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What's New in XAML in Windows 8.1

//BUILD 3 Live Stream

If you're lucky enough to be at //BUILD 3 you may not be overly interested in the live stream, but for sessions they are recording, you DO have an opportunity to go to something different and watch the live streamed one later.

If you're working with XAML, then you probably sat in Tim Heuer's great session on "What's New in XAML". If you didn't, you still can because it's available on Channel 9... Tim's session happened to be in the room that was live streamed! I had started it to record locally and then went to eat dinner only to find out my screen blanked after 1/2 hour and froze the display :( ... but... all was not lost, because anything that was streamed today can still be watched here prior to being available for download:

Build 2013 on Channel 9

Just scroll down to the recorded session you want, and once the video is available you'll be able to click to it.... and you can see which are going to be streamed tomorrow and Friday as well.

As a reference, and to whet the appetite of those that have not watched Tim's presentation, I'm going to go through an overview of his talk, and I trust screenshots will be ok since the video is available online... just to be sure I will cover that base by saying everything you see below was taken from the video available on the Channel 9 site.

My Overview

Missing controls

Date and Time pickers now built into the platform:

and a code-snippet:

And Tim assures us that the VS2013 intellisense and autocompletion is going to help us out with all that!


No longer on your own, and not just for text...

Most common use case is surrounding a button, so why not make it part of a button:

All animations and logic are built-in... bada-bing/bada-boom

Menu flyout as well, with all the things you'd expect for menus... binding, clicks, commanding, etc.:

Settings experience flyout is also available to provide the standard UX guidelines and get you going quickly.


Gone is the requirement to NOT change the theme once the app is running, making it possible to alter any section of your app to have an opposing theme:

This is done through the use of a "ThemeResource" instead of the standard "StaticResource", and as developers, these values are avaiable to us also and used like this:

Hub App

A new VS Template for a Hub App:

The Hub is a series of Hub Sections, and an extra added benefit of the new VS, is selecting a section farther down in the XAML, the designer view changed:

We also get (for free) deferred loading of the sections so that the subsections aren't all loaded up front.


Almost every framework style is now in the framework!

And... autocomplete/intellisense on StaticResource as well.

XAML code snippets are available, and some will be shipped.

New "CommandBar" object used like this:

If we use these, we automatically get the best UX experience of dropping margins and labels if the area for Command Bars gets too tight. If it gets tighter, the secondary commands will be dropped to make the primary ones visible.

Here is a screenshot of the verbose form for symbols in an AppBarButton:

Search Experience

Full search box that takes care of all the certification stuffola and helps you get a great search experience up in your app... note the session number int the orange bar for a session just on the Search experience after it gets posted:

Media Playback

In accordance with all the UX guidelines and rules about what happens when sizes get small, there is a media control now available.


There is a session specifically for XAML and DirectX interop, so Tim didn't go deep, but did put up this slide, and again, the orange bar on the bottom lists the deep dive session:


WebView is a full-fidelity XAML control...

One thing that was fixed is the problem where WebView doesn't get out of the way for example with an ad not allowing the AppBar to show.

The WebView was enhanced to allow content from local storage to be displayed.

Kudos to Koen Zwikstra for his diff'ing results being displayed in Tim's demo!

APIs were also added surrounding the lifecycle of the content, and custom uri resolvers to help you figure out how to display content.

To sum up:


'Nuff said...

A couple code screenshots:


Startup performance... any keyed resources are defered until a reference is seen

Package content no longer contains clear-text xaml:

This is a performance optimization and provides up to a 25% startup improvement... this is all done for you automatically in the tool.

Large Lists

Grid and ListViews have had 'black space' during panning while the UI caught up, and you'll have to check out Tim's video to see it, but the improvement is startling.

Also provide the ability to show placeholders if the UI can't show up to let the user know something is going on, and you can even go so far as to tell the system which content to render in which order as it becomes available.

Text and Input

Hyperlink in rich text is now simple and works

Alignment APIs allow text layout snapping

Placeholder text properties such as watermarks

Input controls have header property to draw the label for you

Added ability to set the color

Locking Scrolling areas... for instance scroll left and right or bottom to top more intuitive


Perf improvements of binding up to 40%

Added accessing binding expressions, target null values, fallback values, and update Source Trigger

DependencyObjectCollection SDK -- the basis for getting behaviors in place.

Journaling around the navigation stack

Many other things

MultiMon DPI awareness

High Contrast Awareness


Programmatic animation for Flip Views

Can now render PDFs in XAML

over 650 new APIs in the XAML stack alone!

Have fun at //BUILD2 and

Stay in the 'Light

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