Windows 8 style UI for ExpanDrive v3

Today is a big day in the development of ExpanDrive. Our Mac and Windows clients now share the same user interface. For those who have been following along we’ve started to detail our open secret of building our next-generation user interface on top of WebKit. And today with the release of build 3008 of ExpanDrive 3 we finally hit that goal.

Screen Shot 2013-03-19 at 12.27.26 PM
ExpanDrive 3 for Windows

Screen Shot 2013-03-07 at 4.53.32 PM
ExpanDrive 3 for Mac

Both UIs look quite the same but are styled to their appropriate operating system. With our Windows client we take quite a bit of inspiration from the new Github for Windows client and the Windows 8 metro style. Our relatively simple UI doesn’t need an array of drop down menus, so we’ve ditched them and the normal chrome in favor of a borderless window and put all of the functionality right in front of you. I think it looks pretty hot. Grouping and filtering are the next features coming for the UI. Following that you’ll soon see context menus for twiddling file permissions on individual files.

Under the hood build 3008 is a complete rewrite of our Windows code. We’ve moved off QT and QTWebkit in favor of C# and the Chromium embedded framework. ExpanDrive 3 uses .Net 3.5 or newer, which comes pre-installed on Windows 7 and is widely installed on Windows XP. We have also switched over to an MSI based installer and will soon also have a portable version [a simple .zip file] available.

  • Aaron Myles Landwehr

    Borderless UI doesn’t play well with Windows 8 or probably for anyone in Windows 7 who turned off drop shadows. If I have a webpage open and expandrive is in front of the webpage, I just get white on white and it is hard to even see where the application begins or ends. Both github and expandrive3 have this issue.

  • hemancuso

    Will look at that — On windows XP where there are no drop shadows we draw an outline [as does github?] around the app. Does that not show?
    We check to see if window compositing is enabled, but perhaps we’re doing it wrong.

  • Aaron Myles Landwehr

    So I checked it a bit. It appears that if is partially fault of this tweak (and partially expandrive):

    Essentially, with that tweak, “show shadows under windows” option does not actually display shadows.

    The behavior of github is as follows:
    in-focus + shadows enabled = no outline.
    in-focus + shadows disabled = outline.
    out-of-focus = outline.

    The behavior of expandrive is as follows:
    in-focus = no outline.
    out-of-focus = no outline.

    In githubs case, I have the issue if I use the tweaked theme and leave shadows enabled, as it will attempt to display shadows with no outline.
    In your case, I have the issue if I use the regular theme and disable shadows OR use the tweaked theme where the shadows don’t ever work.

  • avive

    This build for Windows broke symbolic link to directories: trying to open a a symlink to a dir gives an error.
    It does work on build 3003 (Feels like a regular directory).

  • Jeff Mancuso

    Checking on that – can you ping