Monday, December 28, 2009

Windows 7, VS2010, WPF all mixed together DevX article style

DevX - Using Visual Studio 2010 to Write Killer WPF Apps for Windows 7

“When you're running on the latest OS, building on the latest framework, and working in the latest version of Visual Studio, you can take advantage of a number of exciting new features. Learn how you can use Visual Studio 2010, WPF 4 and the Windows API Code Pack to plug your applications into the Windows 7 UI.

by Steve Apiki

Some of the most exciting elements of the Windows 7 UI, like the new taskbar, or jump lists, lie visually outside the application proper but are an important part of the application experience. As a WPF developer, you can tie into these elements to tailor your application for Windows 7, fully customizing its behavior both inside and outside the main window.

With WPF 4, you've got almost all you need to access the sharpest features of the Windows 7 UI. WPF 4 includes built-in support for the Windows 7 taskbar, including custom thumbnail previews, visual feedback from the taskbar with progress bars and icon overlays, and custom jump lists. These features are ultimately supplied by the Windows 7 native API, but WPF wraps these APIs with managed code and exposes them as WPF classes. That means you can create jump lists and other UI objects in XAML, and bind them through a number of dependency properties.

Visual Studio 2010 boasts a number of new WPF-related features of its own, including a new visual designer, drag-and-drop databinding, and intellisense for markup extensions in XAML. These features, combined with WPF's new taskbar classes, allow you to build state-of-the-art Windows 7 applications using the full power of the latest version of Visual Studio.

Although WPF 4 fully supports the taskbar, there are other aspects of the Windows 7 API that aren't covered. These include, for example, Windows 7-style common dialogs. You can get to these from WPF using the Windows API Code Pack, an external library of managed wrappers. The Windows API Code Pack also has its own set of shell and taskbar classes which can be used from WPF 3.5 SP1.



This article has some of my favorite things, Windows 7, WPF and VS2010…

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