How to Handle Orientation Changes in Your WP7 Application

Friday May 13th 2011 by Vipul Vipul Patel
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Having an application that can understand the current orientation and optimize its layout is a better experience for the mobile user. This article explore how to make your Windows Phone 7 application orientation-aware so that you can handle orientation changes better and delight your customers.

Introduction

Mobile devices have a big constraint compared to desktops - their screen size. Also, they can be handled in a variety of orientations. On the other hand, they are always available, in your pocket or purse, at any time you want to use them.

The mobility of the Windows Phone 7 device ensures that they can be used anywhere. This also brings the possibility that the orientation in which they are used is not a pre-defined. The devices can be held in any orientation and when the orientation changes from portrait to landscape, a smartphone application should change how they operate to maximize the value proposition of the new orientation.

In this article, we will explore how to handle orientation changes in your application.

To configure your Windows Phone application for orientation support, you need to set the SupportedOrientations property. The possible values for this property are Portrait, Landscape and PortraitOrLandscape.

To enable orientation support, we need to set this property to PortraitOrLandscape.

Let us explore this hands-on by switching the scrolling orientation in a demo Windows Phone 7 application.

Hands-On

Create a new Silverlight for Windows Phone project in Visual Studio called WinPhone7OrientationDemo.

In the XAML for the main page, change the SupportedOrientations property to PortraitOrLandscape.

x:Class="WinPhone7OrientationDemo.MainPage"
xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/winfx/2006/xaml/presentation"
xmlns:x="http://schemas.microsoft.com/winfx/2006/xaml"
xmlns:phone="clr-namespace:Microsoft.Phone.Controls;assembly=Microsoft.Phone"
xmlns:shell="clr-namespace:Microsoft.Phone.Shell;assembly=Microsoft.Phone"
xmlns:d="http://schemas.microsoft.com/expression/blend/2008"
xmlns:mc="http://schemas.openxmlformats.org/markup-compatibility/2006"
mc:Ignorable="d" d:DesignWidth="480" d:DesignHeight="768"
FontFamily="{StaticResource PhoneFontFamilyNormal}"
FontSize="{StaticResource PhoneFontSizeNormal}"
Foreground="{StaticResource PhoneForegroundBrush}"
SupportedOrientations="PortraitOrLandscape" Orientation="Portrait"
shell:SystemTray.IsVisible="True">

Now, go ahead and add an instance of the ScrollViewer control. We need this control because it has a unique property; it allows you to scroll through its contents.

Inside the ScrollViewer instance, add a StackPanel control, which will host our contents.

Inside the StackPanel control, drag and drop a few controls like Button, RadioButton, TextBlock and TextBox. For controls that have a width property, make sure you set the width to the maximum possible that can fit.

To ensure that you have the right width, copy paste the following code, which will add the ScrollViewer, StackPanel and a few dummy controls.

//MainPage.xaml snippet
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