The timelag on posts is due to several 4 hour nights in succession while partaking in the festivities at TechEd. Here is a quick recap of Monday.

First session was WPF presented by Rob Reylea. WPF seems to be coming together more and more; Rob demonstrated new controls and old controls with new features: the listbox is quite a standout – textboxes that support spellchecking, controls having the ability to embed any other controls (button in a button). Another new feature is in the ability to do screen layout: flow layout, grid layout, and others besides the traditional absolute layout most WinForms developers are used to. Databinding in WPF is also quite improved, and learned from the web world: there is a repeater type approach to it now possible as well as functionality in the new listbox control. Vectors, fonts – there was a lot to the presentation. Rob has a blog, so it’s something to watch as the WPF things consolidate more.

After the session was finished I asked Rob whether they were watching other projects like Mozilla’s XUL/XPFE stuff since, in my own thinking, they were similar in approach. He was a bit dismissive here in the sense that he didn’t see why WPF and XPFE should be compared. Since we didn’t have the same assumptions, I withdrew the question although here is my own thinking:

  1. XAML is like XUL, both are a special markup for describing presentation.
  2. XPCOM provides hooks into the operating system functionality, making the client thick just the way that Windows Vista is going to have a special understanding and capability with XAML and the code associated with WPF applications.

There are some big differences for sure: XPFE uses javascript and CSS, WPF does not. XPFE relies on RDF, and I’m not sure that they’ll be any configuration involved in WPF applications since the runtime should handle much of that for the developer. I am not sure about this. Another set of differences are the vectors and rendering of WPF - XPFE does not, to my knowledge, have an equivalent. However, the basis for my assumption was that they both attempt at solving similar problems - extend the web aware application to the desktop to give it a more "client app" functionality and feel. Leverage better controls and have more flexibility than HTML/DHTML and so on. And yes, this is from the perspective of WPF/e - the use in web based applications.

There is much to learn, and much to be seen of WPF, I’ll stay tuned to Rob’s and other blogs that follow the development.