Windows Shell (Windows Vista)

Introduction

Windows Shell is the container in which the entire Windows Vista® user interface is presented, including the taskbar, the Desktop, Windows Explorer, and many of the dialog boxes and interface controls.

New features and interfaces enable developers to build applications that fully exploit and extend the capabilities of the Windows Vista Shell as a programming environment.

Windows Shell Improvements

Application portability and maintainability is improved by the Windows Vista Shell, providing a level of indirection to the common locations on the system (such as the Documents area or System directory) through known folders. Using the extensibility of the Windows Vista Shell, creating and managing new handlers for hardware, hardware events, and easier device synchronization.

The Shell in Windows Vista now exposes an extensive API for the Synchronization Manager, which provides a standard technology for synchronizing files between two computers. Typically, this technology is used to synchronize files for offline use by a mobile computer or a desktop that has only periodic connection to a network. Windows Vista exposes synchronization functionality to the user through the new Sync Center application which provides a centralized place to manage all synchronization partnerships.

Software developers also have access to the new wizards, common controls, and the various explorer controls used by the Shell.

This section introduces the new controls found in the different explorers in Windows Vista. They include:

  • Windows Explorer

  • Namespace Explorer

  • Internet Explorer® 7+

The new Windows Desktop Manager (WDM) is a component that manages the display of Graphical User Interface (GUI) objects. WMD works in conjunction with other new display technologies in Windows Vista to make the new visual effects possible. The Shell provides a limited API set to interact with WDM.

The Windows Vista data Search and Organize model allows greater specification of how file data is searched, handled, and displayed. For more information, see Search and Organize.

In addition to supporting these new features, the Windows Vista Shell API is expanded to add a range of interfaces and functions to support common programmatic operations such as working with Shell objects and special Shell folders. For more information, see "Developing with the Windows Shell" in the MSDN Library.

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