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Posted 1 Dec 2002

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TaskbarNotifier, a skinnable MSN Messenger-like Popup in C# and now in VB.NET too

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30 Mar 20034 min read
The TaskbarNotifier class allows to display an MSN Messenger-like animated popup with a skinned background

Image 1

Introduction

Since I am learning C#, I thought it would be helpful for me to port my C++ CTaskbarNotifier class (http://www.codeproject.com/dialog/TaskbarNotifier.asp[^]).

As a result, I coded an MSN Messenger-like skinnable popup, with a close button which looks almost like Microsoft's one (with the associated skin).

The TaskbarNotifier class inherits from System.Windows.Forms.Form and adds a few methods to it.

Features

The MSN messenger like popup supports:

  • A custom transparent bitmap background
  • A skinnable 3-State close button
  • A clickable title text
  • A clickable content text
  • A selection rectangle
  • Custom fonts and colors for the different states of the text (normal/hover)
  • Animation speed parameters

Compatibility

This class is stand alone and doesn't need any particular libraries except .NET default ones. It runs in managed code and hence should be portable.

How to Use the Class

  • First of all, copy TaskbarNotifier.cs in your project directory.
  • Add on the top of your source code, the directive:
    C#
    using CustomUIControls;
  • Add a member variable in your class:
    C#
    TaskbarNotifier taskbarNotifier;
  • In your constructor, add the following lines:
    C#
    taskbarNotifier=new TaskbarNotifier();
    taskbarNotifier.SetBackgroundBitmap("skin.bmp",
                        Color.FromArgb(255,0,255));
    taskbarNotifier.SetCloseBitmap("close.bmp",
            Color.FromArgb(255,0,255),new Point(127,8));
    taskbarNotifier.TitleRectangle=new Rectangle(40,9,70,25);
    taskbarNotifier.ContentRectangle=new Rectangle(8,41,133,68);
    taskbarNotifier.TitleClick+=new EventHandler(TitleClick);
    taskbarNotifier.ContentClick+=new EventHandler(ContentClick);
    taskbarNotifier.CloseClick+=new EventHandler(CloseClick);

Details

C#
taskbarNotifier.SetBackgroundBitmap("skin.bmp",
                    Color.FromArgb(255,0,255));
taskbarNotifier.SetCloseBitmap("close.bmp",
    Color.FromArgb(255,0,255),new Point(127,8));

The first line sets the background bitmap skin and transparency color (must be present), and the second line sets the 3-State close button with its transparency color and its location on the window (this line is optional if you don't want a close button).

C#
taskbarNotifier.TitleRectangle=new Rectangle(40,9,70,25);
taskbarNotifier.ContentRectangle=new Rectangle(8,41,133,68);

These two lines allow us to define the rectangles in which will be displayed, the title and content texts.

C#
taskbarNotifier.TitleClick+=new EventHandler(OnTitleClick);
taskbarNotifier.ContentClick+=new EventHandler(OnContentClick);
taskbarNotifier.CloseClick+=new EventHandler(OnCloseClick);

These 3 lines allow us to intercept events on the popup such as title/content or close button have been clicked

  • Then we are done, we just need to call:
    C#
    taskbarNotifier.Show("TitleText","ContentText",500,3000,500);

    This will show the popup animation with the showing/visible/hiding animations time set as 500ms/3000ms/500ms.

You can play with a few properties:

  • Title, content fonts and colors
  • Ability to click or not on the title/content/close button
  • You can disable the focus rect
  • ... (see below for more details)

Class Documentation

Methods

C#
void Show(string strTitle, string strContent, int nTimeToShow, 
                                            int nTimeToStay, int nTimeToHide)

Displays the popup for a certain amount of time.

Parameters

  • strTitle: The string which will be shown as the title of the popup
  • strContent: The string which will be shown as the content of the popup
  • nTimeToShow: Duration of the showing animation (in milliseconds)
  • nTimeToStay: Duration of the visible state before collapsing (in milliseconds)
  • nTimeToHide: Duration of the hiding animation (in milliseconds)
C#
void Hide()

Forces the popup to hide.

C#
void SetBackgroundBitmap(string strFilename, Color transparencyColor)

Sets the background bitmap and its transparency color.

Parameters

  • strFilename: Path of the background bitmap on the disk
  • transparencyColor: Color of the bitmap which won't be visible
C#
void SetBackgroundBitmap(Image image, Color transparencyColor)

Sets the background bitmap and its transparency color.

