Now I’ve finally had a look at the image library that comes with VS.NET 2005 beta 2. In a previous post I had commented on the video that Aaron had made about the library, and there seemed to be a number of varying views on the topic as well as on the final contents of the library.
So what’s in it? Well, it’s part light, part dark… The icons, at least those in Windows XP format (74 are included of those), have several different formats, ranging from 16×16 to 48×48 and from 256 colours to True Colour. The icons seem to have a good quality, although the range of images provided leaves a lot to be desired. There are also a few other icons (not in the Windows XP format) of lower quality. Together with the animations, which aren’t new for the largest part but come in AVI as well as GIF versions, the icons form the “light” part of the image library.
On the other hand, the images are just as useless as I feared they would be. Most of them by far are of a kind that I can’t imagine any use for in any consumer application, they seem to be directly ripped from the VS toolbox or some similar technical source. The other huge issue is that they come only in a 16×16 resolution. Different colour depths are partly provided, as well as variants with a magenta mask and without a mask.
So my conclusion is still: ridiculous. Anyone who’s tried to improve a medium-size end user application with proper graphics knows that you need a very versatile collection of images to do that. Already today, 16×16 is an image size that’s only just usable in a toolbar or a menu, with screen sizes increasing, this will be even much worse in a year’s time. I could suggest Microsoft thinks we all write apps that need a huge number of icons with colourful bricks in a suitecase, but I rather continue suggesting that Microsoft thinks it’s not their job to provide for nice graphics to use with their development tools.