Microsoft has never been able to achieve the same level of UX consistency as Apple (or any other major software vender for that matter). The usual excuse is that Microsoft cannot control the way other developers write applications and although they produce style guidelines they cannot enforce them. This is certainly a valid point but I think Microsoft make problems for themselves.

Take as an example the Ribbon control, a recent innovation that started out in Office 2007. This is a recent control and so there is really no excuse for getting it wrong. So how many implementations of the ribbon would you expect there to be? Let us count them…

1, Office 2007 has the original.
2, Windows 7 has a different implementation.
3, Visual C++ now has a ribbon MFC classes.
4, WPF has a version written in managed code.

No wonder they need 100,000 developers at Microsoft when they duplicate so much work. Although they did cheat with the Visual C++ version as they bought it from a component vendor. Versions 1, 2 and 3 all have different code bases even though they all use C++ for the core implementation. I will cut them some slack on the WPF version as it needs to be written in a managed language and not C++.

Now add into the mix all the different ribbon controls from venders, including myself, for Window Forms, WPF, Silverlight and C++ and you’re talking about a massive level of coding duplication. Still, keeps us all in work I suppose.

6 Responses to “Ribbon Mania”

  1. JohnFermor Says:

    And then they have the audacity to implement licencing of the ribbon component to ensure that 3rd party developers adhere to the their design guidelines to avoid misuse!

  2. Hitesh Says:

    Your view is very correct!. MS itself has many redundant version of code for same functionality. They are the one who design .NET Framework!

  3. Ira Says:

    Where they have been successful in all three ribbon controls, is in having the controls share a common object model. Yes the C++, Win 7 and WPF ribbons are based on different tech, but they are all editable using the same XML format.

    This means if I need a text editor tab (much like Word/Excel/Outlook all having a text editor ttab), the same implementation can be used across all technologies.

    This cogency is something really lacking in 3rd party suites. In truth the same could be said about the datagrid control. At present the Silverlight and WPF grids are being developed by different teams, when in reality it is the same WPF tech so you would expect the grid controls to be near enough identical but they are not.

  4. Phil Wright Says:

    I didn’t realise that several of the versions could accept the same XML definition. That is certainly a help in keeping them consistent.

  5. Mayanja Says:

    You are correct. The only time where Microsoft was sharing was between Visual Studio and Office 2003 and below (the command bars).

    But in general, Microsoft’s UI implementation is chaotic and inconsistent. Look at the Live wave of apps – totally inconsistent and again doesn’t match with anything in the OS.

  6. Hitesh Says:


    Can you include smooth “animation” feature in winforms like VISTA or google picasa. They have beautiful animations when window is open or closed. It would be a great add-in feature if u can provide it in next release.

    – Hitesh

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