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Hi friends,
How are you? I have a small problem and I am confused 'cause I am not sure about what is the correct place to look for it. Yet I have tried google but in vain (probably 'cause I wasn't sure about the correct query to find, yet I am not sure).

Here's my small question : I am trying to do some designing in VS 2013 Express (I am not a VS guy) and I am so big a fan of new VS theme (or style whatever it is called). I thought of designing something like that. But then, I am completely stuck (obviously, I am not a VS guy). I am not sure, if I have to use WPF to do all the beautiful designing or I have some hope with the old Window Form Application?
The simple question is, I want to design those sidebars (property window, solution explorer etc) that are locked to side and can be released also. I am 100% sure that it is possible 'cause the super-putty application have them (not that beautiful but yes).
Please help me regarding it. Don't consider me a know nothing guy 'cause I already have created a few application in C# so, please if you will just give me some useful pointer then I am sure that I can do it. A very Thank you in advance and a very Happy New Year to everyone :-)

With Regards
Tushar Srivastava
Sergey Alexandrovich Kryukov 29-Dec-13 14:11pm    
What is VS theme? VS is nothing but one IDE. Even if suck themes existed (I never heard of any), it would not worthy to waste time on them.

Do you mean styles/themes/skins for your applications? Then this is you would be the one who decides what what they should be for: WPF, Forms, ASP.NET, Silverlight or anything else. Until you decide it, the question does not really make much sense.

Er. Tushar Srivastava 29-Dec-13 14:15pm    
Oops!! Actually I that is the reason I didn't find anything on google so I thought that human Intellgence might understand my poorly asked question and give me some pointer (no offense). Actually, you have seen VS 2012, it has a whole new look. That new GUI, theme, design or skin (whatever you say) is what I am talking about. Please do understand, I am enjoying my vacations and so I asked silly questions (yet not silly for me). If guys at Microsoft can design that beautiful GUI that why can't I. Just what I need is some pointers.
Sergey Alexandrovich Kryukov 29-Dec-13 14:24pm    
There is nothing so silly in your question except some vagueness of it. That's why I answered assuming different possible meanings of your request. Did at least one hit? :-) If so, please don't forget to formally accept my answer. :-)
If this is about Visual Studio extensions (first link), choose the version of MSDN documentation ("Other versions" drop-down list on top of the page) you are interested in.

Good luck,
Er. Tushar Srivastava 29-Dec-13 14:45pm    
:) Sir, You have seen the Solution Explorer in VS 2012. It is hidden to the left/right hand side of the Application as a small tab. And when it is expanded, it is docked to the left/right hand of the window and the tab itself is hidden. It also offer you an option to pin it etc. I am trying to do similar. :) Please help if this is more explanatory and you have some pointers :) A very Thank you again.
Sergey Alexandrovich Kryukov 29-Dec-13 15:54pm    
You are welcome. I still did not see VS 2012 and 2013... Do you want to implement this style of docking... where?

If you are talking about Visual Studio extensions, you can start with[^].

If you are talking about skins/themes for the applications you want to develop with Visual Studio, you need to learn appropriate part of the .NET FCL:[^].

And you can look for available 3rd-party libraries solving such problems. For example:[^].

Best wishes in New Year!
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Er. Tushar Srivastava 29-Dec-13 14:18pm    
+5 it :) I hope that the links provided may help me moving ahead :) Thank you and a very Happy New Year to you too :)
Sergey Alexandrovich Kryukov 29-Dec-13 14:27pm    
Thank you for the vote, but, as the author of the original question, you are supposed to accept the answer formally (green "Accept" button) as well. It won't block this page from getting other answers, and, in all cases, your follow-up questions will be welcome.
Er. Tushar Srivastava 29-Dec-13 14:32pm    
I suggest you divide your project into two areas: window docking and management; and, themes.

Both these libraries offer you some powerful tools for window management:

1. On CodeProject there is Chris Richner's May, 2013, article: Magic Library Docking Manager Designer: [^].

2. A powerful open-source library for multi-window docking, and dynamic re-sizing, in Win Forms C# is Weifenluo's DockPanel Suite: [^]. DockPanel has (last time I looked) some support for use in Mono (I don't use Mono).

If your goal here is not just to find a "solution," but, to develop yourself as a programmer in C# Windows Forms, learning how to simulate docking of Windows is a very good experiment.

Happy New Year (western-style)
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Er. Tushar Srivastava 29-Dec-13 18:44pm    
Very thoughtful explanation. Very Thank You :-) and a Very Happy New Year to You too :-) Interestingly I found that books remain your best friend forever. The book called "WPF 4 Unleashed" actually has touched some concept and explanation about those beautiful dockable panes (as mentioned in the book) :-) +5 for your answer :)
BillWoodruff 29-Dec-13 19:16pm    
WPF offers a much richer potential user-interface design facility than Windows Forms. The "learning curve" required to master WPF's GUI/HX potential, and create advanced custom styles, and effects, may, however, be "steep." With WPF, you have a synergy with MS's Blend designer to assist you in developing complex, visually rich, interfaces. There are lots of resources for developing in WPF here on CodeProject.

There are lots of resources on the web for "skinning" or "theming" in WinForms. There are companies that provide both free, and commercial versions of libraries, like DotNetSkin (which I don't use):

I use commercial WinForm UI Controls from Lidor Systems' IntegralUI Suite, which, to my eye, have the richest possible styling facilities, as well as high-performance (the Suite, however, does not contain a general window-management library with docking, etc.).

cheers, Bill

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