There are two objectives for the components that I am writing. The first is to ensure that they look really good so that developers can quickly create professional looking applications. The second is to provide exceptional functionality around the area of managing the application workspace.
The Krypton Toolkit is going to be a free set of components and so can only offer a limited set of functionality. After all, we cannot give away the crown jewels for nothing! But it does need to deliver on the presentation side.
If the developer can use the controls to build a great looking application in only a couple of minutes then you have already impressed them. First impressions count because if you disappoint them in the first couple of minutes they will uninstall and look at another product.
Raising the users opinion of your product is very difficult, if not impossible over the short to medium term. It is much easier to start with a good impression and then work hard to maintaining that so it does not drop in the future.
Our default look and feel for all the controls is going to be called Professional Office 2003. Not a very catchy title but it indicates straight away that it is intended to give a professional look and feel that is consistent with the found in Microsoft Office 2003.
Here is a picture of an application that took about 60 seconds to create.
The distinctive blue color scheme will be familiar to all windows users that are running Windows XP with the default theme. If you switch to an alternative theme such as Silver then it will update to give the following appearance.
Of course, not all users are going to be running Windows XP and so it also mimics the Office 2003 look when used under the traditional windows classic scheme.
This will be our default look and feel because the majority of developers will want to mimic the appearance of Office 2003. Everyone uses the Office suite of applications and so end users will be instantly familair and at home with the appearance.
The second palette I have added to the toolkit is called Professional System and is very similar. Instead of using the current desktop theme to determine the blue/green/silver colorset it always uses the current system colors to calculate the appearance. This look and feel is therefore the same as for Visual Studio 2005 itself.
The next step is to create an easy to use component that the user can customize to create their own palette that is applied to all the toolkit controls and even the menu and toolbar area. That will allow the full flexibility of the controls appearance to be exposed.