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Posted 10 Feb 2012

Stop Watch application for Windows Phone 7

, 1 Mar 2012
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Stop Watch application for Windows Phone 7

Description: Stop watch


Few weeks back, I wanted to use a stop watch to measure the time it takes to complate a 400 meter lap. I looked all the installed app in my Windows phone but couldn't find one available. A quick search on Windows market place and I found plenty of stop watch application on Windows market place for free which encouraged me to write one for myself.

This application is a very basic stop watch. It starts the stop watch once a user presses start button. The timer continues until user presses stop button. While stop watch is on, user can add laps. The application also has some other basic features like

1. turning off the idle time screen out. This feature was important as, to save battery, usually phone screen automatically turns off if inactive for few seconds.

2. Saving timer values if moved away from the application. This is to save the values if user moves away from stop watch application accidently without stopping the timer.

This application is posted on Windows Phone app market. Check it here.

Required software

Silverlight for Windows Phone toolkit

Windows Phone Developer Tools

Visual Studio 2010

Without these softwares, this application will not compile.

Basic design

Visual Studio provides many different templates for Windows Phone development as shown below.

Description: VS2010PhoneDevOptions.png

Before I start my design choices, I will present a basic understanding of few of these templates.

The most basic template is Windows Phone Application. User is presented with a scrollable screen. User can move to next screen by pushing on some button. The screen can be scrollable vertically but not horizontally. A developer can add application bar to give user choices like change settings or selection of different menu.

Pivot application presents data in a tab format. This might be the most common format for Windows phone development as user can swipe horizontally to see/tap other tabs. Check the Marketplace application for a sample of this template. The nice thing about the pivot template is that a developer can add an application bar.

Panaroma applications are very similar to pivot application but they don't have any application bar. Basically this type of application acts like a large canvas and user swipes horizontally to see other available options. The application title stretches to multiple screens and each section is narrower than the entire phone width so that the next available section is visible to user. The entire screens is wrapped around so that swiping from last option, the screen will move to first option.

To develop this application, I have chosen Windows Phone Panaroma Application. The choice is mainly based on the fact that I liked the look of this type of application and in my application, I don't need an application bar as I can give all the user choices in one of the sections itself.

To show elapsed time, I developed a new control, TimeSpanControl. Initially I used a simple text block and was updating this text block everytime elapsed time chaged. The problem with this approach was that the update of the text was not smooth. It looked like an old Windows desktop paint application where the text used to flicker during update.

To save data to/from phone, I created a generic class, PersistSettings. This class is based on an article on isolated storage in Silverlight on the web-site. This class automatically saves the data everytime a variable (attached to this class) is used. When user comes back to this application (using OnNavigatedTo event handler), the settings load from the isolated storage.

The application uses a timer to calculate the elapsed time.

The entire application is divided into 3 sections: timer, settings and about. The timer section displays the elapsed time, user controlled lap count and reset buttons. The settings section has few settings like turning off the screen lock feature and a warning message for reset timer values. The about section is basically about the application like the version etc.

Using the code

As mentioned above that this application has three pararoma items: timer , settings and about. Each section uses a grid with various rows (and possibly columns).

 <controls:Panorama x:Name="StopWatch" Title="stop watch" Foreground="White" FontFamily="Calibri" FontSize="18">

<!--Panorama item one-->
<controls:PanoramaItem x:Name="ElapedTimer" Foreground="White" FontSize="16" Header="Timer">
<RowDefinition Height="Auto"/>
<RowDefinition Height="Auto"/>
<!--Panorama item two-->

To use the Windows phone toolkit, I added the namespace in the Xaml file as shown below (on top of the file):


To use an included namespace, just prefix the name as shown below:

<toolkit:ToggleSwitch x:Name="ResetWarning"
   Header="Reset warning"<br>                        IsChecked="True"
                       Unchecked="ResetWarning_Unchecked" Content="Yes"
                       Grid.Row="1"/><local:timespancontrol fontsize="40" fontfamily="Segoe WP Bold" horizontalalignment="Center" digitwidth="28" grid.columnspan="4" grid.row="0" x:name="TotalTimeDisplay"><local:timespancontrol x:name="TotalTimeDisplay" grid.row="0" grid.columnspan="4" digitwidth="28" horizontalalignment="Center" fontfamily="Segoe WP Bold" fontsize="40" />

The exact same way any user controls can be used.

Usually Microsoft.Phone namespace provides many useful features to control phones like shown above. To perform phone related tasks like sending an email, start camera or search a particular content in the MarketPlace, use the Microsoft.Phone.Tasks namespace.

