Visual Studio 2005 Image Library – Who are they trying to fool?

For a long time now, users of Visual Studio have been complaining about the lack of proper images, icons and other artwork in the package. VS always came along with some ancient artworks that have been delivered in that same unchanged form for many years now. The MSDN product feedback center has an entry for this issue and a huge amount of people have been voting for a new set of artwork to be included with VS.

Now Microsoft tells us they have finally done something about this! There are blog entries like this one about it and the most recent thing I’ve seen is that there’s actually an MSDN TV video by Aaron Brethorst about the new Visual Studio 2005 Image Library. Made on April 1st, fittingly… so maybe I’m the April’s fool here.

Watching that video, I can’t quite believe the crap Aaron’s trying to sell there. He’s apparently proud that MS have needed over 800 requests for that same feature before finally reacting on it, and he seems to think that the quality of the provided material grows with the number of times he includes phrases like “tons of really cool stuff” and “we wanted to provide stuff that would be useful to you” in his speach. Obviously he must have been aware that there wasn’t really much to say about the artwork itself, otherwise the video would have focused on the new artwork instead of a tutorial of “how to put items in a listview in C#”.

In the video (which is recorded in 256 colours or something similar, so you don’t really get to see any of the “high-color” stuff he’s referring to), you can see some 16×16 icons (no mistake, he mentions in the spoken text that “most of the stuff included is 16×16”) and images that are included in the library. Some additional animations, too, which might be a bit more useful. But as far as I saw, the stuff that’s now there isn’t a least bit better than what’s freely available in many places all over the web. Plus, it’s mostly the wrong kinds of images: Aaron says himself that many of the images are taken from the VS toolbox. Great, that’s what I’m going to use in my next application then! Get out of here!

Well, MS have made it clear over the past years that they think it’s not their job to give developers proper artwork out of the VS box. They have reinstated that position very clearly with the new image library. If someone’s looking for me, I’m over at glyFX and Glyfz, getting myself some proper icons.

4 Comments on Visual Studio 2005 Image Library – Who are they trying to fool?

  1. Or alternatively….Sorry, URL deleted because of unknown legal implications.


  2. Well, if these have really been extracted from Office 2003, it’s most certainly not legal to use them in your own applications. Sorry about this, but I have deleted the URL from your comment. Feel free to contact me with information about the legality of this offering, but until then I won’t link to it from my pages.


  3. Hmm.. i’m pretty sure he said that this should include all the standard windows, office and visual studio toolbox icons. Pretty sure that he also stated that they were available as 16×16 bitmaps and also as gifs and .ico. If the .ico files are true high-color, full size icons, it means they include 16×16, 32×32, 48×48?, 64×64 and 128×128 so they should be easily convertible from those sizes to any image format you like (there are lots of tools out there that do this).Of course i can’t be sure of all this until the Beta 2 arrives in my hands, so take it with a grain of salt 🙂


  4. You must have watched a different video than I did 🙂 I actually started taking notes after the first minutes of the video because that’s when I noticed I’d want to write about it, so I was rather sure of the facts when I wrote the post. Still, I think I’ll also just wait and see what’s in the final product. Only the video didn’t really leave a good impression with me, however good the intentions may have been.


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