Category Archives: Fluent Design

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Adobe XD CC: A New High-Performance UWP App for UI/UX Design

It’s a big day today – after a year of public preview, Adobe released Adobe XD 1.0 on Windows 10 and Mac: a new tool for user experience creators to design, prototype and share interactive designs for apps and websites.

When it comes to designing anything, it’s important to have design tools that support a fast and fluid process – one where you can iterate rapidly through a design, test, and build process: designing at the speed of thought. For interaction design, creative professionals have often used tools that excel at creating images of screens, but these tools that created static images have always missed something: transitions and interactions that demonstrate the experience. Putting an interactive prototype in front of stakeholders that they can try out is now a crucial part of the process, and being able to iterate on design rapidly based on the feedback from the prototype is essential. Being able to create a prototype without any coding is mandatory for this process. Almost a year ago, I wrote about a new app that fits these requirements, when Adobe released a public preview of Adobe Experience Design CC (XD) on Windows and Mac. Since then, Adobe was able to iterate quickly, releasing monthly updates of Adobe XD, responding to early customer feedback and an ambitious list of features that interaction designers wanted. We’re excited to share that today, Adobe XD as part of the Creative Cloud, is available today on Windows and Mac. Here are a few other reasons that that this is such an important release.
XD is a Universal Windows Platform App
Available through Adobe’s Creative Cloud subscription, XD takes advantage of the Universal Windows Platform (UWP) to deliver a modern, high performance, professional design tool. Whether you’re working with one artboard or a hundred, XD gives you the same fast performance. The rendering surface is accelerated by DirectX and the UI is implemented in XAML, C++ and JavaScript.  Using this architecture, Adobe was able to have maximum code reuse between their Mac and Windows versions yet take advantage of the most advanced, platform specific UI layout technology. During XD’s preview period, Adobe was able to iterate quickly, leveraging a proprietary automated testing framework for much of their code built on the Windows Application Driver. The end result is a high-performance, stable, professional tool.
Design, Prototype and Share in One Tool
In creating Adobe XD, the team thought of the whole Design/Test/Build workflow that interactive designers go through, and made an easy-to-use tool for designing experiences, creating rapid prototypes and sharing them with others to get their feedback. With Adobe XD, you can rapidly create screens with standard tools as well as utilizing tools that have been specially designed for UX designers. Repeat Grid, for instance, allows users to quickly create content grids based on a single element – helping designers to simulate the type of content they often have to create. The Assets Panel helps users reuse important design elements such as colors, character styles and symbols – so that making changes across an entire document is fast and easy. At 1.0 XD is also connected to Creative Cloud Libraries, allowing users to leverage content across documents and teams. You can also add artboards for common screen sizes ranging from Android Wear to Surface Pro.

Switching from design to prototype mode is a single click, and you can quickly connect artboards to communicate the flow and paths of multiscreen apps.

Once your prototype is ready for feedback, you can generate shareable web link of the prototype or embed it onto webpage or supported application. Since my team uses Microsoft Teams to collaborate, I can create a tab page in Teams using that link to share the design with my colleagues – they can interact with the prototype in Teams and we can chat about it there.

Designer and Developer Resources
In addition to the tools available, Adobe XD has a number of UI resources available for designers to use while creating, including Apple iOS, Google Material Design, Microsoft Windows, and Microsoft Office UI Fabric. Our Office and Windows teams worked closely with the Adobe XD team to deliver a great set of UI components that designers and developers can use to craft their user experiences. We will continue to work closely in the future as we help developers and designers take advantage of the Fluent Design System.

