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Swapping application bars dynamically on Windows Phone 8

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  • User profile image
    Mauricio Feijo

    Its 5:20 AM and I woke up at 4:45 with an approach that would make my life easier. Had to code it. It worked beautifully, so I had to blog it to get opinions and help others.


    The app I am working on have 2 states, and on each state the user will see a different set of buttons and menu items on the app bar.

    I didnt want to write the app bar completely in C#, for I always choose XAML over C# when possible. Otherwise we would just write it all in C#! 

    I started by creating the buttons as app resources in APP.XAML. Note that some buttons overlap both app bars, so this approach avoids having 2 buttons that do the same thing.

    <shell:ApplicationBarIconButton x:Key="ChooseButton" IconUri="/Images/ChooseButton.png" Text="choose">

     I then added both app bars to APP.XAML resource as well, referencing the buttons as StaticResources

    <shell:ApplicationBar x:Key="AppBarState1" IsVisible="True" Opacity="0.5">
    <StaticResource ResourceKey="ChooseButton" />

    Now on the page code behind comes the inevitable C#. I feel this is perfectly OK as it has to do with procedure and intelligence rather then declaration.

    var chooseButton = (ApplicationBarIconButton)App.Current.Resources["ChooseButton"];
    chooseButton.Click += ChooseButtonClick;

    After setting up the button handlers we will decide which app bar to show and assign it to the page's ApplicationBar property:

    ApplicationBar = (IApplicationBar)App.Current.Resources["AppBarState1"]; // choose based on app state

     I hope this helps some folks. If you think of a more elegant or appropriate way of achieving the same , please let us know.

  • User profile image
    Dr Herbie

    @Mauricio Feijo: Nice solution -- will this work in WP7 or just WP8?

    My WP7 app used C# to change the app bar buttons (see example on StackOverflow), but your solution is much more elegant.  Well done!


  • User profile image
    Mauricio Feijo

    Thank Herbie!

    I am not really sure if it will work on  WP7. Hopefully it will. If you try let us know the results.

  • User profile image

    Wondering if you could provide a sample  to download and see how it works. My email is if you want to shoot it over to me, i've been pulling my hair out with this.


    many thanks,


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