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Creating a Glass Button using GDI+

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26 Mar 2013CPL2 min read 944.5K   21.1K   611   233
How to create an animating glass button using only GDI+ (and not using WPF)

Screenshots

Sample application using a standard glass button with image.

Sample application using a standard glass button with image.

The same application, but this time it has a customized glass button.

Sample application using a customized glass button.

MFC application which hosts four glass buttons.

MFC application which hosts four glass buttons.

Introduction

I bet you have already seen animated task buttons in Windows Vista. I have. I was wondering how to create a similar control. Fortunately, I found a web page which describes how to do that using the Microsoft Expression Blend (Creating a Glass Button: The Complete Tutorial). The glass button (and thus the whole application) created with the Microsoft Expression Blend requires .NET Framework 3.0 to run. Because some people cannot or do not want to use .NET Framework 3.0 yet, I have decided to rewrite that cool control using only GDI+ so it would work with .NET Framework 2.0.

"Converting" XAML to C# (GDI+)

The tutorial from the page mentioned above was easy to complete, and the generated XAML code was so understandable that there were no big issues with a "conversion."

For example, I have translated the following code:

XML
<Border HorizontalAlignment="Stretch" 
        Margin="0,0,0,0" x:Name="shine" 
        Width="Auto" CornerRadius="4,4,0,0">

  <Border.Background>
    <LinearGradientBrush EndPoint="0.494,0.889" 
                         StartPoint="0.494,0.028">
      <GradientStop Color="#99FFFFFF" Offset="0" />

      <GradientStop Color="#33FFFFFF" Offset="1" />
    </LinearGradientBrush>
  </Border.Background>

</Border>

into:

C#
using (GraphicsPath bh = CreateTopRoundRectangle(rect2, 4))
{
  int opacity = 0x99;
  if (isPressed) opacity = (int)(.4f * opacity + .5f);
  using (Brush br = new LinearGradientBrush(rect2, 
                          Color.FromArgb(opacity, shineColor),
                          Color.FromArgb(opacity / 3, shineColor),
                          LinearGradientMode.Vertical))
  {
    g.FillPath(br, bh);
  }
}

(This is only a fragment of the DrawButtonBackground method.)

Even the animation of a hovered button was easily obtained by using the Timer class. Unfortunately, an animation is not quite smooth when a glass button is quite big.

How to Use the GlassButton Class?

The GlassButton class derives from the Button class so it can be used in the same way. Displaying an image on a glass button is also supported now. Even the guidelines work fine in the Visual Studio's form designer.

History

  • 1.3.2 (02.11.2008) — Important! This is the last “standalone” version of the control. The next version will be included in a new project hosted at CodePlex.
    • Fixed a bug that caused the button's image to be disposed in certain situations
  • 1.3.1 (27.10.2008)
    • The source code is now available both in C# and VB.NET
    • Minor bugs fixed
  • 1.3 (19.11.2007)
    • The image is grayed when the button is disabled
    • Added property 'FadeOnFocus'
    • Improved performance
    • Minor bugs fixed
  • 1.2 (31.03.2007)
    • The 'disabled' look differs from the 'enabled' one
    • Added some 'PropertyChange' events
    • Improved performance
    • Split source code from compiled library and demo application
    • Added MFC demo application
    • Added toolbox bitmap
    • Minor bugs fixed
  • 1.1.1 (22.02.2007)
    • Minor bugs fixed
  • 1.1 (21.02.2007)
    • Added images support
  • 1.0 (19.02.2007)
    • First version

License

This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Common Public License Version 1.0 (CPL)


Written By
Software Developer
Poland Poland
I am a graduate of Wroclaw University of Science and Technology, Poland.

My interests: gardening, reading, programming, drawing, Japan, Spain.

Comments and Discussions

 
GeneralRe: Im a bit dubious about this Pin
vanad.min21-Mar-07 13:20
vanad.min21-Mar-07 13:20 
GeneralRe: Im a bit dubious about this Pin
Sacha Barber22-Mar-07 0:53
Sacha Barber22-Mar-07 0:53 
GeneralRe: Im a bit dubious about this Pin
Marcos Meli23-Mar-07 12:57
Marcos Meli23-Mar-07 12:57 
GeneralRe: Im a bit dubious about this Pin
BlaiseBraye28-Mar-07 20:00
BlaiseBraye28-Mar-07 20:00 
GeneralRe: Im a bit dubious about this Pin
Sacha Barber28-Mar-07 23:51
Sacha Barber28-Mar-07 23:51 
GeneralRe: Im a bit dubious about this Pin
BlaiseBraye28-Mar-07 23:55
BlaiseBraye28-Mar-07 23:55 
GeneralRe: Im a bit dubious about this Pin
Sacha Barber29-Mar-07 0:06
Sacha Barber29-Mar-07 0:06 
GeneralRe: Im a bit dubious about this Pin
Marcos Meli29-Mar-07 2:24
Marcos Meli29-Mar-07 2:24 
A lot of people port things from others

For example Microsoft port Java to their own framework Poke tongue | ;-P Laugh | :laugh:




GeneralRe: Im a bit dubious about this Pin
Sacha Barber29-Mar-07 3:54
Sacha Barber29-Mar-07 3:54 
GeneralRe: Im a bit dubious about this Pin
Lukasz Sw.31-Mar-07 13:23
Lukasz Sw.31-Mar-07 13:23 
GeneralRe: Im a bit dubious about this Pin
Lukasz Sw.31-Mar-07 13:19
Lukasz Sw.31-Mar-07 13:19 
GeneralRe: Im a bit dubious about this Pin
Sacha Barber4-Apr-07 0:26
Sacha Barber4-Apr-07 0:26 
GeneralAwesome Control Pin
Christopher Stratmann13-Mar-07 4:30
Christopher Stratmann13-Mar-07 4:30 
GeneralRe: Awesome Control Pin
Lukasz Sw.13-Mar-07 9:03
Lukasz Sw.13-Mar-07 9:03 
GeneralRe: Awesome Control Pin
Fink Christoph14-Mar-07 7:03
Fink Christoph14-Mar-07 7:03 
GeneralGlassButton-Improvements Pin
Fink Christoph9-Mar-07 23:51
Fink Christoph9-Mar-07 23:51 
AnswerRe: GlassButton-Improvements Pin
Ageman6911-Mar-07 11:58
Ageman6911-Mar-07 11:58 
GeneralRe: GlassButton-Improvements Pin
rashadaliarshad12-Mar-07 1:07
rashadaliarshad12-Mar-07 1:07 
QuestionEnabled? Pin
Nchantim2-Mar-07 8:22
Nchantim2-Mar-07 8:22 
AnswerRe: Enabled? Pin
Lukasz Sw.2-Mar-07 11:11
Lukasz Sw.2-Mar-07 11:11 
QuestionCan I use this? Pin
DanCastellon1-Mar-07 16:05
DanCastellon1-Mar-07 16:05 
AnswerRe: Can I use this? Pin
Lukasz Sw.2-Mar-07 5:42
Lukasz Sw.2-Mar-07 5:42 
GeneralCool stuff Pin
woposmail28-Feb-07 10:10
woposmail28-Feb-07 10:10 
GeneralRe: Cool stuff Pin
Lukasz Sw.28-Feb-07 10:18
Lukasz Sw.28-Feb-07 10:18 
GeneralPerformance Pin
H_R_O28-Feb-07 1:52
H_R_O28-Feb-07 1:52 

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