Software developer Stardock Corp. has begun to unveil its Windows Vista plans for its popular desktop enhancement suite, Object Desktop. Object Desktop is a set of programs designed to allow users to customize their Windows experience. On Windows, it was the first product to provide OS skinning, widgets and gadgets, alpha blended shadows, min/max effects, ZIP files as folders, and a number of other features that users take for granted today.
Stardock believes that Windows Vista offers the most potential yet for users to be able to personalize their Windows experience. This is due to a new feature in Windows Vista known as the Desktop Window Manager (DWM) which is a compositor that turns the Windows Vista desktop into a 3D surface (much like you'd have in computer game). This allows for what Stardock claims is "cool and interesting ways to display information, programs, and data without suffering the performance hit because most of it is being done on the video card."
This week, Stardock intends to release the beta of WindowBlinds for Windows Vista for Object Desktop users and has announced support for creating gadgets for the Windows Sidebar using DesktopX. It has released a document outlining some of its "first wave" of Windows Vista applications for Object Desktop. This also includes the ability to use WPF and .NET for Sidebar gadgets via Object Desktop.
Microsoft's Jim Allchin has asked developers to make full use of Windows Vista in order to help differentiate Windows Vista from Windows XP. With its expected January release, a lot of users are looking for tangible benefits of Windows Vista over Windows XP. Microsoft has asserted that the Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) and DWM along with enhanced security, and a new communications layer help make Vista a compelling upgrade.
Screenshot: Windows Vista altered via Object Desktop's Windowblinds
View: Object Desktop for Vista preview guide
View: Object Desktop Homepage