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At //build one of the surprising immediate things I heard about was folks wanting to build custom controls right away.  I knew that would happen, but not so quick on something so new (WinRT).  The XAML platform did not have good support for building custom controls in the Developer Preview but now that the Consumer Preview for Windows 8 and Visual Studio 11 Beta are out, there is much better support.  There are two key things when thinking about custom controls: 1) building it and 2) making it consumable by developers (even if those developers are your own company).  I’ll try to articulate the methods of both here.

Defining custom versus user control

There is usually some debate in the XAML community about the definition of a custom control.  For the purposes of this discussion I define a custom control as a control that provides a generic.xaml, can be styled/templated and is usually encapsulated in its own assembly which can then be distributed.  A custom control can contain user controls, but generally speaking does not.  A typical user control scenario is one that lives within your project and not meant to be consumed by anyone outside your project.

This definition is the same whether we are talking about C++, C# or Visual Basic.  Everything below applies to all languages.

Creating the custom control

The fundamentals of a custom control are that it is a class and it provides it’s own template/style.  This style/template definition usually lives in a file located at themes/generic.xaml.  This is the same pattern that has existed in other XAML implementations like WPF, Silverlight and Windows Phone.  The pattern is no different for Metro style apps in this regard.

The creation of the most basic custom control is very simple.  A Windows SDK sample for XAML User and Custom Controls is available for you to download for the quick review and core concept.  My intent here is to take that a step further for the end-to-end implementation if I were a control vendor.  Let’s first create our control.  For our purposes we will create a control that shows an Image and allows you to specify some Text for the label.  The label, however, will be prepended with some text that comes from string resources.

In Visual Studio we will create a class library project first.

NOTE: You can create a C#/VB Class Library and keep it managed, or convert it to a WinRT component.  You may also create this in C++ using the WinRT Component project type.  Again, these concepts are the same, the syntax will be obviously slightly different for C++ and managed code.

Once you create the class library (I called mine SimpleCustomControl and deleted the initial Class1.cs file that was created), add an item to the project.  You can do this via right-clicking on the project and choosing add item.  You will be presented with a few options, but the important one is Templated Control.

Add Item dialog

Watch was this does to your project as it will do 2 things:

  • Create a new class
  • Add a Themes folder and place a ResourceDictionary called generic.xaml in that folder

The themes/generic.xaml is very important if you use the DefaultStyleKey concept in your class.  This is very much a convention-based approach.  The contents of the class is very simple at this point, with the sole constructor and the DefaultStyleKey wired up:

   1: namespace SimpleCustomControl
   2: {
   3:     public sealed class LabeledImage : Control
   4:     {
   5:         public LabeledImage()
   6:         {
   7:             this.DefaultStyleKey = typeof(LabeledImage);
   8:         }
   9:     }
  10: }

This maps to the generic.xaml definition of our control.  Let’s modify our ControlTemplate in generic.xaml to be a little more than just a border:

   1: <Style TargetType="local:LabeledImage">
   2:     <Setter Property="Template">
   3:         <Setter.Value>
   4:             <ControlTemplate TargetType="local:LabeledImage">
   5:                 <Border Background="LightBlue" BorderBrush="Black" BorderThickness="2" 
   6:                         HorizontalAlignment="Center" Width="140" Height="150">
   7:                     <StackPanel HorizontalAlignment="Center">
   8:                         <Image Stretch="Uniform" Width="100" Height="100" 
   9:                                Source="{TemplateBinding ImagePath}" Margin="5" />
  10:                         <TextBlock TextAlignment="Center" FontFamily="Segoe UI" FontWeight="Light" 
  11:                                    FontSize="26.667" Foreground="Black" x:Name="LabelHeader" />
  12:                         <TextBlock TextAlignment="Center" 
  13:                                    Text="{TemplateBinding Label}" FontFamily="Seqoe UI" FontWeight="Light" 
  14:                                    FontSize="26.667" Foreground="Black" />
  15:                     </StackPanel>
  16:                 </Border>
  17:             </ControlTemplate>
  18:         </Setter.Value>
  19:     </Setter>
  20: </Style>

