WinFX: Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) and XAML - You Can Start Today
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Published: 08 Nov 2005
Unedited - Community Contributed
In this article, Glen gives a brief introduction to Microsoft's new Windows markup language, XAML, and also gives a simple example on how to use this new technology.
by Glen Sollors
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If you have ever seen a Microsoft Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF, formerly ‘Avalon’) application run, you will be sold on how it will revolutionize the computer user experience. The first word of out of my mouth when I saw a demo was “Cool.” Since .COM went .BUST, almost everyone in the information technology (IT) space has been waiting for the Messiah of IT to present itself. In WPF, it has arrived and will change the way we do business.

Today, both developers and designers are starting to grasp what WPF is all about. WPF is the next generation of Microsoft’s presentation subsystem, which is a key part of Microsoft Windows Vista. Also bundled in WinFX is Windows Communication Foundation (WCF, Formerly ‘Indigo’). WCF provides the infrastructure to develop web services and the communication to present in WinFX. Both of these technologies will dramatically improve customer user interface (UI), application convergence, collaborative communication, and security, as well as maximize our computer hardware capabilities. WinFX will change the way we develop and design applications. User interfaces will be revolutionized by allowing for features such as:

  • Fixed and flow format documents
  • 2D and 3D vector graphics
  • Animation
  • Multimedia
  • Data binding

WPF UI creation is done in conjunction with a new declarative markup language called extensible application markup language (XAML). Derived from the extensible markup language (XML), XAML instantiates objects through WPF. XAML, combined with WPF, allows you to create and control the appearance of document layouts and controls and how objects are bound to databases regardless of where the application will be used. This means that you ultimately only need one markup (XAML) to create a rich UI. As WPF is a .Net technology, you will be able to plug-in and run with this new interface and existing applications by adding only a few lines of code. This also means that the logic is separated from the presentation. A developer can code and the designer can create simultaneously. WPF is so vast that it encompasses and links objects together so that the application will, depending on its root element, run either on your desktop or on the Internet.

The great news is that this technology can be used today! If you are planning to launch any applications next year, now is the time to learn this technology. XAML and WPF currently run on Microsoft XP, Windows Server 2003, and Vista. All you need is the latest software development kit (SDK) for WinFX. The technology is well on its way to being fully baked. Beta 1 Release Candidate was already released in May 2005. Future-focused developers/designers are grasping and implementing the technology today.

If you already know and use the .Net Framework, adopting this technology is a natural progression. Although this technology is currently in Beta (and free to download), Microsoft has opened it up to the development community in order to allow you to have access to it as well as welcoming your feedback on how to make it better.

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User Comments

Title: Good for first face   
Name: Amit Sinha
Date: 2009-03-25 3:10:24 AM
Hello Glen,


This article help me undertsand that what is WPF.
This gave me direction to move ahead.

Title: Good One   
Name: Chetan Deshmukh
Date: 2008-03-14 1:07:31 PM
Hello Glen,

I am a .NET 3.5 developer and currently working in WPF. This article is very good for beginner to understand basics of WPF.

Chetan Deshmukh
Title: verry user friendly   
Name: samar
Date: 2007-04-04 12:12:59 AM
It looking very usefull and good user friendly.If MS find and replace the coding for mostof the user needs then it will be the only top most applycation in the world.
Title: Looks promising   
Name: kf
Date: 2007-03-16 1:40:25 PM
Very interesting. MS definitely seems to be going in the right direction with their new foundations and SOA approach. The one comment that just kills me here is

"Since there are other smart Open Source mainframes out there I would not recommend code that is only running on one operating system."

I know this is highly debatable but I'm looking for a platform that allows me to do anything a custom needs and products work well together. This open source crap sounds great for developers but is a nightmare in a corporate environment.

Keep going MS, set a vision and align your products that allow us to easily delight our customers. Those that want the open source so you can hodge podge solutions for your customers, use the open source equivalent for WPF. The more developers that provide those types of solutions to their customers the better we look when we go in behind you after the customer has had enough.

For those who are on the fence, a suggestion is to think platforms that work in your customers environment, not solutions that silo information and leave interoperability as a pipe dream.

Good article!
Title: Linux   
Name: Jeroen Haan
Date: 2006-12-02 9:23:40 AM
If this is presented as the standard by some near monopolist, what about users of other operating systems?

Since there are other smart Open Source mainframes out there I would not recommend code that is only running on one operating system.

Jeroen Haan
Senior Consultant
Title: We need More Details about XAML   
Name: V.Sekar
Date: 2006-08-10 6:07:12 AM
it is useful for beginners
Title: how to return a boolean in dependency property   
Name: praveenalwar
Date: 2006-08-10 1:38:42 AM
hai,iam registering a "isvertical" property for axis,and i need to find whether the axis is vertical or not.
for that i registered a dp with the name "IsVertical" and of return type"Boolean" ,parent from"Axis".
but iam not able to understand what to return? i mean what code can i write to make sure that the line is vertical and return true for that.please help me sir?
Title: Managing Partner   
Name: Gregory Olinyk
Date: 2006-06-01 11:39:50 PM
Herb is always teaching me new things. This looks promising.
Title: Nice   
Name: chandra sekhar.G
Date: 2005-12-09 6:59:06 AM
nice one
Title: Goodone   
Name: Vishwanath Kuntala
Date: 2005-12-09 1:09:00 AM
Good one for Beginners who wants to know about what is Windows Presentaion Foundation.

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