Windows 7 will be available for download to MSDN and Technet subscriber in less than 2 weeks. I thought I’d introduce a few controls to make Windows 7 development easier for C# and .NET programmers. The controls will be written for .NET 2.0 & Windows Forms, but will obviously be compatible with .NET 2.0, 3.0, 3.5 and the upcoming 4.0.
The first control I want to give you is a way to use the new progress bar in your app’s taskbar icon. This is what the new taskbar progress bar looks like when Internet Explorer downloads a file:
Of course, what good is integrating this shiny new behavior into your apps if isn’t backward compatible with Windows 2000, XP and Vista? None at all. And since this taskbar behavior is included in wyUpdate & wyBuild 2.2+, backwards compatibility is a must. Here’s our Windows 7 Progress Bar running on Windows 2000 – Windows 7:
Don’t use the Taskbar Progress Bar
Like any new shiny piece of technology everyone wants to add it to their program. The flip side is that most of the times you shouldn’t use it. Let me quote the Windows UX guide directly:
Is the progress feedback useful and relevant while using other programs? That is, are users likely to monitor the progress while using other programs, and change their behavior as a result? Such useful and relevant status is usually displayed using a modeless progress dialog box or a dedicated progress page, but not with a busy pointer, activity indicator, or progress bar on a status bar. If the status isn’t useful when using other programs, just display the progress feedback directly in the program itself.
In the incorrect examples, the taskbar button progress bars aren’t very useful.
Is the task continuous? If the task never completes, there’s no need to show its progress. Examples of continuous tasks include antivirus scans and file indexing.
In this example, a continuous task doesn’t need to show progress.
By the way, the Windows User Experience Interaction Guidelines is a must read for all Windows Developers. It’s a shit name (why not Windows Usability Guide?), but it has quite a few good tips. All I can ask is that you skim it once.
How we use the Taskbar progress bar in wyUpdate & wyBuild
We’ve integrated the Windows 7 Taskbar progress bar in both wyBuild & wyUpdate. Here’s wyBuild creating updates for Nero Burning ROM:
Here’s wyUpdate installing an update:
- Progress Bars from the WUXIG (Windows User Experience Interaction Guidelines): All you ever wanted to know about progress bars
- Windows 7 taskbar design guidelines from the WUXIG: Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about designing for the Widows 7 taskbar.
- Introducing the Taskbar APIs: C++ code for integrating your app with Windows 7
Get Windows 7 Progress Bar Now
The latest version of the Windows 7 Progress Bar C# source code, example projects in VB.NET and C#, and binaries are available on the open source component page.
If you have any questions, or find any bugs you can report them in the comments or in the wyDay forum.
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