I have had a excellent week working on my toolkit. I feel like I’m really starting to make progress on my main application. This week I have been working hard on the foundations again but things are really starting to take shape. Features are becoming easier to reuse and the development is starting to speed up because of it. The best part about the development is that because its following the MVVM design pattern theres a nice separation between UI and Logic. For the developers reading I have no code behind in my views, and my views contain little XAML! Happy Days! For you none developers that means when the new version of MSCRM comes out it will be easier for me to adapt the toolkit to interface with it!
Time for another sneaky peak!
The screen shot you see below is the area where you can add all your connections to the CRM systems that you configure. As you can see things are really starting to come together now. The connections area is pretty much complete! Also in this area you have the ability to view a list of your connections. Should you wish you can select items from the list and remove them to keep your connections up to date!
The only section that is left to implement in this area is the ability to test your connection to make sure it is valid before you add it to your connection list. The idea behind this is that you can make sure that all your connections are valid.
Currently all connections that the toolkit knows about are stored in an XML file within the toolkits data folder. The XML file is simple and allows you to setup connections outside the toolkit should you wish. The file might be exportable in the future should there be a need for it.
I have been busy creating base control templates so that a specific style can be applied across the toolkit and its applications. I have pretty much modified most of the elements I will be using in my toolkit and applications. Just another reason why things are starting to speed up.
In styling the controls I have made sure than everything is big and simple. A lot of MSCRM tools I have download and used tend to try and squeeze as much info on the screen so the UI elements tend to be small and look a little messy.
The colours used match that of the MSCRM 2011 logo. Blue boxes are navigation buttons. Orange are action buttons. The yellow border around elements means they are currently selected.
The style for tooltips is in place and its bold and in your face! I want to try and add as many tooltips as I can to the toolkit to help guide users through using my application.
I have added a few transition animations to the toolkit in order to smooth things out. When clicking through Applications, Connections, Options and About the screen fades in instead of sharply showing up.
The recent activity monitor is really starting to take shape now. I have made it very easy for a message to be sent and the log to pick it up. Error messages can now be sent and the log will pick it up, even exception errors! The monitor can also log warnings. I am looking at implementing a proper error logging and display mechanism. Thats next on the list!
So all is going well 🙂 The Application, Options and About area should be very quick to implement. I’m hopeful that I can get these areas nailed down soon and move on to creating the application interface. Its this interface that will allow the toolkit to consume other tools that I create. With all this work gone in to development you might think things are a bit messy with code. Well check these indexs out! Not bad 😀