Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
chapter 41
Writing Context Menu
Shell Extensions
Mankind always sets itself only such tasks as it can solve; since, looking at
the matter more closely, we will always find that the task itself arises only
when the material conditions necessary for its solution already exist or are
at least in the process of formation.
Karl Marx
Most developers have myriad tools they have developed over the course of their
projects. Command line tools are a common choice because they are effortless to
develop, and they are easy to integrate with a scripting process. These tools are
moderately easy to operate through the command line, but require a fair amount
of typing to specify settings and files to process. These useful tools can be consumed
by a Windows Forms application, but an even better approach is to integrate with
the Windows shell (Explorer) so that a simple right-click on a particular file could
present options specific to the tools.
A shell extension is a COM object that adds additional functionality to the Windows
shell. There are many different types of extensions that can be developed, such as
a context menu that is presented to the user when she right-clicks on a file with a
certain extension. Shell extensions are in-process servers that facilitate the com-
munication with the shell by implementing common interfaces that the shell
understands.
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