Now we have a place for an Image, LabelHeader and a Label.  Notice that we have {TemplatBinding} statements there.  This is how the template binds (duh) to values provided to the control.  So our ControlTemplate is expecting these properties to exist on our control.  We will create these as DependencyProperty types so we can use them in Binding, change notification, etc.  In Visual Studio we can make re-use out of the ‘propdp’ code snippet that exists for WPF.  It is slightly different in the last argument, but it will definitely save you a lot of typing.  We’ll create 2 DependencyProperties like this in our LabeledImage.cs file:

   1: public ImageSource ImagePath
   2: {
   3:     get { return (ImageSource)GetValue(ImagePathProperty); }
   4:     set { SetValue(ImagePathProperty, value); }
   5: }
   7: public static readonly DependencyProperty ImagePathProperty =
   8:     DependencyProperty.Register("ImagePath", typeof(ImageSource), typeof(LabeledImage), new PropertyMetadata(null));
  10: public string Label
  11: {
  12:     get { return (string)GetValue(LabelProperty); }
  13:     set { SetValue(LabelProperty, value); }
  14: }
  16: public static readonly DependencyProperty LabelProperty =
  17:     DependencyProperty.Register("Label", typeof(string), typeof(LabeledImage), new PropertyMetadata(null));

We also had that LabelHeader property.  This is going to be a value coming from a string resource that may be localized at some point.  In our library add a folder called “en” and then within that, using the Add Item dialog in VS, add a Resources.resw file.  Within that Resources.resw file add a name/value pair of name=LabelHeader.Text and value=This is an image of a… and you can save/close the file.

Now back to our class file we are going to set the value of our TextBlock by overriding our template rendering, grabbing a reference to that TextBlock and setting the value from our string resource.

   1: protected override void OnApplyTemplate()
   2: {
   3:     base.OnApplyTemplate();
   5:     TextBlock tb = GetTemplateChild("LabelHeader") as TextBlock;
   6:     tb.Text = new ResourceLoader("SimpleCustomControl/Resources/LabelHeader").GetString("Text");
   7: }

Now, I’m showing this way, because it is pretty verbose and there is an easier way…but you wouldn’t know it is easier unless you saw the harder way right?

First it is important to understand how these resources are indexed.  You’ll notice that I’m using a ResourceLoader class to map to what looks like {component}/{resw-file-name}/{property} which is effectively right.  When you create a resw file, at compile-time these get built into a PRI file.  This post isn’t about this whole resource loading process, but you should definitely understand this a bit.  Basically for a control creator perspective you need to understand that your string resources (and file-based resources) live in a ResourceMap that is the name of your component.

NOTE: An easy way to look at this resource indexing is to use the makepri.exe tool installed with VS.  From a VS command prompt navigate to your build output and you should see a resources.pri file.  Call makepri.exe dump and you’ll get an XML representation of that file you can look at.  Knowing that structure is very helpful.

I said there was an easier way to get that string though.  First remove the OnApplyTemplate override completely…we don’t need it for this control anymore.  Now in generic.xaml change the x:Name=”LabelHeader” to the following:

   1: <Style TargetType="local:LabeledImage">
   2: ...
   3:     <TextBlock TextAlignment="Center" FontFamily="Segoe UI" FontWeight="Light" 
   4:                FontSize="26.667" Foreground="Black" 
   5:                 x:Uid="/SimpleCustomControl/Resources/LabelHeader" />
   6: ...
   7: </Style>

This will use the XAML parser way of getting the string resource (note the ResourceMap is still in the x:Uid value).  Using the ResourceMap prefix is necessary when using this method as a custom control vendor.

We are done.  Our control is complete.

