The Acropolis incubation project has been a great learning experience for us and we have received a lot of great feedback that will keep us very busy for quite a while.
For example, many developers have told us that they are very excited about the ability to compose WPF applications from re-usable parts and services, and the ability to focus on application business logic rather than application plumbing. We also heard many times that the ability to plug and play different patterns for layout, navigation and transitions was a good way to realize some of the power of WPF without having to be a WPF expert. But we heard from many of you that we need to provide many more out of the box components in order to support the full range of applications that you want to build. This is an area we will be looking very closely at in the future.
We also received a lot of feedback on the need to get the right set of extensibility points in the component model. Many of you are familiar with the Composite UI Application Block (CAB) and wanted to see similar facilities for auto-wiring up components within an application to reduce the amount of code you need to write even further. We have a lot of ideas in this space, and we look forward to getting your feedback on these as we develop them and take them forward, but we have some work to do in this area.
We also heard many times that the tooling experience has to be much simpler and more comprehensive in order to make Acropolis accessible to more developers. This is definitely a key area in which we'd like to invest much more.
We are very excited to be entering the next phase of the project where we will begin to roll many of the Acropolis concepts into future versions of the .NET Framework for the desktop and Silverlight. Unfortunately, while we figure out exactly how to go about this, we have decided not to release any more Acropolis CTP's. We're going to keep the current CTP bits available to allow you to continue prototyping and evaluating the Acropolis concepts. So while there will be no new functionality added to the Acropolis CTP, we do hope that you will continue to provide feedback to us on what you like or don't like.
We do have some good news though! We were pleasantly surprised to get feedback from many of you that you would like to go live with Acropolis based solutions in the short term. To us that validated a lot of the thinking we have been doing and it is a positive indicator of the Acropolis approach. Because of this type of feedback, we want to help you continue to take advantage of the Acropolis concepts and the power of the .NET platform while we figure out the longer term plan.
We are very excited to announce that we are going to be working closely with the Microsoft Patterns & Practices team to provide guidance (samples, applications blocks, patterns and so on) for building composite client applications for .NET Framework 3.5 and Visual Studio 2008. As part of that effort we want to engage with those that have been following the Acropolis project to ensure that this guidance meets your needs. Glenn Block, the Patterns & Practices client product manager, has much more information about the Composite Applications for Visual Studio 2008 and .NET 3.5 project here http://blogs.msdn.com/gblock/archive/2007/10/26/wpf-composite-client-guidance-it-s-coming.aspx
If you have evaluated Acropolis and are unsure whether to adopt it for your project, or to use the existing CAB, or to wait for the new guidance, our guidance for this situation remains the same - if you are building a Windows Forms LOB composite client (with maybe rich islands of WPF content) you should carefully evaluate the current CAB release. If you are specifically interesting in building composite applications on .NET 3.5, please get involved with the Patterns & Practices project and help us to deliver a guidance package that meets your requirements.
Thanks again for your feedback and expect to hear more in the next couple of months about our future plans.
The Acropolis Team