With the release of Microsoft® Windows Vista® and new development technologies such as Microsoft Silverlight™, .NET Micro Framework and Microsoft Windows® Presentation Foundation [WPF], expectations of what constitutes an acceptable application user interface on various Microsoft client platforms have never been higher. Since a long this move was expected from Microsoft as the company is aggresively capturing mobile deveolopment market, the Independent Software Vendor (ISV) creating software for Microsoft Windows Mobile® has always had to compete on features and functionality, but increasingly also faces competition on look and feel. Developers creating LOB (Line of Business) Windows Mobile solutions must now consider going beyond the out-of-the-box Windows Forms controls available in the .NET Compact Framework to create more compelling Windows Mobile–based application user interfaces that match the new graphic metaphors introduced in Windows Mobile 6.
Creating controls for .NET Compact Framework–based applications—which includes transparency, gradients, and three-dimensional glass-like appearance—is well within reach today, using existing Microsoft Windows Mobile development tools. This article will demonstrate how to achieve transparency, gradients, and glass effects by extending existing .NET Compact Framework controls and leveraging some powerful native graphics features available in the Windows Mobile operating system.