Consuming the control from an application

We can quickly test our control by adding a new Metro style app to our project.  Once we do this, make that the startup project and add a project reference to our control library.  Then in the default page for our app (BlankPage or MainPage depending on your template choice), add an xmlns to the top and then consume the control:

   1: <Page
   2:     x:Class="Application1.BlankPage"
   3:     xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/winfx/2006/xaml/presentation"
   4:     xmlns:x="http://schemas.microsoft.com/winfx/2006/xaml"
   5:     xmlns:local="using:Application1"
   6:     xmlns:d="http://schemas.microsoft.com/expression/blend/2008"
   7:     xmlns:mc="http://schemas.openxmlformats.org/markup-compatibility/2006"
   8:     xmlns:controls="using:SimpleCustomControl"
   9:     mc:Ignorable="d">
  11:     <Grid Background="{StaticResource ApplicationPageBackgroundBrush}">
  12:         <controls:LabeledImage ImagePath="Assets/110Orange.png" Label="Orange" />
  13:     </Grid>
  14: </Page>

See how the ImagePath and Label are used here?  In more advanced scenarios we can bind values from our view model or other ways.  When rendered the control will show like this:

Custom control rendered

This is great…but also what we call a “project-to-project” (P2P) reference.  As a control vendor we want to distribute our control, not our source primarily.  So we need to package this up.  There are two ways you can do this.

Package your control as an Extension SDK

One of the new methods for distributing Metro style controls in VS11 is via Extension SDKs, also sometimes referred to as non-Framework SDKs.  Extension SDKs are machine-wide and available to all projects once installed.  They can be distributed via the Visual Studio gallery and using the VSIX mechanism…which allows for update notification in Visual Studio.  There are a few intricacies that you can configure your Extension SDK but for most it will get down to three things:

  • Describing your SDK and what it supports
  • Including the binary that projects need to reference
  • Including any assets/files that the control relies on to render

In examining our sample above we have a few things that map to this:

  • Describing – our sample is a C# custom control so it will only work with managed Metro style apps, we will need to describe this in our SDK
  • Binary – we have one binary: SimpleCustomControl.dll
  • Redistributables – we have a generic.xaml and a PRI file with our string resources

The last part (redist) probably is making some existing XAML control developers scratch their heads.  Why isn’t the generic.xaml embedded is what you are likely asking yourself.  In Metro style apps, XAML assets are not embedded but rather exist as “loose file” assets for your control.  This is why it is critical for getting the distribution model correct so that the runtime knows where to get the definitions for everything.

NOTE: This is a default method.  You can, of course, use other techniques to get your assets into your binary either via string constants, other embedding techniques, etc.  In doing so, however, you will now be managing all those extractions yourself rather than being able to rely on the resource APIs for Metro style apps.

The first thing we want to do is understand the structure of an SDK.  These live in %ProgramFiles%\Microsoft SDKs\Windows\v8.0\Extension SDKs directory on disk.  Within there you will have your own folder, version and then the layout of your SDK, as described by your manifest.  Here is what our manifest (SDKManifest.xml) would look like for our control:

   1: <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?>
   2: <FileList 
   3:   DisplayName="Simple Custom Control" 
   4:   ProductFamilyName="Simple Controls"
   5:   MinVSVersion="11.0" 
   6:   MinToolsVersion="4.0" 
   7:   CopyRedistToSubDirectory="SimpleCustomControl"
   8:   AppliesTo="WindowsAppContainer+WindowsXAML+Managed"
  10:   MoreInfo="http://timheuer.com/blog/">
  11:   <File Reference="SimpleCustomControl.dll">
  12:     <ContainsControls>True</ContainsControls>
  13:   </File>
  14: </FileList>

We are describing the display information as well as some key data:

  • Display data – the title that will show up in Add Reference
  • CopyRedistToSubdirectory – this would be the name of your component
  • AppliesTo – what I support; in this I’m saying managed, XAML, Metro style apps
  • <File> – these are the files that describe components in my SDK (not their loose assets)

Now to create the structure.  When you build the DLL your output will give you this:

Build output

We need to create the following structure that will live under the Extension SDK folder listed above:

%ProgramFiles%\Microsoft SDKs\Windows\v8.0\Extension SDKs\



------SDKManifest.xml (the file above)




Notice the References and Redist folders.  By placing these in that structure, the project will know what it needs to get type information (References) and then during running/deployment what it needs to package (Redist) and where it puts it (CopyRedistToSubdirectory).  Put this layout in the directory and then when you choose add reference on a project you will see your option:

Add reference dialog

There are other configuration options for the SDKManifest that you can use and the required reading is the Extension SDK section in this MSDN article: How to: Create a Software Development Kit.

