Enhanced feature request about icon sets in Visual Studio 2005#

I've seen on Tom Mertens' blog that Robert McLaws is asking to support the number 2 feature suggestion for Visual Studio 2005: an updated icon set that ships with it. I heartily agree. What's more: I'll top the suggestion and expand it a little.

We don't need just an updated icon set to ship with Visual Studio. If Windows Forms 2.0 is the final stage in Windows Forms development and Microsoft wants people to ship products with a compelling "User Experience" on the road to Longhorn, then they better start providing the community with the proper tools to do so. Icons are in important part of the user experience (platform-wide consistency is an important design principle), so the most important step here is indeed to make the common user interface elements obiquitously available.

In my mind, that's not just shipping the icon files with the development environment. It's also publishing those icons on a searchable resource-like website where you can just download the icon you need without having to search the entire web and skim out the ridiculously outdated or overly charging icon-library websites. Microsoft must already have some central library of these icons to be shared by the product teams so why not share it with the world?

The next step is to go all .NET'y and package a large number of common icons in strongly signed .NET resource assemblies (dll's). These could be distributed with the runtime and placed in the Global Assembly Cache (GAC) so they're readily available to all your .NET programs. That gives you the advantage of being able to update all your icons to the latest (fanciest) version with just a configuration change and it follows the same idea as reusable dll's in the first place: why embed all those common elements in each and every program when you can share one version between multiple programs?

Anyway, an update to the icon set would be a requirement in my mind. The rest would be a nice-to-have. But I really don't want to start searching the web for a decent looking Save button ever again.

Blog | Programming | .NET | VS.NET | Whidbey | WinForms | Windows | Longhorn
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