Creating a Silverlight Out-of-Browser Splash Screen - by Michael Wolf (@cynergy_systems)
More and more we’re seeing the out-of-browser Silverlight functionality really take off. Lots of different customers are seeing OOB Silverlight as a great option not only for cross-platform desktop apps (even on Linux now with Moonlight 4 beta out), but also for a full Windows-based desktop and Slate apps. Progressively, we’re seeing more and more features added to Silverlight to enable building just about any full desktop app as a Silverlight OOB app, be it through the Silverlight Native Extensions or through all the new Silverlight 5 features. Yet single- or cross-platform, it doesn’t seem real unless it looks and feels real, and nothing helps bring that feeling like a splash screen.
The White Screen of Awesome
Where as in Silverlight in-browser we have the “pre-loader”, and in WPF you have either the build action of a splash screen or the option to develop a native splash screen, in Silverlight OOB you have no such options. This can easily become a UX killer, as by default an out of browser app will show a white screen until the first view fully loads. You can see an example of this when loading the Simple Lister or the flickr Windows 7 app, you will see what I term the “White Screen of Awesome.” While the Silverlight apps still load quickly, ideally we would like to see a nice splash screen very quickly and then allow the rest of the application to load. Often this delay is actually due to the constructing of the XAML views and their underlying controls and databinding. While you can see this same problem to a lesser degree in-browser (see the Xbox Avatar Editor. Notice how it reaches 99% and then sits for a second or two… same problem), as a user you have a different expectation with a desktop application like you would build with OOB functionality.
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Post Contributed by: Kunal Chowdhury
Kunal is the Site Admin and Contributor of Silverlight-Zone. He is a Software Engineer, Microsoft Silverlight MVP, Code Project Mentor and a Code Project MVP. He is also an active Author in SilverlightShow.net and a speaker in various community events. He works on Microsoft Platform and very passionate about Silverlight technology. He started his career in 2007 and achieved various awards during his professional life.
He shares his findings in his personal blog: http://www.kunal-chowdhury.com and he also tweets at: @kunal2383.