Many applications use a standard user input element, such as a menu, to provide quick access to frequently used functionality. In Windows applications, for example, you're probably used to seeing the standard text-based menu, with entries such as File and Edit, as well as toolbar icons and the newer Ribbon icons. You could implement similar menus in Windows Phone 7 applications, but the preferred way of achieving this is to use the built-in application bar. All Microsoft-supplied Windows Phone 7 applications provide the application bar, and if you use it as well, you'll provide users with a consistent user experience.
The application bar can be opaque or semi-transparent and can contain up to four icons in a panel at the bottom of the device screen. It can also give users access to a list of additional text menu commands via a pop-up selection panel.
The Windows Phone 7 toolkit allows you to add buttons and text items that look and respond just like the built-in ones. Microsoft has even provided a downloadable pack of icons for you to use (included in the download of Expression Blend for Windows Phone, available at www.microsoft.com/expression/windowsphone/), as shown in Figure 7-1.
NOTE The downloadable ...