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Mobiform's Aurora generates XAML-based graphics

Aurora XAML Designer for WinFX lets designers create flashy UI elements and save them in a format that developers can use.

Category: Tools and Platforms

Description:Demand for eye-catching UI means that software designers are playing an increasingly important role in the software development process. To bridge the gap between developer and designer, Microsoft is introducing XAML, the Extensible Application Markup Language, as the code behind GUI objects. The idea is that designers and developers can work from the same code base, increasing productivity and decreasing headaches.

Mobiform has capitalized on this technology with Aurora, its XAML Designer for WinFX. With Aurora, designers build a graphical element in a series of layers, like a canvas within a grid within a document. The resulting resource file contains XAML and is accessible from C#. Aurora can also import XAML from existing Visual Studio projects and import controls from Microsoft's Windows Presentation Foundation.

By using XAML and Aurora, a designer can add a variety of styles and triggers to the user experience, and "the developer doesn't need to know what's happening," said Ron De Serranno, CEO of Mobiform. "He can worry about just the application logic, not the effects."

Another advantage that Aurora offers is its access to configuration functionality, De Serranno said. In the old days, dropping an ActiveX control onto a form and setting a few properties was enough. Nowadays that is insufficient, which is why Aurora lets developers "hook into the editor" to access functionality like click events, tasks and toolbar functions, he said.

Other features of interest to designers include an object-searching capability, a ClipArt gallery and mapping.

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