workspace inside the application. I'm sure there will be more tweaks to come but I'm liking it better already.