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.Notifier

, 1 Sep 2008
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Notifier: an Outlook-like notification window

Introduction

This article provides a popup-less notification window, and saves the user from the "Click-on-the-OK-button-to-continue" pain.

Background

When using Microsoft Outlook, you come across a mail notification window that appears slowly and fades off. But, when you drop your mouse back on the window, it becomes opaque, and then again on mouse away, it fades off, and this process continues. So, eventually, it either fades away or you ignore the window, or you close it or you click it to read the mail. This article describes how to build that kind of a window using C#.

The Logic

The following are the steps involved:

  1. Make opacity level 0 initially.
  2. Display window.
  3. Start to show timer T1.
  4. Gradually increase the opacity in T1 until it reaches a maximum level 1.0.
  5. Stop timer T1.
  6. Start the hiding timer T2.
  7. Decrease the opacity level in T2 until it reaches the minimum level 0.01.
  8. Stop timer T2.
  9. Clean the message.
  10. Close the window.

Using the Code

The basic class that implements the logic is KNotifio.

Hide the Notification Window Timer

The hide timer event goes as follows:

privatevoid tmrHide_Tick(object sender, EventArgs e)
{
   //Decrease the opacity level until its greater than zero
   if (this.Opacity > 0.00)
   {
      this.Opacity -= 0.01;
   }
   else
   {
      //Window has gone completely transparent
      tmrHide.Stop();    //Stop the timer
      CloseWnd();        //Close window
   }
}

Show the Notification Window Timer

The show timer event goes as follows:

private void tmrShow_Tick(object sender, EventArgs e)
{
   //Increase opacity until it reaches maximum
   if (this.Opacity < 0.99)
   {
      this.Opacity += 0.01;
   }
   else
   {
      //Window already opaque
      tmrShow.Stop();     //Let's stop the timer

      tmrHide.Start();    //Start hiding the window
   }
}

Closing the Notification Window

Following is how the window is closed:

private void CloseWnd()
{
   try
   {
      //Stop timers
      g_Fio.tmrHide.Stop();
      g_Fio.tmrShow.Stop();

      g_Fio.Close();                          //Close the form
      m_strPreviousMessage = string.Empty;    //Clean message
   }
   catch (Exception exec) { }
}

How the Window is Shown

public static void Show(string strMessage, i nShowTime, int nHideTime)
{
   //Set the time it should take to show the window
   m_nShowTime = nShowTime - 5;
   //Set the time it would take to hide the window
   m_nHideTime = nHideTime;
   Show(strMessage);
}

The Show() Method

public static void Show(string strMessage)
{
   try
   {
      if (m_strPreviousMessage == strMessage)
         return;
      else
         m_strPreviousMessage = strMessage;
         KNotifio theNotifio = new KNotifio();
         g_Fio = theNotifio;
         theNotifio.txtMessage.Text = strMessage;
         theNotifio.Show();
         theNotifio.panel1.Focus();
   }
   catch (Exception exc)
   {
      ;
   }
}

Initialization/Constructor

public KNotifio()
{
   InitializeComponent();
   tmrHide.Interval = m_nHideTime;    //Set timers
   tmrShow.Interval = m_nShowTime;

   try
   {
      //Set round rects
   } catch (Exception exc) { }

   //Move window close to system tray (above the clock)
   Location = new Point(Screen.PrimaryScreen.Bounds.Width -
      this.Width, Screen.PrimaryScreen.Bounds.Height -
      this.Height - 50);
}

Rounded Corners

We call an API to make the corners round.

/// <span class="code-SummaryComment"><summary></span>
/// Provides MS Outlook styled dynamic notification window
/// <span class="code-SummaryComment"></summary></span>
public partial class KNotifio : Form
{
   //Need to make our window a bit rounded.
   [DllImport("Gdi32.dll", EntryPoint = "CreateRoundRectRgn")]
   private static extern IntPtr CreateRoundRectRgn
   (
      int nLeftRect,        // x-coordinate of upper-left corner
      int nTopRect,         // y-coordinate of upper-left corner
      int nRightRect,       // x-coordinate of lower-right corner
      int nBottomRect,      // y-coordinate of lower-right corner
      int nWidthEllipse,    // height of ellipse
      int nHeightEllipse    // width of ellipse
   );
....

Points of Interest

User specific window animations can be set. Similarly, for instance, the message type is critical information, and the box can made blinking, etc. The control can be made more animated, user focused, and we only would need to set the AnimationTypes.Warning tags.

License

This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)

About the Author

syntaxed
Team Leader
Pakistan Pakistan
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Comments and Discussions

 
GeneralSeperate Thread Question PinmemberEdP244-Feb-10 6:52 
GeneralMy vote of 2 PinmemberAKeck1-Feb-10 4:37 
GeneralGood work PinmemberDinesh Mani7-Sep-08 18:08 
GeneralRe: Good work Pinmembersyntaxed4-Mar-09 1:27 

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