Windows Phone 7 App Development

Starting an WP7 app with alternate start page

with one comment

I have had to change the method for starting Master Key in order to fit in with the way that the WP7 page navigation works.  On the face of it the issue is pretty trivial and one that users would typically only hit once or twice during their use of the App.

WP7 uses a browser based metaphor for moving between pages in an application.  So you can move from page to page and the history is retained on a stack, pressing the back button returns to the previous page.  This can seem confusing, Page1 can invoke Page2 and this can in turn invoke Page1.  However it will NOT be the original Page1 but a new instance of it.  Pressing back on this last page will will return to Page2 and pressing back again will go to the first instance of Page1 (pressing back one more time will close the App).

Master Key requires the user to enter the master key password in order to access the secured information.  However when the user first starts Master Key the user has to enter the password that will be used on subsequent visits and I have a different UI for this.

I originally wrote the code so that the MainPage.xaml checked to see if the users vault (the list of passwords) already exists and if it does not then the page re-directs in the OnNavigatedTo event in MainPage.xaml to a password entry page called EnterPassword.xaml where the user enters the master key.

If the user enters a valid master key and presses ‘ok’ then the vault is set up and the app is ready to use.

However if the user hits the ‘back’ button before entering a valid password then the App is left in a state of limbo and will hit the same OnNavigatedTo event in the MainPage.xaml which will re-invoke the EnterPassword.xaml page again.

I could write code to trap this cycle but wanted to look at the alternatives; one of which is to have different start pages.  I.e. when the vault exists then the MainPage.xaml will be the start page, and if the vault does not exist then EnterPassword.xaml should be the start page.

This is best achieved using Uri remapping by adding the code to the App.xaml.cs Application_Launching event:

private void Application_Launching(object sender, LaunchingEventArgs e)

    UriMapper mapper = Resources["uriMapper"] as UriMapper;
    RootFrame.UriMapper = mapper;

    // Update the mapper as appropriate
    if (DAL.VaultExists)
        mapper.UriMappings[0].MappedUri =                   
          new Uri("/MainPage.xaml", UriKind.Relative);
        mapper.UriMappings[0].MappedUri =                   
          new Uri("/EnterPassword.xaml?type=newvault", UriKind.Relative);

The App.xaml has to be modified to have a default UriMapper added to it (note the addition of the xmlns:navigation namespace).


    <!–Application Resources–>
        <navigation:UriMapper x:Name="uriMapper">
            <navigation:UriMapping Uri="/MainPage.xaml" />

It works and I can see uses for it in other Apps; however it comes at a cost that ruled it out for me as the back button behaviour is to return to the page that was navigated from.  This means that once the user has entered the master key password and started to make entries then hitting the back button will return to the EnterPassword.xaml page again which is not a great UX.

I ended up combining the Open and New Vault pages into MainPage.xaml as there is a lot of overlap in their functionality – I then simply drive changes into the UI in the OnNavigatedTo event as appropriate to what the user is doing.  Thus the ‘new vault’ info is shown when the vault does not exist and then when the user returns back to this page again and the vault does exist the ‘open vault’ page is shown.




Written by metadevblog

May 1, 2011 at 2:59 pm

Posted in Master Key, Silverlight, WP7

One Response

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Excellent post, extremely helpful – many thanks!

    Richard Lowe

    May 16, 2012 at 6:57 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: