How would the Vista gadgets look like on XP?

The other weekend, I got some spare time to see how I could go in re-creating the sidebar experience that will ship with Window Vista on XP.  I was amazed at how far I could get using Expression Interactive Designer. Here is the current status of my effort:


I only wish I could show some off some of the transition effects – in this case, a picture is not speaking the 1000 words they say it does.  At some point in the near future (once an appropriate version of WinFX run-time ships) , I will post the source code for this project on CodePlex. If you download the code, you will be held responsible for contributing a gadget of your choice to this project J.

Not bad for a weekend’s worth of work ah?

Note: Contrary to some of the e-mails I have recieved, this project has nothing to do with the Vista Gadgets. This is only an imitation of them created as a Windows Presentation Foundation application using the Expression tools. The main goal of this project was to see how the Expression tools would scale up to a more real-world application, and to understand some of the usability issues of the tool so we could fix them.

Comments (16)

  1. PatriotB says:

    Gotta love gadgets:  Active Desktop components that can be non-rectangular. 🙂

  2. Just to clarify, this project has nothing to do with Vista’s Gadgets. This is only an imitation using Windows Presentation Foundation, creating using the Expression tools.


  3. Foxfire says:

    How do you create transparent non-rectangular Windows in WinFX? I seem to only get non-opaque Top-Level windows without using any Win32 calls, which you said you didn’t use.

  4. UnniR says:

    There is a reason why I am not releasing the source code for some of my last few examples :).

  5. BaFu says:

    Why don’t you release the source code for this cool sidebar sample?

  6. Deepak_ancil says:

    I can’t wait to see your sidebar tools. If you don’t mind can you post your sidebar tools atleast?



  7. ghead says:

    Hi Unni,

    I’ve had a lot of fun tearing this example apart and putting it back together in many different ways.  Some of these experiments worked great, others not so much.  One of my failed experiments was to rework the code to include the Gadgets as part of the main assembly and not be separate dlls.  I think all my problems here boil down to namespace issues, plus a failure to understand Activator.CreateInstance.  Could you show the implementation of a very basic Gadget – one that just displays a textbox for example – that could be compiled as part of the main assembly?  I would also like to see how it would be created using Activator in the LoadGadgets method.  

  8. sandy says:

    Thank you for sharing the project!

  9. mpf_guy says:


    how can i find the source code…

    i want to see the implementation.

  10. Mister2 says:

    So, why don’t you just expand on google’s skins and skills? its alot more well known and, no offence meant, but i don’t really download from sites i don’t trust. i think lots of people trust google and will look at that more. plus, it will give other people ideas… anyway i might not remember about this post, so if you get mad at me or something, then email:


  11. vincent says:

    How would the Vista gadgets look like on XP?

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