This Is Just the Beginning
Having worked closely with the Adobe XD team for the past two years, this is a very exciting day. The designers, engineers, testers and product managers that I have met on the Adobe XD team are passionate about their product and are eager to hear your feedback as you try it out, use it and craft the next generation of user experiences. While today marks the 1.0 release of Adobe XD, the team has big plans ahead, including improvements for the way designers and developers work together. Read more about where they’re headed here.
You can download XD as a free trial or as part of Creative Cloud today. Adobe will also be hosting a live stream on UX design from Oct. 24-26. Watch and interact with Daniel Alegria, a Microsoft UX designer in action using XD on Windows. See the schedule and more content here.
Adobe has delivered a new, high-performance, UWP app that is useful to designers, and you should try it out today.

Windows Developer Day in London – Windows 10 Fall Creators Update SDK Availability

Windows 10 Fall Creators Update provides a developer platform that is designed to inspire the creator in each of us – empowering developers to build applications that change the way people work, play and interact with devices. To truly fulfill this platform promise, I believe that our developer platform needs to be centered around people and their needs.  Technology should adapt and learn how to work with us.
As we showed at Microsoft Build in May, the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update SDK delivers thousands of new capabilities and improvements that support this promise. Today, at Windows Developer Day in London, we’re celebrating three areas that help you, our developer partners:
Create inspiring experiences using the next revolution in technology – Mixed Reality
Modernize applications for the modern workplace
Build and monetize your games and applications
I’m pleased to share with you that you can get started now by downloading the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update SDK. Windows 10 adoption has been incredible – with more than 500 million monthly active devices. We are also seeing devices staying current with the latest updates faster than ever, with the majority of devices running the latest updates in less than 6 months, and over eighty percent of devices running the latest update in less than a year. We can’t wait to see the next wave of innovation enabled by the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update SDK.
Create inspiring experiences using the next revolution in technology – Mixed Reality
The next revolution of computing is Mixed Reality. Microsoft is the only company embracing the entire continuum for mixed reality, from augmented reality to virtual reality and everything in between. Windows 10 was designed from ground up for spatial interactions and the next wave in this journey is Windows Mixed Reality, uniting the digital and real world to create a rich, immersive world. As humans, we interact with space constantly, and Windows Mixed Reality will feel the most natural for users. With HoloLens, we have already demonstrated unrivaled innovation that is transforming industries. Now, our immersive headsets offer unrivaled experiences.
For developers, Windows Mixed Reality offers unique opportunities.
Our unified platform maximizes reuse across platforms and device form factors
Windows Mixed Reality provides reach on the broadest range of devices
Our Microsoft Store provides an unrivaled discovery opportunity
Millions of people come to the Store every day to get an application from our broad catalog
Modernize applications for the modern workplace
With the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update SDK, developers can easily create a new or update an existing application to support modern experiences that employees need, or customers expect.
Modernizing your deployment
The deployment system in Windows 10 has been significantly enhanced to help your users start using your application quicker and easier. This starts with the ability to only download the delta between updates, the updated bits versus the entire package to your end user. In addition, you can break up your application into components to allow streaming install. This will allow your application to work before your user has the entire application installed.
To assist with this modernization, the Fall Creators Update introduces the Windows application packaging project with Visual Studio 2017 version 15.4. This new project allows developers to utilize the app packaging without having to convert your existing installer. Just add the project and you’re done. Once your application is using the modernized installer, you now have access to all the APIs that have been added to the Windows Platform. For example, integration with Windows Hello to assist with security, action center integration to assist with engagement, and cross-device capabilities provided with device relay and activity feed.
Another major investment has been the integration of .NET Standard 2.0 which enables developers to reuse their code across platforms and devices with Visual Studio and integrates the vast array of libraries available in the open source community built on .NET.
Fluent Design System
