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Posted 1 Jun 2009
Licenced LGPL3

WPF Application Launchpad

, 1 Jun 2009
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An easy way to launch your most common applications with one click


Yet another tool that helps you to launch your favorite applications. I also like Launchy or the RocketDock, but I wanted to have something simple where I can access my most used apps with one click.

You can access the application by clicking the icon in the notification area of the task bar.

Using the Code

The app itself is really simple. I use a small domain model consisting of two classes: One class to represent the categories (like Office, Development, etc.) and another which is composed inside the categories and represent the shortcuts. All this is accessible by a context object which uses a change tracking and persistence framework and XML files as backend.

The synchronization between model and UI is completely done by databinding: There are two nested items controls: One for the category and the nested one for the shortcuts. The logical representation of the application state and the functionalities are aggregated in the MainViewModel.

A "goodie" is that each link is surrounded by a color which is the average of the icon color (implemented in the AmbilightConverter).

Points of Interest

I learned something interesting about usability which I never realized before: I mentioned that if you want to access the app, you have to click the notify icon - which is quite small, at least smaller than the start button of the start menu. You have to "concentrate" a lot if you want to hit the icon - it's MUCH harder than hitting the start button. Even if the start button is bigger, it's not _so_ much bigger than a notify icon - WRONG! Then I realized that the start button is indefinitely big, because it goes beyond the corners of your screen, so you just have to push your mouse in the corner of your screen - and you will hit it automatically! So if you have an item which is very important and must be very easily accessible, think about placing it in one of your corners!

Open Issues

There is no way of extending the application externally. Right now, we can just run shortcuts. It could be nice having a mechanism that enabled you to implement a different behavior for the shortcuts, e.g. opening another menu, etc.

Maybe it would be nice replacing the start menu with this, which I did not do yet. Or implementing a hot key mechanism.

Extracting the Filesystem Icons

For this task, I used a nice implementation from vbAccelerator which saved me a lot of work. The licence can be found here.

Have fun!


  • 1st June, 2009: Initial post


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPLv3)


About the Author

Ronald Schlenker
Software Developer (Senior)
Germany Germany
No Biography provided

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Comments and Discussions

QuestionHow do I statically add a container and pin programs? Pin
solutionsville10-Oct-18 5:27
membersolutionsville10-Oct-18 5:27 
QuestionApplication for Framework 4.0 Pin
Seltaeb29-Jul-14 21:39
memberSeltaeb29-Jul-14 21:39 
Questiondoes not launch Pin
klingdon5-Aug-12 23:10
memberklingdon5-Aug-12 23:10 
Questionwpftoolkit Pin
Member 837850311-Apr-12 5:28
memberMember 837850311-Apr-12 5:28 
GeneralMissing resource Pin
sinun10-Sep-09 20:17
membersinun10-Sep-09 20:17 
GeneralRe: Missing resource [modified] Pin
Ronald Schlenker13-Sep-09 23:45
memberRonald Schlenker13-Sep-09 23:45 
GeneralRe: Missing resource Pin
sinun24-May-10 23:14
membersinun24-May-10 23:14 
GeneralRe: Missing resource Pin
justinlavelle13-Jan-11 9:16
memberjustinlavelle13-Jan-11 9:16 
GeneralRe: Missing resource Pin
thastyle19-Sep-11 11:09
memberthastyle19-Sep-11 11:09 
QuestionVery nice but appears not to save/load settings??? Pin
Mike Tuersley10-Jun-09 3:57
memberMike Tuersley10-Jun-09 3:57 
AnswerRe: Very nice but appears not to save/load settings??? Pin
Ronald Schlenker10-Jun-09 21:35
memberRonald Schlenker10-Jun-09 21:35 
GeneralRe: Very nice but appears not to save/load settings??? Pin
Mike Tuersley11-Jun-09 5:44
memberMike Tuersley11-Jun-09 5:44 
GeneralI do not know how to use it Pin
Seraph_summer1-Jun-09 10:26
memberSeraph_summer1-Jun-09 10:26 
GeneralRe: I do not know how to use it Pin
Ronald Schlenker1-Jun-09 11:00
memberRonald Schlenker1-Jun-09 11:00 
GeneralCompiled version Pin
iSHR!1-Jun-09 5:27
memberiSHR!1-Jun-09 5:27 
GeneralRe: Compiled version Pin
Ronald Schlenker1-Jun-09 6:43
memberRonald Schlenker1-Jun-09 6:43 

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