I took a look at some cool Dot Net controls this past week that help you create a full featured explorer clone and make working with some of the shell functions in Windows much easier. Sky Software's Shell MegaPack 8 is much easier to use than trying to do it yourself with the Windows API. They have made it as simple as some drop on components!
The first controls I looked at were their explorer controls, called FolderView, FileView and ShComboBox. The combination of the 3 give you a drop on solution for an entire explorer clone. They were very easy to use. Having never seen them before, I had an explorer clone running in less than 5 minutes. Take a look at the screen shot below. It shows 2 of their controls working together, the FolderView and the FileView. The FileView is linked to the folder view and you’re done. Notice the right click in the shot. It’s a full Windows right click with all options just like you get in the real explorer.
Next I checked out their ShellObjects control. This control will save you a ton of time and work if you need to interact with other shell commands in Windows such as the taskbar icons and notifications, the task scheduler and URL links in your application. They seem to have thought of everything that you would use to notify users from animated task icons to fully customizable toast pop ups. Check out the two screen shots below for a balloon notification and a toast popup. All aspects of both can be customized. You can change the icons and backgrounds, make them look like Outlook desktop notifications, set the size and position and control how the user interacts with it.
Overall, I was impressed with Sky Software’s Shell MagaPack. It’s easy to use and will save you a ton of time. If you need any of their functionality in your application, I would definitely download their trial and check it out. It comes with many samples that show you all its capabilities and how to implement them.