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Windows Phone 8 : Creating a Photos Extras Application (part 1) - Adding Your App to the Extras Menu

2/22/2014 2:27:06 AM
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The Extras menu of the built-in picture viewer app allows you to add a link to your app so that the user can quickly launch your app from within the picture viewer. This effectively allows you to extend the picture viewer with your own app.

An Extras application may be used to enhance an image’s color, crop an image, convert an image to monochrome, or even read a photo’s Exchangeable image file format (EXIF) information to display where the photo was taken on a map.

For an example of an app that reads EXIF data, see the Photo Location app on the Windows Phone Marketplace. (Full disclosure: The app is written by my wife.)

When users tap the three dots on the application bar in the picture viewer, they see a menu containing a link to the Extras menu (see Figure 1).

Image

FIGURE 1 Users can activate a photo Extras application or a photo Share application.

Users selecting the Extras menu item see the list of apps that are registered as Extras applications (see Figure 2).

Image

FIGURE 2 The sample Extras application displayed in the Extras menu.

When a user selects your app from the Extras menu, your app is launched, and it receives an identifier (a token) that is used to retrieve the image from the phone’s image library.

1. Adding Your App to the Extras Menu

To indicate to the Windows Phone picture viewer that your app should be included in the Extras menu, the inclusion of an XML file called Extras.xml is required in the root of your XAP file.

To add the Extras.xml file to your project, follow these steps:

1. Right-click the name of your project in the Solution Explorer and select Add, New Item.

2. On the Add New Item page, select XML File; then name the file Extras.xml.

3. Select Add.


Note

Make sure that the Extras.xml file is set to Content. Contrary to the official documentation on MSDN, the Copy to Output Directory option should be set to Do Not Copy. You can do this via the Visual Studio Properties window after selecting the file in the Solution Explorer.


Edit the Extras.xml file so that it matches Listing 1.

LISTING 1. Extras.xml


<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?>
<Extras>
    <PhotosExtrasApplication>
        <Enabled>true</Enabled>
    </PhotosExtrasApplication>
</Extras>


When an app is installed on the phone, the OS scans the XAP file. When it discovers the Extras.xml file, it adds your app to the picture viewer’s Extras menu.

 
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