Missing Vista Feature #1 - Notifications

by Matt 22. September 2006 18:22

The Windows Vista Team blog recently posted about Preventing Interrupted Presentations with Windows Vista, and it reminded me of something.

Back in the day, Longhorn (as it was known then) was going to have a unified Notification API. It extended XP's balloon notifications with a much more versatile interface, something more like the incredibly flexible TaskDialog API. It would allow you to build a notification window that did pretty much what everyone's custom "toast" solutions do now - provide info, respond to button clicks, timers, you name it.

I've snaffled a few pictures that I could dredge up from the interweb. I did have one that came from the long-gone UI guidelines, but that appears to have vanished somewhere.

Update: Found it!

Here are a couple from a codeproject article, showing the notification itself and the list of all notifications from a very early build:

Then a view of the notification from the 4074 build from the forums on shellrevealed:

And finally, a dodgy yet rather pretty version with glass enabled, which appears to be from aeroxp.org, but I can't find it on the page (here's the pic). It appears to have been taken at PDC 2003:

Unlike the roll-your-own solution, XP's balloon notifications will ensure you only see one at a time and will delay the notification until you're around to see it. Longhorn was going to take that further and queue up notifications in the sidebar when you were busy.

Paul Thurrott wrote about it in a review of Longhorn 4051. You'll need to scroll down to the bit about "Sidebar parts, alerts and notifications".

Longhorn had it. Vista doesn't.

Instead, according to the Vista blog, the best we get is this:

Windows Vista’s presentations settings block 2 types of notifications:  system notifications and Windows Live Messenger notifications.

And Outlook and Office Communicator don't work with this. James Senior has a couple of interesting posts, one looking at presentation mode from the end user experience and the other one on how developers can join in the fun

Not quite as grand as the original Longhorn plan, eh?

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