The Fluent Design System is the evolution of Microsoft’s approach to creating the very best user experiences. Experiences with Fluent Design feel natural on the device you’re using, whether it’s a large screen desktop with keyboard, a laptop or tablet with touch, a mixed reality headset, or one of many other computing form factors. Applications using Fluent Design are optimized for consuming content and are efficient and powerful to use for creating and collaborating, and they help you to achieve more… they are experiences you love to use!
For developers, the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update provides a comprehensive solution for creating applications with Fluent Design in a way that’s simple, powerful and flexible to your needs. It includes UX building blocks, guidelines, samples, tools, and a community to help you build the best experiences for your customers. Here are some highlights:
The Navigation View control provides an easy, consistent home for getting around your app.
Acrylic Material gives you a rich new visual building block that helps you create information hierarchy and greater immersion in your app.
The Reveal Highlight interaction visualization built into many controls helps your experience feel natural to use across as disparate inputs as mouse, pen, touch and gaze.
Connected Animations aid usability by preserving context and increasing engagement, and are so easy to adopt incrementally.
Gesture Actions like swipe build on familiar patterns to help users efficiently and naturally get stuff done.
Learn more about all the different building blocks and features you can take advantage of at: http://developer.microsoft.com/design.
Device Relay and Activity Feed
Microsoft Graph and Project Rome enable new and exciting ways to drive user engagement across apps, devices and platforms. Device relay allows your customers to continue what they’re doing right now, but on a different device and Activity Feed, allows them to pick up an activity they were doing in the past, and continuing it now or sometime in the future.
Helping your customers stay connected to what they need to do right now isn’t as easy as it used to be. People have multiple devices they switch between and they expect them to all work together. Using the Remote Systems and Remote Sessions APIs, you can do truly delightful device relay scenarios to help your customers use the right device for the task.  The Remote Systems APIs enable you to communicate with the user’s devices across Windows, Android and iOS.
With the Activity Feed, you can keep your customers engaged and help them resume what they need to do next. Your customers can’t always finish what they were doing in a task or session in your app, but you can still help them pick up where they left off between devices and experiences by simply adding an activity to the Activity Feed using the UserActivity API.
Build and monetize your games and applications
Lastly, with the Expanded Resources feature in the Fall Xbox One Update, we’ve made another investment in the promise to open Xbox One to UWP game developers who want to build more immersive experiences. Now, developers will automatically have access to 6 exclusive cores, 5 GB of ram and full access to the GPU with DX12! We designed Visual Studio 2017 with game developers in mind! We built a brand-new work-load based installer in Visual Studio 2017, which optimizes the install experience for game developers, so you get everything you need and nothing you don’t.
We recently launched the Xbox Live Creators Program, and this gives anyone the ability to build and publish games for the Xbox One family of devices and Windows 10 PCs. You don’t have to go through concept approval, and the certification is simplified. What’s more is that you are able to leverage select Xbox Live features like stats, leaderboards and cloud saves. We have added more monetization options and tools in Microsoft Store. Interactivity is the future of live streaming and Mixer is our fast and interactive live streaming platform. We have the Mixer SDKs for the major game engines and languages and you can make something cool in less than an hour. Our goal is to create a community of indie game developers. We want to foster open discussions between developers and Windows, and each other. With that in mind, we are bringing back Dream.Build.Play in 2017. The 2017 Challenge has a prize pool over $225,000 (USD), with several categories.
Community and thanks
We were pleased today to have been joined on stage in London by two creative partners building UWPs for unique and innovative experiences.  Black Marble, a UK based developer is building on its history of simplifying law enforcement experiences with a new Mixed Reality UWP to bring MR to courtrooms. Texthelp, another UK based company, showcased a UWP application and Edge extension that helps improve reading and writing comprehension for children with dyslexia and students learning in a second language. Texthelp has also announced a new app, EquatIO, which assists learning in mathematics.
Whether you’re building immersive experiences for Windows Mixed Reality, games, education or business applications, community is crucial to the Windows developer platform. I’d also like to take a moment to thank all developers who are participating Windows Insiders Program and have been using the Fall Creators Update Preview SDK. We value your insight and suggestions, as well as your feedback.
I look forward to seeing what you create with the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update SDK. The Windows Dev Center is open now for submissions to the Microsoft Store! For more details, go to dev.windows.com.

Windows Developer Day Returns!

