So according to the latest Windows Phone 7 UI and Interaction Guides there is no way to use the built in animations in the OS:
“Built-in screen transitions and animations are system-reserved and developers cannot access them but may mimic them. If developers want to implement transitions or animations within their application, they must use Silverlight or XNA Framework to create them.”
This worries me. Months ago I posted about the problem of not having common Panorama and Pivot controls.
The problem with leaving it up to developers to implement these common things just leads to multiple inconsistence implementations, which ultimately degrades the user experience as a whole.
Applications should be allowed be implement their own UI. If an application implements a custom UI badly that reflects badly on that app. But if an application adopts the common system wide UI paradigms and metaphores and implements them badly it reflects badly on the system UI as a whole. Users won’t know whether to blame the app or the OS.
When it comes to UI, consistency is king and by leaving such a core elements of the UI in the hands of individual developers to create is guaranteed too lead to hundereds of slightly different implementation. The built in effects and transitions have been built by expert designers and include are some very subtle touches, which a developer looking to mimic the effect is unlikely to even notice, let alone remember to replicate.
We need to have a common control suite in Silverlight for Windows Phone 7.