Is anyone aware of a nice, easy-to-use tool for creating a ribbon menu system in a C# application, that costs "considerably less" than $1000 or more?! I'm kind of wondering why Microsoft didn't include this in VS2010.
I found a little thing called VRC (Visual Ribbon Creator), but it's pretty hard (for me) to use, it seems to be mainly geared toward C++, and it has one of the most woefully inadequate help systems (if it can even be called that) that I have ever seen!
I'm looking for something (if such exists) that I can just drag from the toolbox, drop onto a form, and get to configuring.

Thanks! That's pretty slick! But, I can't figure out how to add buttons. I've added the ribbon itself, some tabs, a few panels, and that's all it lets me do. Anything else I try to drop does nothing at all. I can add programmable items to the orb, but that's it. I'll try again tomorrow and see if there are any clues on the site.
Thanks again, though.

OK, I have given up on free ribbon creation tools! I found a few, but they were all frustratingly hard to use, perhaps because they are geared toward someone with more experience and knowledge than I have. What I have found is a commercial product that will more than meet my needs, and the price, though rather high at $219, is quite reasonable compared to most others I have found, and it's very easy to learn. It's called XtraBars from DevExpress. I'll probably buy it if the price drops (yeah, I know, fat chance).

I've also been doing a little experimenting with WPF; I figure since I'm learning anyway I might as well pick this up. Anyone have any thoughts or opinions about WPF in general?

WPF uses a different drawing system, so it works better for flashy/fancy interfaces, But winforms isn't going away. Ribbon interfaces isn't really anything complicated. Its just a custom drawn tab bar with custom drawn buttons. If you just user draw the standard controls using images. Throw a tab control with a few buttons and pages and you're practically half way done. As a programmer you get all caught up in how you do things, but when a normal PC user runs your program they don't care if you used GDI or WPF or just lined up some images. All that matters is that it looks ok, it works, and its familiar.

Personally I do not like ribbon interfaces, on today's wide-screen monitors and the standard portrait style document the last thing I want is something to make the viewable document have less real estate.

In the beginning users knew, menus were on top. soon people wanted access to their favorite menu items, so then came tool bars, then someone said, tool bars would be awesome with tabs, so then came the ribbon with huge buttons and tabs. Every program doesn't need to look like MS Office.

A good place to start is with the code that's already out there for drawing on the form's non client area, then just going from there. And if you want some good pop up control code I have a good article about it on codeproject just search articles from user DiamondDrake.

Anyway, sorry for the rant. Best of luck.

Thanks for that. You made some really good points I hadn't thought about. I had actually at one point thought about just dropping a tab control on a form and hacking at it until it looked like something! I wasn't really thinking so much about the end user as I was about the fact that I would know it was done that way! As far as I know, the user might not have cared...much.

It's also possible that I'm kind of caught up in this ribbon thing myself, but I have no real gauge on how the average/targeted user might feel. It's possible many might not like it for the same reason you don't or for other reasons. I think it looks slick, and from a practical standpoint, I find it slightly more convenient, but I don't like the space it takes up either.

Perhaps, before I spend 200 bucks on what is essentially eye-candy, I should maybe concentrate more on becoming a better coder at this point!

Before you spend 200 bucks, just try and create your own. See what happens. GDI+ is not all that complicated, just draw and fill a few gradient rounded rectangles. Even still, first be sure your app benefits from a ribbon type interface.