Working with Themes in Silverlight Toolkit (C# based)


Themes are like styles that you can apply to your Web pages. While ASP.NET 3.5 had ample support for styling through themes, Silverlight 2 itself does not include any built-in support for themes. This has been overcome now by the Silverlight Toolkit.

The Silverlight Toolkit is an open source community project hosted at

A number of controls from the Toolkit have already been explained in various articles here.

In addition to these controls, the Silverlight Toolkit also provides themes.

In this article, we shall see how to use these themes with some amount of coding in the Page.xaml.cs file.

Before you begin, download the latest release of the Toolkit from The December release should work fine. The November release of the Toolkit seems to cause some exceptions when themes are used. So make sure you download the December 08 (or later) release.

Once you have extracted the zip file into a desired folder on your PC, you will have folder structures similar to Figure 1, 2 and 3 for themes.

Figure 1.jpg

Figure 1: The main dll files for using the Silverlight Toolkit

Figure 2.jpg

Figure 2: Themes that are defined in the Toolkit

Figure 3.jpg

Figure 3: The XAML files for the themes

Now comes the step by step procedure to use themes in your application. Create a Silverlight 2 application having the following user interface:

Figure 4.jpg

Figure 4: UI for the application

The Page.xaml for this UI may look like below:

<UserControl x:Class="ThemeDemo.Page"
 Width="400" Height="300">
    <Grid Background="LemonChiffon" Width="300" Height="180" Name="LayoutRoot">
            <ColumnDefinition Width="150" />
            <ColumnDefinition Width="150" />
            <RowDefinition Height="Auto" />
            <RowDefinition Height="Auto" />
            <RowDefinition Height="Auto" />
            <RowDefinition Height="Auto" />
            <RowDefinition Height="Auto" />
            <RowDefinition Height="Auto" />
            <RowDefinition Height="Auto" />
        <TextBlock Name="txtblkName" Grid.Row="0" Grid.Column="0" Text="Enter Customer Name:" Height="Auto" HorizontalAlignment="Left">
        <TextBox x:Name="txtName" Grid.Row="0" Grid.Column="1" Text="" >
        <TextBlock Name="txtblkAddr" Grid.Row="1" Grid.Column="0" Text="Enter Customer Address:" HorizontalAlignment="Left">
        <TextBox x:Name="txtAddr" Grid.Row="1" Grid.Column="1" Text="" >
        <TextBlock Grid.Row="4"></TextBlock>
        <Button Grid.Row="5" Grid.ColumnSpan="2" Content="Submit" HorizontalAlignment="Center"></Button>

Once this is done, open the Page.xaml.cs and type in code similar to the below:

using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Linq;
using System.Net;
using System.Windows;
using System.Windows.Controls;
using System.Windows.Documents;
using System.Windows.Input;
using System.Windows.Media;
using System.Windows.Media.Animation;
using System.Windows.Shapes;
using Microsoft.Windows.Controls.Theming;

namespace ThemeDemo
    public partial class Page : UserControl
        public Page()
            Loaded += new RoutedEventHandler(Page_Loaded);

        void Page_Loaded(object sender, RoutedEventArgs e)
            Uri uri = new Uri(@"ThemeDemo;component/Microsoft.Windows.Controls.Theming.RainierOrange.xaml", UriKind.Relative);
            ImplicitStyleManager.SetResourceDictionaryUri(LayoutRoot, uri);
            ImplicitStyleManager.SetApplyMode(LayoutRoot, ImplicitStylesApplyMode.Auto);

The ImplicitStyleManager class is defined in the Microsoft.Windows.Controls.Theming namespace and is a static class.

According to the available documentation in the Toolkit folder (look for the .chm file) the purpose of this class is to "encapsulate an attached behavior that propagates styles in a framework element's associated resource dictionary to its children". In simplest terms, it means that if you use this class and apply a theme to a layout container such as a Grid, all the contents of the Grid would have the same theme. This is a great concept!

Go to the Solution Explorer. Click References -> Add Reference and add references to all the dlls that were shown in Figure 1.

Copy the XAML file of the desired theme into your project folder and save it locally as part of your project.

Save, build and test the application. Ensure that you have replaced "ThemeDemo" in the above code with the name of your own application.

You will see that when the page is loaded, the RainierOrange theme is applied to all the contents of the Grid. Figure 5 shows a sample output.

Figure 5.jpg

Conclusion: Thus, in this article, you explored how to use themes from the Silverlight Toolkit.

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