AzoftSpotlightReinventing Wheels: Libraries

Reinventing Wheels: Libraries

By Stanislav Sidristij on February 25, 2011

This is a set of articles for developers  "reinventing wheel" in their projects. These articles are aimed to inform you about existing libraries and tell a lot of usefull things like how to strengthen the code and increase functionality. Everybody wants to provide his program with something making the functionality richer but it often happens that the solution is never found or you have no time to "waste" it for search… Or you give way to a stupid belief that you can implement everything fast and with same functionality.  Anyway I'd like you to go through the lists of libraries that I prepared and I hope they will stick in your memory, and when you need this functionality in future go for these libraries instead of writing new wheels with many hitches and snags. Let's start with Windows managers.

Microsoft Office 2007-2010 — like interface. Or Ribbon, or Fluent.

In Internet presented by many libraries. Lots of libraries are paid. Most likely they started at the same time with free versions, otherwise it is difficult to explain their abundance. Furthermore their functionality is sometimes poorer then by their free analogs. Free libraries are presented by two main projects:

Fluent Ribbon Control Suite

Company's intoduction: «Fluent Ribbon Control Suite is a library that implements an Office-like (Microsoft® Office Fluent™ user interface) for the Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF). It provides well-customized controls such as RubbonTabControl, Backstage, Gallery, QuickAccessToolbar, ScreenTip and so on. It is bundled with the most up-to-date Office 2010 styles.»

Fluent Reinventing Wheels: Libraries
   Reach functionality, efficient implementation.

License: MS-PL
Project starting date:
November 12, 2009
Last commit:
Commits frequency:
couple of time per day
Is based at:
WPF, .NET Framework 3.5, 4.0
yes, there are ready localizations for 22 languages, including Chinese, Japanese and Arabian
Skins support:
yes, you can change any element


WPF Ribbon


Official library by Microsoft. Theoretically MS Office line is based on it, but I didn't check. One of lay-out variants:



IC421681 Reinventing Wheels: Libraries

 I can't tell much – I used it but not for a long time. It was easy to start and to build on basis of the component a plugin-extended application (Hello, MEF).

Reach functionality, high level implementation.

It's main shortcoming is license - on the web page you will find the NOTE: The content posted here about the WPF Ribbon is provided as a convenience for developers using the WPF Toolkit who may also be interested in the WPF Ribbon. The WPF Ribbon preview is available for download on the Office UI Licensing site (a link to the site can be found towards the bottom of this page) and is NOT available for download from Codeplex. You can get the library on special request and through registration on the web page. According to the usage conditions you may NOT write software that will compete with MS-Office line.

Skins support: yes, you can change any element

Project: is a part of


Window docking libraries


If you decided to use docks as UI basis of your application two libraries can be helpful:


DockPanel Suite (Weifen Luo)


Reach library for WinForms, it is used in many projects:  among the others such monster as SharpDevelop (except of the version 4). Here is a screen shot of the project – how to use the library:


TeaserSharpDevelop2OnVista1 Reinventing Wheels: Libraries


  • Save and reset window location
  • License MIT
  • The goal was an absolute identity with Visual Studio interface
  • Localizable
  • the only small minus — last commit 2009-05-08, on the other hand it proves stability of the library

Project page:



Perfect docking library for Windows Presentation Foundation. It is used in SharpDevelop starting from the version 4, which guarantees that it will be supported in corpora, if not by the authors, then by developers team.

Site screen shot:

 FileDownload1 Reinventing Wheels: Libraries



  • You can change skins as you like, because it is WPF. Thus theoretically you can build an interface à la VisualStudio 2010.
  • License: New BSD License


Project page:

Read also Reinventing Wheels: Programming Languages and Reinventing Wheels: Drawing graphs in .NET



Stanislav Sidristij is Team Lead of CodePlex – Open Source project Community. You can check out his latest projects on CodePlex web site.

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