The next step for an Extension SDK is to really package it up nicely.  You probably don’t want your users copy directories around all the time…and what about updates as well!  Using the Visual Studio VSIX structure for this really makes it easy to do.

There are tools for Visual Studio to allow you to create a VSIX package.  This requires the Visual Studio extensibility SDK to be installed and using Visual Studio professional or higher.  Once you do that you can create a VSIX package and you will see the VSIX manifest designer.  On the Install Targets tab you will choose Extension SDK:

VSIX Install Targets

We then re-create the layout structure in the VSIX project and add the Assets to the manifest.  The result in the IDE looks something like this:

VSIX Manifest Assets

Now when we build we will get a VSIX installer that we can upload to the Visual Studio Gallery or distribute to our customers.

NOTE: Uploading the to Visual Studio Gallery has benefits in that once installed, any update you put in the gallery will provide notifications to the Visual Studio user than an update exists.  This is done via the unique Product ID value in your manifest, so choose that value accordingly and don’t change it if you want this capability.

When a user gets the VSIX, they double-click it and see the installer:

VSIX Installer

And then they can use it as normally in Add Reference just like described above.  Additional details on other VSIX deployment configurations can be found here: VSIX Deployment.

Once you have your VSIX you can upload to the Visual Studio Gallery and make it discoverable for users from within Visual Studio.  Remember that this method of Extension SDK is machine-wide which is in contrast to the second method described next.

Package your control as a NuGet Package

The other option you have is to package up your control via a NuGet package.  NuGet packages apply to the project and not the machine, but have the flexibility of not having to have anything installed and can travel their dependencies with the project.  NuGet packages are another type of package that has a manifest that describes what the content does. 

For Metro style XAML controls you will have to do a few things differently currently with the NuGet package you create.  NuGet packages are based on nuspec files, which is basically a manifest describing where to get/put things in the package.  You can also use the NuGet Package Explorer for a GUI way of reading/creating new packages.  If you are unfamiliar with the nuspec format, using the package explorer will help you get a package created quickly. 

NuGet is one area where there actually are current differences in C++ or managed code.  Right now NuGet only supports managed code projects and not C++.  I’m sure this may change in the future, but as of right now this applies only to managed code.  For our control above here is what my nuspec file looks like:

   1: <?xml version="1.0"?>
   2: <package xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/packaging/2010/07/nuspec.xsd">
   3:   <metadata>
   4:     <version>1.0.0</version>
   5:     <authors>Tim Heuer</authors>
   6:     <owners />
   7:     <id>SimpleCustomControl</id>
   8:     <title />
   9:     <requireLicenseAcceptance>false</requireLicenseAcceptance>
  10:     <description>A simple custom control for Metro style apps</description>
  11:   </metadata>
  12:   <files>
  13:     <file src="SimpleCustomControl\bin\Debug\Themes\Generic.xaml" target="lib\winrt\SimpleCustomControl\Themes\Generic.xaml" />
  14:     <file src="SimpleCustomControl\bin\Debug\SimpleCustomControl.dll" target="lib\winrt\SimpleCustomControl.dll" />
  15:     <file src="SimpleCustomControl\bin\Debug\SimpleCustomControl.pri" target="lib\winrt\SimpleCustomControl.pri" />
  16:   </files>
  17: </package>

This assumes that the binaries being referenced here are all relative to the nuspec file.  Notice how all the files go into the lib\winrt folder and that we essentially re-create that SDK layout in our package as well.