Windows Developer Day is back! Join us on October 10, starting at 9:30 AM PDT via live stream, or attend a viewing party in your area (location list below), as we explore what’s new in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update for developers.
The day’s schedule features an introductory keynote by Kevin Gallo and members of the Windows engineering team, a live-streamed Q&A session and several streaming sessions diving deeper into the current Windows 10 update.
Learn what’s new for developers in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update
No matter what you’re working on, you’ll find plenty of new features and improvements to make your software more compelling:
Game devs
Game Mode and new performance enhancements improve the gameplay experience for most of your players.
Xbox Live Creators Program lets you integrate Xbox Live into your game and publish to both Xbox One and Windows 10.
Mixer is the only next gen streaming service that offers viewers real-time influence and participation in your players’ live streams.
Windows Store improvements help you promote your games with video trailers and control timing and pricing more precisely.
Commercial devs
.NET Standard 2.0 adds more than 20,000 new APIs and lets you share code across all your .NET code base.
Xamarin lets you use your existing C# and .NET skills to build truly cross-platform apps for iOS, Android and Windows 10 devices.
Desktop Bridge improvements to tooling and more make it much easier to convert your existing Win32 and .NET software to Windows 10.
Windows Mixed Reality delivers new levels of immersion to help you enhance the visual experience of your users.
Consumer devs
Microsoft Graph and UserActivity API make your end-to-end experience seamless by connecting screens and experiences across devices and platforms.
Fluent Design System helps you engage your users continuously across all their devices with beautiful, expressive experiences.
Tooling improvements within Visual Studio make it easier to create, convert and deploy your software.
.NET Standard 2.0 adds more than 20,000 new APIs and lets you share code across all your .NET code base.
Live Stream Viewing Parties
Join other developers from your local developer community and attend a Live Stream Viewing Party hosted by a Microsoft Windows Development MVP. Enjoy refreshments, watch the live stream, participate in the Live Q&A alongside your peers and make new community connections!
Here is a list of the locations: 
Amstelveen, Netherlands
Bonstetten, Zurich, Switzerland
Boston, MA, USA
Chicago, IL, USA
Cologne, Germany
Dresden, Germany
Durban, South Africa
Ghent, Belgium
Manchester UK
Mexico City, Mexico
Milan, Italy
Milwaukee, WI, USA
Moscow, Russia
Munich, Germany
Paris, France
Penang, Malaysia
Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain
Singapore, Singapore
Stockholm, Sweden
Vienna, Austria
Zagreb, Croatia
Learn more about Windows Developer Day and sign up here!

Windows Template Studio 1.3 Released!

We’re extremely excited to announce the Windows Template Studio 1.3.
In this release, we added in app scheme launch, finalized our work for localization, massive improvements in accessibility and started our work for Visual Basic support.
What’s new:
For a full list of adjustments in the 1.3 release, head over to WTS’s Github.

New Feature:
Scheme to launch app (aka myAwesomeApp://myDeepLinksIntoMyApp?foo=bar)
Template improvements:
Default Windows theme support added to template
Files are now UTF-8 with BOM to make sure all cultures are supported
Accessibility support in templates
Improvements to the Wizard:
Accessibility support in Wizard drastically improved
Lots of under the hood bug fixes and code improvements
All needed parts for localization are built-in now (looks like we missed window to get actual localized files)
Initial VB engine work was added in.
Bug fixes
Process improvements:
StyleCop enforcements across Template and Wizard code bases
Appveyor added for pull requests to be sure we have proper continuous integration checks
Required work for .NET Foundation
How to get the update:
There are two paths to update to the newest build.
Already installed: Visual Studio should auto update the extension. To force an update, Go to Tools->Extensions and Updates. Then go to Update expander on the left and you should see Windows Template Studio in there. Click “Update.”
Not installed: Head to https://aka.ms/wtsinstall, click “download” and double click the VSIX installer.

