Resource Editor Updates for Orcas


My name is Bogdan Mihalcea; I’m a developer in the Visual C++ IDE team. In the course of the last few months we have updated the Resource Editor to support new Windows Vista features and guidelines.

We concentrated our efforts around the Dialog Editor, Image Editor and Icon Editor. Below you will find a summary of the updates we have made for each of the editors.

Dialog editor

Windows Vista introduced a set of new common controls. The Resource Editor along with MFC in Visual C++ now supports all these controls along with their styles, messages and notifications. The user will be able to drop the new controls on the Dialog and change styles using the property grid, getting the immediate visual response in Dialog Editor to these changes. This update includes adding all the new messages and notifications that come with the new common controls.

Vista also updates the UI guidelines for client applications. By default, new dialogs will respect these guidelines regarding distances between controls, margins, sizes and fonts.

We have also updated all of our existing commons controls to have Vista-specific capabilities. This includes adding new styles, messages and notifications. As part of the same effort, we did the same work for XP-specific functionality. Finally, in order to be complete, we added a missing XP control “SysLink Control” to our tool box for Dialog editor.

Image Editor

PNG images are becoming a standard image format for a wide range of applications. Many Vista applications use PNG images and the format seems to be gaining momentum amongst new applications.  We updated the Image Editor to be able to display images in PNG format as well as adding support for editing 24-bit images.

When creating new images, the Colors dialog (Image palette dialog) now shows the colors organized by sorted RGB values as opposed to the traditional random behavior. For existing images, we continue to use the image’s embedded palette if it exists (e.g. icons).

In order to facilitate browsing multiple images we changed the image editor’s title such that it also displays the image’s size, color depth and format. This makes locating the right image given the set of open tabs much easier.

We introduced a new menu option “Open in External Editor” that will allow our users to edit PNG or other image formats using their preferred application.

Icon Editor

While the Icon editor benefits from all the improvements in the Image editor, we have also extended its functionality.

We introduced a navigation bar that contains a preview of all the images in the opened icon file. They are identifiable by the size, color depth and format information.  This navigation bar can even double as a live preview of current edits. For images smaller than or equal to 64×64, the preview is not scaled, while larger images are automatically scaled down to 64×64.

We welcome any suggestions you might have about Resource Editor, or feature requests for future versions.

Bogdan Mihalcea
Visual C++ IDE Team