Now when I build this with nuget.exe I get a package output.  In Visual Studio (with NuGet installed) I can now right-click on a project and choose Manage NuGet Packages and browse the library of packages.  In testing out my package, I create a custom library (you do this via the Settings option when you are in the Manage NuGet Packages dialog) and just point it to the folder where my nupkg file was created:

Manage NuGet Packages dialog

When the package is selected, the reference is added to my project and during build, all the right pieces are put in my APPX package where they need to go.  Once the reference is there I build and run my project and the control renders as expected!

What about the design-time experience?

All of the methods above will allow you to view your control on the XAML design surface in Visual Studio as well.  In the Extension SDK method there is actually additional affordances for you to provide additional design-time assemblies/resources to make that experience even better.  Custom control developers for XAML know about this .Design.dll that is created for their projects that can improve the design-time experience for UI controls.  I highly encourage you to do that if you are creating a control that is for wide distribution and not just yourself or your small group of friends.


Wow this felt like a long post…thanks for reading this far!  I think developing custom controls is a great way to encapsulate specific UI and behavior you want in your application.  XAML has a great ecosystem of control vendors and I fully expect them to produce controls for Metro style apps as well.  Hopefully these techniques of packaging them up for distribution will help us all take advantage of them.

I also think that creating an Extension SDK *and* a NuGet package are the best ways of thinking about it as a producer.  This enables your consumers to have the greatest flexibility in how they want to consume your control.  Creating these distribution mechanisms may seem cumbersome at first (and there are some places where Visual Studio can improve the experience of creating/managing these manifests), but once you understand the core layout that is required for a Metro style XAML control and the fact that you now have “loose files” to consider it really becomes pretty streamlined and you can automate the creation of these pretty quickly in your build systems.

Be sure to check out these resources again:

Here is the solution for the project I walked through above: SimpleCustomControl.zip

Hope this helps!

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution By license.

3/12/2012 2:16 PM | # Project cannot be opened
I get the following error opening this project under Win 8 CP / VS 11 Beta:

There is a missing project subtype.
Subtype: '{82b43b9b-a64c-4715-b499-d71e9ca2bd60}' is unsupported by this installation. go.microsoft.com/fwlink/{82b43b9b-a64c-4715-b499-d71e9ca2bd60}
3/12/2012 9:12 PM | # re: Building a deployable custom control for XAML Metro style apps
@Matt - this is likely the VSIX project that is causing you the issue. That requires the Visual Studio SDK as mentioned above and the VS Pro+ SKU (i.e., Ultimate). If all you have is Express then you won't be able to use that project.
3/13/2012 5:50 AM | # re: Building a deployable custom control for XAML Metro style apps
Hi Tim,
can you give me an advice please...
1) how can I fire the Click event from the InsideButton and catch it up?
2) I tried to set handler from OnApplyTemplate(), but it is never called. Don't you know why?

<Style x:Key="MyStyle" TargetType="ContentControl">
<Setter Property="Template">
<ControlTemplate TargetType="ContentControl" >
<Button x:Name="InsideButton" Content="InsideButton" />
<ContentPresenter Content="{TemplateBinding Content}" />
6/6/2012 12:10 PM | # re: Building a deployable custom control for XAML Metro style apps
Tim, thanks for the article. 2 questions:
1. is there a way to get the control to show up in the toolbox?
2. failing that, once the sdk is referenced I can add a namespace declaration in XAML and add the control manually. however, I'm then getting the following error when trying to compile/run: "FileNotFoundException: The filename, directory name, or volume label syntax is incorrect. (Exception from HRESULT: 0x8007007B)"
I'm building this on the CP build with VS 11 Ultimate Beta.
6/6/2012 3:52 PM | # re: Building a deployable custom control for XAML Metro style apps
I think I answered my own question on #2: the PRI file needs to be deployed to the same folder as the DLL, so I changed it from Redist to Resources.
Resources -> [build folder]
Redist -> [build folder]\AppX\[VISX package name]
6/8/2012 12:15 AM | # re: Building a deployable custom control for XAML Metro style apps
@Seth - for #1 yes, in the <File> node you can add a child node of <ToolboxItems VSCategory="Foo" />
6/12/2012 2:26 PM | # re: Building a deployable custom control for XAML Metro style apps

there is an warning for d:Source schema in .vsixmanifest file. will it be resolved?
Message 1 Could not find schema information for the attribute 'schemas.microsoft.com/.../2011:Source'. \source.extension.vsixmanifest 14 42