Parameters

  • image: Background bitmap
  • transparencyColor: Color of the bitmap which won't be visible
C#
void SetCloseBitmap(string strFilename, 
            Color transparencyColor, Point position)

Sets the 3-State close button bitmap, its transparency color and its coordinates.

Parameters

  • strFilename: Path of the 3-state close button bitmap on the disk (width must be a multiple of 3)
  • transparencyColor: Color of the bitmap which won't be visible
  • position: Location of the close button on the popup
C#
void SetCloseBitmap(Image image, Color transparencyColor, Point position)

Sets the 3-State close button bitmap, its transparency color and its coordinates.

Parameters

  • image: Image/Bitmap object which represents the 3-state close button bitmap (width must be a multiple of 3)
  • transparencyColor: Color of the bitmap which won't be visible
  • position: Location of the close button on the popup

Properties

C#
string TitleText (get/set)
string ContentText (get/set)
TaskbarStates TaskbarState (get)
Color NormalTitleColor (get/set)
Color HoverTitleColor (get/set)
Color NormalContentColor (get/set)
Color HoverContentColor (get/set)
Font NormalTitleFont (get/set)
Font HoverTitleFont (get/set)
Font NormalContentFont (get/set)
Font HoverContentFont (get/set)
Rectangle TitleRectangle (get/set) //must be defined before calling show())
Rectangle ContentRectangle (get/set) //must be defined before calling show())
bool TitleClickable (get/set) (default = false);
bool ContentClickable (get/set) (default = true);
bool CloseClickable (get/set) (default = true);
bool EnableSelectionRectangle (get/set) (default = true);

Events

C#
event EventHandler CloseClick
event EventHandler TitleClick
event EventHandler ContentClick

Technical Issues

The popup is skinned using a region generated dynamically from a bitmap and a transparency color:

C#
protected Region BitmapToRegion(Bitmap bitmap, Color transparencyColor)
{
    if (bitmap == null)
        throw new ArgumentNullException("Bitmap", "Bitmap cannot be null!");

    int height = bitmap.Height;
    int width = bitmap.Width;

    GraphicsPath path = new GraphicsPath();

    for (int j=0; j<height; j++ )
        for (int i=0; i<width; i++)
        {
            if (bitmap.GetPixel(i, j) == transparencyColor)
                continue;

            int x0 = i;

            while ((i < width) && 
                    (bitmap.GetPixel(i, j) != transparencyColor))
                i++;

            path.AddRectangle(new Rectangle(x0, j, i-x0, 1));
        }

    Region region = new Region(path);
    path.Dispose();
    return region;
}

The refresh() of the popup is done using the double buffering technique to avoid flickering:

C#
protected override void OnPaintBackground(PaintEventArgs pea)
{
    Graphics grfx = pea.Graphics;
    grfx.PageUnit = GraphicsUnit.Pixel;

    Graphics offScreenGraphics;
    Bitmap offscreenBitmap;

    offscreenBitmap = new Bitmap(BackgroundBitmap.Width, 
                                BackgroundBitmap.Height);
    offScreenGraphics = Graphics.FromImage(offscreenBitmap);

    if (BackgroundBitmap != null)
    {
        offScreenGraphics.DrawImage(BackgroundBitmap, 
            0, 0, BackgroundBitmap.Width, BackgroundBitmap.Height);
    }

    DrawCloseButton(offScreenGraphics);
    DrawText(offScreenGraphics);

    grfx.DrawImage(offscreenBitmap, 0, 0);
}

Bugs/Limitations

Since I wanted to keep only managed code, I used the Screen.GetWorkingArea(WorkAreaRectangle) function instead of using unmanaged code to get the taskbar position. As a result, I made the popup always appear at the bottom of WorkAreaRectangle whichever position the taskbar has.

I didn't find any C# managed equivalent to the Win32 function ShowWindow(SW_SHOWNOACTIVATE) to make the popup, not steal the focus of the active window.

Updates

  • 01 April, 2003: Small bug fix in the OnMouseUp handler
  • 11 January, 2003: Patrick Vanden Driessche updated both the C# and VB.NET versions:
    • The popup now doesn't close automatically when the mouse is still over it
    • The popup is shown again when it was disappearing and the mouse comes over it
    • A few other bugs have been corrected
  • 10 January, 2003: A port of TaskbarNotifier has been done by Patrick Vanden Driessche in VB.NET
  • 05 December, 2002: The popup is now shown using the Win32 function ShowWindow(SW_SHOWNOACTIVATE), to prevent the popup from stealing the focus.