What else is cooking for next versions?
We love all the community support and participation. In addition, here are just a few of the things we are currently building out that will be in future builds:
Fluent Design in the templates
Ink templates
Improved Right-click->add support for existing projects
Localization in the wizard
Visual Basic support
Caliburn.Micro support
Prism support
With partnership with the community, we will continue cranking out and iterating new features and functionality. We’re always looking for additional people to help out and if you’re interested, please head to our GitHub at https://aka.ms/wts. If you have an idea or feature request, please make the request!

The UWP Community Toolkit v2.0

Today, the UWP Community Toolkit graduates to version 2.0 and sets the stage for future releases.
There have been seven releases since the UWP Community Toolkit was first introduced exactly one year ago and version 2.0 is the first major and largest update to date. The developer community has worked enthusiastically to build something that is used by thousands of developers every month. Today, there are over 100 contributors, and developers have downloaded the packages over 250,000 times. This would not be possible without the strength of the community – Thank You!
For developers, and designers alike
Beginning with the v2.0 release, the UWP Community Toolkit is making efforts to align with the latest Windows 10 Fall Creators Update to enable developers to take advantage of the new APIs and the new Fluent Design System.
The Fluent Design System defines several foundational elements that will make new designs perform beautifully across devices, inputs and dimensions. To prepare for the general availability of the Fall Creators Update later this year, the community has committed to update all UWP Community Toolkit controls to adopt Fluent Design. Over the coming months, new and existing controls will be updated to support light, depth, material, motion and scale. The sample app will also be updated to take full advantage of the new foundational elements to demonstrate what is possible.

Updating the Sample App
The UWP Community Toolkit Sample App showcases toolkit features for developers by providing tools to get started using the toolkit in their apps, and it continues to get better. In the largest update since the initial release, developers can now edit XAML directly in the sample app and instantaneously view the results side by side. This is a very powerful addition that allows developers to get started with development immediately by simply downloading the app from the store.
But that’s not all. Taking inspiration from the Fall Creators Update, the sample app has been updated to use an improved and redesigned navigation model. The navigation has moved to the top and it’s now much easier to get to any sample. In addition, a new landing page has been added to make it easier to find what is new and keep track of favorite samples.

Beyond UWP
The UWP Community Toolkit has received feedback about the importance of supporting cross-platform development to enable developers to share more of their code across platforms. Version 2.0 introduces two new packages: Microsoft.Toolkit and Microsoft.Toolkit.Services with the commitment to support more cross platform APIs in future releases. These packages are built with .NET Standard and support any platform with .NET Standard 1.4 and above. The Bing Service is the first API to go cross-platform and there is currently work underway to move more services to the new packages.
What else is new?
As with every release, the community has worked together to share their ideas, build new controls and helpers libraries and improve the UWP Community Toolkit for everyone. This release is no different.
There are several large additions and updates to highlight here, but make sure to visit our release notes for all additions and improvements:
Added InAppNotification control – a control to show local notifications in app
Added TextToolbar control – text editing control that enables easy rich text and Markdown formatting
Updated Expander to support all orientations and added LayoutTranformControl from the WinRT XAML Toolkit
Updated Menu to support underline characters, orientation and many other improvements
This is just the start
We learned a lot in the past year, and the community has worked together to make toolkit APIs as easy and flexible as possible. Few APIs and packages have been restructured to make them more convenient for developers and allowed more flexibility for future additions and updates. For example, the Microsoft.Toolkit.UWP.Connectivity package was added to unify all connectivity APIs such as Bluetooth and networking. Likewise, all extensions and helpers are now unified under a single namespace and are consistent across API.
As a reminder, although most of the development efforts and usage of the UWP Community Toolkit is for Desktop apps, it also works great on Xbox One, Mobile, HoloLens, IoT and Surface Hub devices. You can get started by following this tutorial, or preview the latest features by installing the UWP Community Toolkit Sample App from the Windows Store.
If you would like to contribute, please join us on GitHub! To join the conversation on Twitter, use the #uwptoolkit hashtag.