And it seems we could only add .xml into asset using GUI. I have to manually open .vsixmanifest into text editor to add other file.
6/21/2012 12:08 PM | # CopyRedistToSubDirectory causes Blend not to work
Great article Tim!
fyi: I just discovered that using the CopyRedistToSubDirectory attribute causes Blend and Cider to not work. They both show an out of memory exception. Manually adding the extra folder fixes the issue.
6/21/2012 3:01 PM | # re: Building a deployable custom control for XAML Metro style apps
We think we have addressed this issue for the next release. However, just to be 100%, Tim would it be possible to share our your SDK so I can double check? Feel free to send it to me offline at unnir at Microsoft dot com and I will take a look.
9/4/2012 12:33 AM | # re: Building a deployable custom control for XAML Metro style apps
Hi Tim I am using windows 8 released version with visual studio 2012 I followed all your steps but when I add the control using xaml it is shown correctly on design time but crashes when you run the application , I noticed that you are using CP in this article , I don't know why these steps has problem on windows 8 released version
is there any extra work or what is the problem ?
9/4/2012 6:23 AM | # re: Building a deployable custom control for XAML Metro style apps
sorry Tim , forget previous comment now all thing works fine
10/3/2012 8:30 PM | # re: Building a deployable custom control for XAML Metro style apps
Hi Tim,

Thanks for this great post.

In Windows 8 xaml app, I am able to use the system resources as Static Resources as mentioned in this link.


It said that these resources were defined implicitly by Windows runtime. I am curious to know whether it is possible to expose my custom control theme brushes in the same way, so that users can easily use it anywhere in App or they could overwrite the value in App.xaml.

10/15/2012 12:12 AM | # re: Building a deployable custom control for XAML Metro style apps
I am just stunned at amount of "plumbing" code I need to write in order to make ANYTHING work in recently released Microsoft technologies. And seeing that you guys try to present technologies like XAML as "normal" && "good" is just plain horrible...
10/15/2012 9:19 PM | # re: Building a deployable custom control for XAML Metro style apps
Hi Tim,

I am new to XAML development. Please help me with this problem.

We have a requirement to create extended buttons, which will call RESTful API when clicked. This should be distributable as an VSIX package. The developer just need to drag and drop the button and set some properties. No other code in click event of the button. I was able to extend the behavior of the button. But I am not sure, how the action of calling RESTful api will be implemented and where does this functionality need to be implemented. Please help.

Thanks much, Venu
10/23/2012 7:07 PM | # re: Building a deployable custom control for XAML Metro style apps
How to configure custom toolbox icon for Windows 8 XAML controls in Visual Studio 2012?
3/1/2013 3:07 AM | # re: Building a deployable custom control for XAML Metro style apps
Hi Tim,

I tried following you tutorial everything works fine and I was able to create an DLL and add it to another project. Now my requirement is to make a custom control that contains textboxes and buttons and on the click of button I should be able to capture the value of textboxes. How do I implement this functionality?

5/8/2013 2:39 PM | # re: Building a deployable custom control for XAML Metro style apps
Good article Tim. Thanks for that. But maybe I am over-complicating things a bit...I just need a control that is re-sizeable and has an image as a background. Cannot find sample code for this anywhere. Any suggestions? Thanks again.
5/12/2013 9:46 AM | # re: Building a deployable custom control for XAML Metro style apps
@Scott - I'm sure you'll rarely find samples that do exactly what you need. Conceptually though you use the same methods to encapsulate what you want. Hard to tell what you want other than a Canvas w/Image?
11/5/2013 11:50 AM | # re: Building a deployable custom control for XAML Metro style apps
Hi Tim,

I was wondering if, a) this tutorial is also applicable to Windows 8 and/or 8.1, and b) if it's at all possible to have custom controls be part of an existing namespace, i.e. Windows.UI.Xaml.Controls, like in WPF or Silverlight.
11/5/2013 8:27 PM | # re: Building a deployable custom control for XAML Metro style apps
@Tom - yes this applies to Win8/8.1 (different target platform version for 8.1 obviously). And no, you can't (shouldn't) create controls in a default system namespace. This won't work for some WinRT rules, but also wouldn't work for default namespace in XAML anyway.
11/8/2013 3:24 AM | # re: Building a deployable custom control for XAML Metro style apps
@Tim - Ah, I see.

