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Windows 7 Libraries .NET Sample Library Ė an Overview
Libraries are the primary entry points to user data in Windows 7. They are the natural evolution from the userís Known Folders, including those for documents, pictures, music, and videos. However, before jumping into the technicalities, letís try to explain what a Library in Windows 7 is. A Windows 7 Library is a user-defined collection of content that represents the userís data independently from the folder hierarchy. Users can unify and flatten the folder hierarchy by aggregating any number of physical locations (on their local machine or on remote machines) into a single view Ė which is the library. By including folders in Libraries, users tell Windows where their important data are located. In Windows 7 therefore, most applications should use a Library instead of the userís Known Folders. It is important to note that as Libraries are an integral part of the Windows Shell, they play a greater role in the Windows 7 Explorer user experience. Accordingly, the importance and integration points of Libraries span multiple parts of the Windows Shell, including the Common File Dialog, Folder Picker, and the Windows Explorer Browser control (not Internet Explorer!).
This is the first post in a series of Library posts. It provides an overview of both the Windows 7 Library functionality and the Libraries Sample .NET Interop Library, which is a managed code wrapper and part of the Windows 7 .NET Interop Sample Libraries. The second post is all about Understanding Windows 7 Libraries. In future posts, we will dive into the internal implementation of Libraries as well as how to use the Libraries programming model and APIs.
If you are unfamiliar with and havenít seen any demonstrations of the updated Windows 7 Shell and Libraries in action, I suggest you watch the Windows 7: Find and Organize Part 1 webcast on Channel 9. This will give you some context for the technical material we cover here.
Letís review the Windows 7 Libraries .NET Interop Sample Library architecture and note the important classes. Please remember that the Libraries sample is part of the Taskbar and Libraries assembly. Since both Taskbar and the Libraries share many common integration points with the Windows Shell, it makes sense to have them grouped together and use the same Shell structures and methods.
Opening the solution reveals the following structure:
The demos in the Libraries folder highlight all the above-mentioned Library functionality. Letís review them:
Here are some additional resources for programming Windows 7 Libraries:
Alon Fliess contributed to this post
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