Navigation through your Windows Style app

I was navigating through the code I found inside the default project templates that are available for Windows Style apps. They already contain a lot of plumbing, specially around navigating through pages.

While reading the LayoutAwarePage.cs I found some code that handles keystrokes. I even found out something I did not know.

- Navigate backward in an app using Alt+Left
- Navigate forward in an app using Alt+Right

But strangely, I’m using to navigate backward using the Backspace key, this was not in the default LayoutAwarePage.cs code. But when you for example use the Store app navigating backward using the Backspace key will work. So let’s improve the default LayoutAwarePage to support the Backspace key as well. Just add the highlighted code to the CodeDispatcher_AcceleratorKeyActived method inside the LayoutAwarePage.cs.

/// <summary>
/// Invoked on every keystroke, including system keys such as Alt key combinations, when
/// this page is active and occupies the entire window.  Used to detect keyboard navigation
/// between pages even when the page itself doesn't have focus.
/// </summary>
/// <param name="sender">Instance that triggered the event.</param>
/// <param name="args">Event data describing the conditions that led to the event.</param>
private void CoreDispatcher_AcceleratorKeyActivated(CoreDispatcher sender,
                                                    AcceleratorKeyEventArgs args)
{
    VirtualKey virtualKey = args.VirtualKey;

    // Only investigate further when Left, Right, or the dedicated Previous or Next keys
    // are pressed
    if ((args.EventType == CoreAcceleratorKeyEventType.SystemKeyDown ||
            args.EventType == CoreAcceleratorKeyEventType.KeyDown) &&
        (virtualKey == VirtualKey.Left || virtualKey == VirtualKey.Right ||
            (int) virtualKey == 166 || (int) virtualKey == 167))
    {
        CoreWindow coreWindow = Window.Current.CoreWindow;
        var downState = CoreVirtualKeyStates.Down;
        bool menuKey = (coreWindow.GetKeyState(VirtualKey.Menu) & downState) == downState;
        bool controlKey = (coreWindow.GetKeyState(VirtualKey.Control) & downState) == downState;
        bool shiftKey = (coreWindow.GetKeyState(VirtualKey.Shift) & downState) == downState;
        bool noModifiers = !menuKey && !controlKey && !shiftKey;
        bool onlyAlt = menuKey && !controlKey && !shiftKey;

        if (((int) virtualKey == 166 && noModifiers) ||
            (virtualKey == VirtualKey.Left && onlyAlt))
        {
            // When the previous key or Alt+Left are pressed navigate back
            args.Handled = true;
            this.GoBack(this, new RoutedEventArgs());
        }
        else if (((int) virtualKey == 167 && noModifiers) ||
                    (virtualKey == VirtualKey.Right && onlyAlt))
        {
            // When the next key or Alt+Right are pressed navigate forward
            args.Handled = true;
            this.GoForward(this, new RoutedEventArgs());
        }
    }
    if((args.EventType == CoreAcceleratorKeyEventType.SystemKeyDown ||
            args.EventType == CoreAcceleratorKeyEventType.KeyDown) && args.VirtualKey==VirtualKey.Back)
    {
        args.Handled = true;
        this.GoBack(this, new RoutedEventArgs());
    }
}
  • Gravatar Michiel Post November 10th, 2012 at 14:45
    This code sample breaks the backspace when you're typing in a TextBox. A little bit of code should be added to check if no input, like a TextBox, currently has focus. You can do that with the FocusManager.GetFocusedElement();
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