I have spent much of the past few months getting the Visual Basic Power Pack ready and released. The Visual Basic Power Pack is a VB team community project. It consists of seven custom controls written in Visual Basic .NET 2003. The controls provide enhanced user interface elements and enable you to create more interesting and more colorful client based applications.

The Power Pack controls are:

  • BlendPanel. Provides a gradiant fill background you can use on forms. Set the start color, the end color and the direction for the gradiant.
  • Notification Window. Provides a way to display messages using “toast“ like Windows Messenger uses.
  • UtilityToolbar. Provides a graphical toolbar that looks and behaves very much like the one in Internet Explorer.
  • ImageButton. Provides a button that displays images on a transparent background. So your button displays just the image and not the whole rectangle with the image.
  • TaskFrame. A container for TaskPanes. This control looks and behaves like the TaskPane in Word 2003 or Excel 2003. The TaskPanes are collapsable windows that can contain any control.
  • FolderViewer. Displays a hierarchy of folders on a computer.
  • FileViewer. Displays the files in a specfied folder.

The Power Pack controls live in the VB Power Pack workspace on GotDotNet. The controls come with the complete source code, as well as an article and short sample.

The controls were written by a contractor who used to be as a developer at Microsoft. Several members of the VB team provided valuable Testing and additional Development work. I was the Program Manager.

The Power Pack controls are unsupported code and you can freely change and redistribute them. We encourage you to visit and join the Workspace. The controls are up there and have been downloaded more than 500 times since they went live Wednesday afternoon. Come and discuss them in the Message Board. Join the workgroup and help us update and revise them.

I am in Boston today for a mini-vacation. When I get back in the office on Tuesday I will blog about the individual controls. In the meantime, play with them and let me know what you think.