Windows 7 has released (for folks who don’t know) since more than 6 months and has already tipped past 100 million copies in sale. So the proclivity for Windows application developers would be to flood the market with Apps. to make their mark now. Also, with improvements in Aero, Muti-point support, security, UI, better taskbar (now called super-bar), etc it gives you more reasons to develop on Windows 7 platform. Even if you’re a developer who has started with Windows Forms Application development on .Net or someone who has been developing since long then focusing on Apps. leveraging the API’s and features of Windows 7 should be on your priority list. And believe me, the results will shoot past your expectations.
Well, now getting straight to the point – Windows 7 SDK was there and now there’s Windows API Code Pack for developing on Windows 7. So what’s the difference ... ? Read on …
Windows 7 SDK
- Offers documentation, libraries, header files, tools to develop Windows Applications using Win32 and managed technologies (i.e. .Net Framework).
- Online articles suggest the version 7.0 is meant to run on Visual Studio 2008. Windows 7.1 SDK (to be shortly released) will support .Net Framework 4.0 and Visual Studio 2010.
- Meant for native Win32 development and hence supports only VC++.
- Apps. developed on it runs only in Windows 7 but the Apps. can be developed on Win XP/Vista.
For download, requirements and instructions : Here
Windows API Code Pack (I’ll be focusing more here)
- Provides a source code library to develop Apps. running on Windows 7 leveraging a majority of features on Windows 7.
- Acts as a wrapper for Windows 7 API using managed code.
- Supports C# and VB.Net for writing the code.
- Works well with both VS 2008 and VS 2010.
- Is open-source
- More revisions underway as more features are being added.
The features supported in the Windows API Code Pack :
- Taskbar animation support
- Jump Lists, Icon Overlay, Progress Bar, Tabbed Thumbnails, and Thumbnail Toolbars
- Windows Shell and libraries
- Muti-touch API
- Other Windows 7 enhancements :
- Services & task scheduling
- Version checking
- Install detection
- User interface privilege isolation
- Session 0 isolation
- Windows Instrumentation
Requirements for Windows API Code Pack :
- Windows 7 RTM (some features work on Vista as well)
- .Net Framework 3.5 SP1 or above
- Visual Studio 2008/2010
- Windows 7 SDK (if the Windows Ribbon is used)
For more features, download, instructions, videos, examples, blogs : Here
Forums for Windows API Code Pack : Here
Previously known as Windows scenic Ribbon, Windows Ribbon for WinForms is a .NET wrapper for Windows 7 Ribbon control – inherently supported in Windows 7 API. It will allow WinForms developers to use Microsoft Windows 7 Ribbon control in their WinForms applications.
The Windows Ribbon holds some minute details as follows :
- Developed by Microsoft and imitates Office 2007 Ribbon.
- Not a part of Windows API Codepack but is a wrapper built on top of it.
- Uses XAML as the mark-up language as the presentation layer for the Ribbon.
- Supports three versions - MFC Application (using VC++), WPF application (C# & VB.Net) and Win Forms (C# & VB.Net).
- Is open-source.
For feature additions, issue-trackers, source-code, forums, sample examples and downloads : Here
Note : You also need Windows 7 SDK for compilation of the project source-code offered over the above link.
For a complete how-to guide on Windows Ribbon : Here
Well if you’ve noticed, the developers of Windows API Code Pack have offered the entire project source-code for download. But things can be made pretty much simple by just compiling these projects and referring their resulting DLLs when developing your Applications instead of keeping the Windows API Code Pack project source-code in our project.
You can download this DLL pack Here.
Now the same with Windows Ribbon is difficult but their developers have come out with a difficult compromise here.
So what are you waiting for .. ? Follow the below mentioned three steps for developing your App. leveraging the features of Windows 7 :
1. Add the above offered DLL pack ‘ As a reference ’ in your Windows Forms Application project.
2. Refer the examples here to learn the code specific to the feature you want to use.
3. Add the requisite namespace and use the code.