Conclusion

I hope this code will be useful to you. If you have suggestions to enhance this class functionalities, please post a comment.

License

This article has no explicit license attached to it, but may contain usage terms in the article text or the download files themselves. If in doubt, please contact the author via the discussion board below.

A list of licenses authors might use can be found here.

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About the Author

John O'Byrne
Web Developer
United States United States
I live in Santa Clara CA and work as a software engineer for SAP Business Objects.

My areas of expertise are user interface developments in Eclipse RCP / SWT / Draw 2D and C#

Comments and Discussions

 
QuestionRe: Error Pin
trenskow22-Dec-08 1:07
Membertrenskow22-Dec-08 1:07 
GeneralContent message width Pin
sickboy1216-Nov-08 0:15
Membersickboy1216-Nov-08 0:15 
GeneralRe: Content message width Pin
sanme9810-Dec-08 0:17
Membersanme9810-Dec-08 0:17 
Generalmy thoughts Pin
p2_regular@yahoo.com29-Oct-08 3:33
Memberp2_regular@yahoo.com29-Oct-08 3:33 
GeneralThanks You!! Pin
Rahul.C#Net26-Oct-08 20:33
MemberRahul.C#Net26-Oct-08 20:33 
GeneralProblem in Threading Pin
easycodes10-Oct-08 5:06
Membereasycodes10-Oct-08 5:06 
GeneralRe: Problem in Threading Pin
Member 43575401-Dec-08 22:02
MemberMember 43575401-Dec-08 22:02 
GeneralRe: Problem in Threading Pin
Tarzaan17-Jul-09 2:04
MemberTarzaan17-Jul-09 2:04 
what did you do to fix it??? I have the same problem and i am stuck.
GeneralRe: Problem in Threading Pin
crazypushp9-Feb-11 9:32
Membercrazypushp9-Feb-11 9:32 
GeneralThank you Pin
Member 92989931-Jul-08 2:00
MemberMember 92989931-Jul-08 2:00 
QuestionDoes anybody know how to list lots of pop up windows in the right corner of your computer ----visual C#?? Pin
luliano8824-Jul-08 1:14
Memberluliano8824-Jul-08 1:14 
AnswerRe: Does anybody know how to list lots of pop up windows in the right corner of your computer ----visual C#?? Pin
luliano8829-Jul-08 1:58
Memberluliano8829-Jul-08 1:58 
GeneralRe: Does anybody know how to list lots of pop up windows in the right corner of your computer ----visual C#?? Pin
bubblyShabana9-Jan-09 19:34
MemberbubblyShabana9-Jan-09 19:34 
QuestionResource File Missing??? Pin
elchalateco9-Jul-08 10:32
Memberelchalateco9-Jul-08 10:32 
AnswerRe: Resource File Missing??? Pin
RRJL24-Jul-08 6:51
MemberRRJL24-Jul-08 6:51 
QuestionUse in commercial code Pin
Jarvis, Richard6-Jul-08 15:46
MemberJarvis, Richard6-Jul-08 15:46 
AnswerRe: Use in commercial code Pin
John O'Byrne6-Jul-08 19:44
MemberJohn O'Byrne6-Jul-08 19:44 
GeneralAlso there is a memory leak in OnPaintBackground Pin
Steve Marshall10-Jun-08 5:57
MemberSteve Marshall10-Jun-08 5:57 
GeneralRe: Also there is a memory leak in OnPaintBackground Pin
Jonathan C Dickinson12-Jun-08 20:28
MemberJonathan C Dickinson12-Jun-08 20:28 
GeneralRe: Also there is a memory leak in OnPaintBackground [modified] Pin
Steve Marshall12-Jun-08 21:40
MemberSteve Marshall12-Jun-08 21:40 
GeneralRe: Also there is a memory leak in OnPaintBackground Pin
sanme9810-Dec-08 0:14
Membersanme9810-Dec-08 0:14 
GeneralA note on firing this from a timer Pin
Steve Marshall10-Jun-08 5:31
MemberSteve Marshall10-Jun-08 5:31 
GeneralThank you Very much Pin
SanShark7-Jun-08 1:44
MemberSanShark7-Jun-08 1:44 
GeneralxPLBalloon Pin
unick20-Apr-08 4:15
Memberunick20-Apr-08 4:15 
Generalayuda Pin
Member 267970918-Apr-08 10:37
MemberMember 267970918-Apr-08 10:37 

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