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Developing with the Windows API Code Pack for Microsoft .NET Framework

During PDC, we announced the availability of a new version of the Windows API Code Pack (version 1.0.1). That same day, I had the pleasure of demo-ing how to use the API Code Pack to build great Windows 7 applications. If you missed the session (or weren't able to attend PDC), you can check out the video recording and grab the decks from session page - Developing with the Windows API Code Pack for Microsoft .NET Framework.

While Windows 7 is an awesome operating system that runs faster while consuming fewer resources than its predecessor, it also includes new exciting features and capabilities that both users and developers can enjoy. Taskbar, Sensor and Location platform, Libraries, Multitouch, new DirectX capabilities, and graphics improvements are just a few of the many technologies and features that Windows 7 offers developers to help your applications shine while running on Windows 7.

The number of commercial applications that leverage the various Windows 7 technologies is too long to list, but here are a few popular applications that we demonstrated during the PDC Keynote and that shine on Windows 7: iTunes, Kindle for PDC, Autodesk Project Cooper, and Seesmic Desktop.

While not all of the above-mentioned applications use the API Code Pack (some are not even managed), they all tap Windows 7 features to enhance the user experience. The Windows API Code Pack enables managed code developers to take advantage of such features and build great windows applications. During the session, I presented a few examples of managed applications that leverage Windows 7 features:

  1. Fishbowl for Facebook is a great example of amazing Taskbar functionality - (video time code 00:05:02 – 00:07:41)
  2. Photo View (AKA XP2Win7) is another example of a developer reference application that showcases a lot of Windows 7 features - (video time code 00:08:33 – 00:10:12)
  3. Kindle for PC is the Windows version of Amazon Kindle that you can download today. Specifically, I showed the Taskbar integration and the multitouch support (video time code 00:07:42 – 00:08:23)
Next we dived into a few demos showcasing implementation of the Windows API Code Pack. I included the code for each demo:

  • Jump Lists Demo – is a very simple Win Form application shows the basic usage of the Taskbar API, focusing specifically on jump lists. (video time code 00:26:30 – 00:34:27)
  • Zoobar (download Part1, Part2) – is a bit more functional WPF application that showcases how the Taskbar can be used to show more than windows and documents. This application uses multiple Taskbar controls, like overlay icons, progress bar, thumbnail buttons controlling images, custom switcher and previews showing specific animals. (video time code 00:35:15 – 00:40:50)
  • Library Manager – is one of the samples we use in the Windows 7 training course. It goes through every API method that the Windows Shell API has to offer for working with Library. (video time code 43:04 – 42:27)
  • MSDN Reader (binaries only) – is a WPF application that uses a light sensor to change the way we display content. The MSDN reader displays articles from MSDN, mostly text with some images. When used with a light sensor, we can change the size of the font and use of colors to change the contrast and enhance the readability (video time code 00:50:14 – 00:51:36)
  • Racing Game– is a cool XNA racing game that features a red car (it always has to be a red car) that you can control using an accelerometer sensor that that measures the Earth's gravitational power and provides information about the orientation of the device relative to Earth. The sample is very simple and cool, as playing games is always great fun. (video time code 00:51:55 – 00:57:15)
  • Session Q&A (time code 01:00:24 – 01:07:32)
You can download the updated deck including the speaker notes and watch the video.

You can learn about the above mentioned technologies and on developing for Windows 7 using the Windows 7 Training Kit for Developers or by viewing Windows 7 videos on Channel 9.


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