As an example, to turn on/off the idle time screen lock, just use the IdleDetectionMode enum as shown below:

private void UserIdleModeOnOff_Checked(object sender, RoutedEventArgs e)
    this.UserIdleModeOnOff.Content = "Yes";
        Microsoft.Phone.Shell.PhoneApplicationService.Current.ApplicationIdleDetectionMode =
    catch (InvalidOperationException ex)

Persist settings class

This class uses a key/value pair to save or retrieve data from isolated storage. This is a generic class and can be used to save any kind of basic data like integer, string etc. To use this class just use it as:

PersistSettings<int> currentLap = new PersistSettings<int> ("LapCount", 0);

where LapCount is the value we want to save. To use the LalCount, just use as LapCount.Value. The Value property is implemented in a very simple way:

public T Value
        // Try to get the value from Isolated Storage
        if (!IsolatedStorageSettings.ApplicationSettings.TryGetValue(
      , out this.value))
            // Value is not set so set it for future use
            IsolatedStorageSettings.ApplicationSettings[] = this.initialValue;

        return this.value;

        // Save the value to Isolated Storage
        IsolatedStorageSettings.ApplicationSettings[] = value;
        this.value = value;

Time span control

The time span control is a user control which displays the elapsed time string within a defined width. If the elapsed time text won't fit within the defined width, the text will cut off. The interesting part of this control is that it has a fixed width and hence the text doesn't flicker as shown below:

public partial class TimeSpanControl : UserControl
        int digitWidth;
        TimeSpan time;

        public TimeSpanControl()
        // Required to initialize variables

            // In design mode, show something other than an empty text box
            if (DesignerProperties.IsInDesignTool)
                this.LayoutRoot.Children.Add(new TextBlock { Text = "00:00:00.0" });

        public int DigitWidth
            get { return this.digitWidth; }
                this.digitWidth = value;
                this.Time = this.time;

        public TimeSpan Time
            get { return this.time; }

                // Hours
                string hoursString = value.Hours.ToString();
                ConcatenateTime((value.Hours / 10).ToString());
                ConcatenateTime((value.Hours % 10).ToString());

                this.LayoutRoot.Children.Add(new TextBlock { Text = ":" });

                // Support two digits of minutes digits
                string minutesString = value.Minutes.ToString();
                ConcatenateTime((value.Minutes / 10).ToString());
                ConcatenateTime((value.Minutes % 10).ToString());

                this.LayoutRoot.Children.Add(new TextBlock { Text = ":" });

                // Two digits for Seconds
                ConcatenateTime((value.Seconds / 10).ToString());
                ConcatenateTime((value.Seconds % 10).ToString());

                // Add the decimal separator
                this.LayoutRoot.Children.Add(new TextBlock
                    Text = System.Globalization.CultureInfo.CurrentUICulture.NumberFormat.NumberDecimalSeparator

                // milliseconds display
                ConcatenateTime((value.Milliseconds / 100).ToString());

                this.time = value;

        void ConcatenateTime(string timeValue)
            TextBlock textBlock = new TextBlock
                Text = timeValue,
                Width = this.DigitWidth,
                HorizontalAlignment = HorizontalAlignment.Center



First version: Feb 2012

Updated on Feb 13, 2012 to add history of completed lap and time.


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Microsoft Public License (Ms-PL)


About the Author

Vivek Pandey (V)
United States United States
No Biography provided

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Comments and Discussions

GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
Pete Goodsall8-Mar-12 4:25
memberPete Goodsall8-Mar-12 4:25 
Questionvery useful Pin
kartalyildirim2-Mar-12 5:58
memberkartalyildirim2-Mar-12 5:58 
QuestionProblem Pin
newnew12326-Feb-12 10:59
membernewnew12326-Feb-12 10:59 
AnswerRe: Problem Pin
Vivek Pandey (V)1-Mar-12 15:49
memberVivek Pandey (V)1-Mar-12 15:49 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
Steve Maier18-Feb-12 16:20
memberSteve Maier18-Feb-12 16:20 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
Rahul Rajat Singh18-Feb-12 15:36
memberRahul Rajat Singh18-Feb-12 15:36 
QuestionNice app Pin
GregoryW14-Feb-12 2:03
memberGregoryW14-Feb-12 2:03 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
maq_rohit13-Feb-12 17:45
membermaq_rohit13-Feb-12 17:45 
GeneralMy vote of 1 Pin
abdurahman ibn hattab13-Feb-12 0:07
memberabdurahman ibn hattab13-Feb-12 0:07 
GeneralRe: My vote of 1 Pin
Vivek Pandey (V)13-Feb-12 6:43
memberVivek Pandey (V)13-Feb-12 6:43 
GeneralRe: My vote of 1 Pin
Jörgen Sigvardsson16-Feb-12 10:29
memberJörgen Sigvardsson16-Feb-12 10:29 
GeneralRe: My vote of 1 Pin
abdurahman ibn hattab22-Feb-12 1:45
memberabdurahman ibn hattab22-Feb-12 1:45 
GeneralRe: My vote of 1 Pin
Barry Lapthorn19-Feb-12 4:41
protectorBarry Lapthorn19-Feb-12 4:41 
GeneralRe: My vote of 1 Pin
chodi5-Mar-12 7:35
memberchodi5-Mar-12 7:35 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
Fardan11-Feb-12 11:44
memberFardan11-Feb-12 11:44 

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Article Copyright 2012 by Vivek Pandey (V)
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