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Professional Visual Basic 2012 and .NET 4.5 Programming by Todd Herman, Gastón Hillar, David McCarter, Rob Windsor, Billy Hollis, Bill Sheldon

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Implementing a Live Tile

By now, you should be familiar with the Windows 8 start menu, which features tiles for installed programs. There are two sizes of tiles, a square tile, and a wide tile. The wide tile is a landscape-oriented rectangle that is the size of two square tiles.

Some tiles update their content via logic in the associated app. These are called live tiles. Typically, the new content animates into place.

Live tiles have two basic purposes:

1. Place important information in front of the user without the user needing to open up an application
2. Induce the user to open an application by providing some teaser information

For line-of-business applications, the second purpose will rarely be needed. But if you are creating a app aimed at consumers, it might be relevant.

Use caution when designing live tiles. When a live tile changes its content too often, the associated animation can be distracting and irritating to the users. Used judiciously, however, live tiles can be a nice addition to an app.

Live tiles are templates with XML files. That makes the process of updating a live tile somewhat tedious. You need to manipulate an XMLDocument and its nodes to fill in the updated content for a live tile.

Several starting point templates are available, and you can see the list in an enumeration of type TileTemplateImage. You can build your own XML document for a tile template up from scratch if you like, as long as you get all the nodes right. However using the built-in templates ...

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