I've followed the steps to create a VSIX package from the library, and all seems well. However, when running a test app, I get an unhelpful System.IO.DirectoryNotFoundException when trying to display a control from the library. I looked at the output directory and all files seem to be there, but as the DirectoryNotFoundException doesn't say which directory it can't find (only a HRESULT value), I don't see what I'm doing wrong.

As a side-note, the library works just fine when used as a project reference.
3/30/2014 11:33 AM | # re: Building a deployable custom control for XAML Metro style apps
#Tom Lint
I am having the same issue. Did you got the solution
7/8/2014 5:38 PM | # re: Building a deployable custom control for XAML Metro style apps
This was a great article!

Just and FYI, to get the Nuget package to work with packing a windows phone 8.1 csproj I had to add these lines to the nuspec file.

<file src="..\..\..\..\bin\AnyCPU\Release\SimpleCustomControl\Themes\Generic.xaml" target="lib\wpa81\SimpleCustomControl\Themes\Generic.xaml" />
<file src="..\..\..\..\bin\AnyCPU\Release\SimpleCustomControl\Themes\Generic.xbf" target="lib\wpa81\SimpleCustomControl\Themes\Generic.xbf" />
<file src="..\..\..\..\bin\AnyCPU\Release\SimpleCustomControl\SimpleCustomControl.pri" target="lib\wpa81\SimpleCustomControl.pri" />
<file src="..\..\..\..\bin\AnyCPU\Release\SimpleCustomControl\SimpleCustomControl.xr.xml" target="lib\wpa81\SimpleCustomControl\SimpleCustomControl.xr.xml" />
7/17/2014 1:05 AM | # re: Building a deployable custom control for XAML Metro style apps
Hi Tim
Thanks for the article.

I have created the custom user controls and I have a created VSIX to install these controls to Toolbox.
Everything works fine except, DataContext binding.

When user drag and drop control to the Page in Window store, default DataContext should be set but its empty in my case.

Could you please suggest?

8/30/2014 10:47 AM | # re: Building a deployable custom control for XAML Metro style apps
For anyone else hitting this issue --

Windows 8.1 will create .xbf files instead of copying .xaml files to the output directory. I.E. Themes/Generic.xaml goes to the output directory as Themes/Generic.xbf. If you include ONLY the .xbf in your NuGet package, projects that reference it will compile, build, and run just fine. However, the Blend designer will refuse to render the controls, saying something like "cannot create an instance...". Examining the exception might yield a "TypeLoadException: could not find windows runtime type". This is because the Blend designer can't work with the .xbf file you've included. It wants the .xaml. Tim covers this here: stackoverflow.com/.../19595500#19595500

The solution I found was to copy the .xaml file side-by-side to the .xbf file and including both in the NuGet package.
10/1/2014 6:22 PM | # re: Building a deployable custom control for XAML Metro style apps
This is very similar to all of the other guidance I've seen for "custom controls" in "store apps". Unfortunately, this approach seems almost the same as just making a UserControl. I.e. while I get that the templating aspect allows for customization, at the end of the day we are still limited to building our "custom control" out of existing elements (grid, stack panel, text box, list box, etc.).

What about a control that wants to have complete control over its own rendering? I.e. equivalent to handling WM_PAINT (native), overriding OnPaint() (.NET Forms), overriding OnRender() (WPF), or overriding visual children (i.e. VirtualChildCount/GetVirtualChild, also in WPF)?

Is this even possible in WinRT? If so, how?

Please add 5 and 5 and type the answer here:


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