Review: Arcadia PowerButton

Arcadia PowerButton 3.2.1/.NET 1.6
Arcadia Software Development
Amman, Jordan
+962 (6) 585-6891

It's a rare Windows application that doesn't have a few command buttons sprinkled around the user interface. And without even looking, you can guess what those buttons look like: gray background, raised edges, plain lettering, and they "click" when you press the mouse on them. While standardization of user interfaces is a good thing in general, there are times when you want to have a little more flash in your application.

Enter Arcadia PowerButton. Containing both ActiveX and .NET versions for a single price (and with just about the same interface), PowerButton beefs up the standard Windows button by adding a whole batch of properties while still providing the familiar event interface (making it a drop-in replacement for your application's standard buttons). Here's a partial list of what this gets you:

  • A variety of styles including flat, beveled, Office, and Windows XP lookalikes.
  • Gradient color effects
  • Mouseover effects such as slightly moving or lightening an image (which can be displayed alongside text)
  • Advanced caption and image positioning as well as word-wrap
  • Sound effects
  • Drop menus
  • Translucent buttons or backgrounds

All of this is quite easy to set up. Most developers should be able to just drop the control on and run with it, but a couple of included sample applications demonstrate the range of possibilities and let you experiment interactively. The controls are standalone (that is, you don't need to drag around MFC or other supporting DLLs) and are available in ANSI and Unicode versions. All in all, this simple control does exactly what it says it will do, at a reasonable price.

I should mention that you can get an even more reasonable price via Xtras.Net, which are also the folks who tipped me to the existence of this control in the first place. Check out their Xtras.Net Developer Network program for a continuing stream of free and discounted .NET components.

About the Author

Mike Gunderloy has been developing software for a quarter-century now, and writing about it for nearly as long. He walked away from a .NET development career in 2006 and has been a happy Rails user ever since. Mike blogs at A Fresh Cup.

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