I'm Bill Crow, the Program Manager for Windows Media Photo at Microsoft.  The purpose of this blog is to provide information and updates on Windows Media Photo, answer questions, provide technical assistance and stimulate open conversation.  I expect there will be a wide range of topics ranging from technical details for developers to far more general discussions about photos, color, workflows and best practices for photographers and photo enthusiasts.

Windows Media Photo is a new still image file format, introduced with Windows Vista and available for cross-platform adoption.  Windows Media Photo supports a wide range of pixel formats, including high dynamic range, wide gamut formats in fixed or floating point, up to 32 bits per pixel.  It provides native support for RGB, grey, CMYK and n-Channel, including planar or interleaved alpha channels.  The advanced compression technology offers the option for either lossless or very high quality lossy compression.  Windows Media Photo supports all current metadata standards and formats, and provides excellent performance, enabling efficient use in embedded applications. 

Windows Media Photo is also a component of XML Paper Specification (XPS), the new printer spool file and portable document format that is being introduced with the launch of Windows Vista. 

Because this is a brand new file format, most of our initial discussion here will be for software developers, device manufacturers, and true photo geeks.  While Windows Media Photo is alive and well inside Windows Vista Beta 2, as an end user, there's not much you can do (yet) with this new image format.

Your questions, comments and feedback are always welcome, either publicly via comments here on the blog or privately via the email link.

Here are some resources to start you on your way with Windows Media Photo:

The Windows Media Photo Feature Specification, as well as information on requesting an evaluation copy of the Device Porting Kit is available here: http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/xps/wmphoto.mspx

Windows Media Photo is a Windows Imaging Components (WIC) codec in Windows Vista and WinFX.  Documentation on the unmanaged WIC interfaces can be found here: http://windowssdk.msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms735422.aspx

For more information about WIC and Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), I highly recommend Robert A. Wlodarczyk's Blog: http://blogs.msdn.com/rwlodarc

More information on XPS can be found here: http://www.microsoft.com/xps, as well as the XPS team blog: http://blogs.msdn.com/xps.  And don't forget to check out the always-interesting insights at Andy Simmond's Blog:  http://blogs.msdn.com/andy_simonds

The team responsible for the Windows Vista photo experience offers an excellent amount of information here: http://www.microsoft.com/windowsvista/community/digitalimaging.mspx and through their blog here: http://blogs.msdn.com/pix

Microsoft also provides a wealth of information for pro photographers here:  http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/digitalphotography/prophoto