Product Review: Syncfusion Metro Studio -- Free Windows 8 Metro Tool

Syncfusion Metro Studio


PROS: Free; lets you quickly and easily modernize apps by adding Windows 8-style icons to them
CONS: Doesn't support favicons
RATING: 5 out of 5 stars
PRICE: Free
RECOMMENDATION: If you need an easy way to give your apps a modern Windows 8-style look and feel, you'll find it in this collection of icons.
CONTACT: Syncfusion • 919-380-7758

No developer can resist the allure of a free software development tool -- especially if it's for a hot new technology like Windows 8-style applications (formerly called Metro). Capitalizing on developers' penchant for the free and the new, .NET controls vendor Syncfusion recently released a series of icons based on the Windows 8 Metro framework. The icon set, called Metro Studio, comprises more than 1,500 Metro-style icon templates, which can be easily customized according to your requirements. I'll take you on a quick tour of Metro Studio (the upcoming new release of the product, Metro Studio 2, was in beta when this article was written).

To download the latest version of Metro Studio, simply register via Syncfusion's Metro Studio web page. You'll see a snapshot of all the previous releases along with the relevant license key. Although the product is free, you'll need to provide the key during the installation process.

Customizing Icons

As soon as you complete the installation process, you'll be able to navigate the icons from the Syncfusion Metro Studio dashboard, shown in Figure 1. You can organize icons into projects, which makes it easier to group icons for customization and use them in particular applications.

143569_fig1_syncfusion_metro_studio2_dashboard-sm_1
Figure 1: Syncfusion Metro Studio 2 Dashboard

You can easily customize the icon images using various parameters such as icon size, padding, background shape, background color, and icon color. To do so, you simply click the symbol displayed below the icon to access the easy-to-use editing tool, shown in Figure 2.

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Figure 2: Editing an Icon in Metro Studio 2

The editing tool provides several handy features, such as the ability to generate XAML code for an icon. To do this, you click the XAML button (see Figure 2). This lets you directly use the icons in your .NET coding projects -- Silverlight, ASP.NET, Windows Phone, and others.

Metro Studio 2 ships with the ability to use customized text (e.g., Microsoft's Webdings) as icons. You can also easily copy and integrate the icons with Microsoft Office.

An Impressive Freebie

As impressive as Metro Studio is, I'd like to see the vendor add a small improvement: an option to convert the icons to favicons (i.e., shortcut icons). Other than that, I think you'll find, as I did, that downloading Syncfusion Metro Studio is a no-brainer for any developer who wants to use Metro-style icons in Windows application development projects.

Anand Narayanaswamy is an ASPInsider. He works as a freelance writer based in Trivandrum, India He's the author of Community Server Quickly (Packt).

Learn more about Windows 8 user experience development (aka Metro):

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