I'm starting to play around with Avalon (a name that I'll continue to use because of the savings of 2 syllables over WPF. It's my little contribution to help out in the syllable crisis... (Maybe the decibet would help....))

And I've found it a bit hard to find out what you need to start writing Avalon code. This may be old news, but I thought I'd document it anyway. Note that these instructions are for the fall of 2006, and there may be newer previews when you read this. Most of what you need is documented on this page...

  1. First, you need the .NET Framework 3.0. And once you have the framework, you're done... Except that you aren't - because all you have is the runtime portion - enough to run the apps, but not to write them. If you're like me, you installed twice before you figured that out, though, to be fare, the link does say "runtime components". So...
  2. You also need the SDK. The Windows SDK. Or, to be more correct, the Microsoft Windows Software Development Kit (ISO) for RC 1 of Windows Vista and .NET Framework 3.0 Runtime Components. (I think that title is missing a couple of "Microsofts" in from of Windows and .NET). This is conveniently provided in DVD ISO format, but with a .img extension. You get to download a whole gigabyte of data. There is also a "(web)" version available, which is different in some obvious way that is beyond me (and the writers of the description, AFAICT). After you download the iso, you'll need to rename the .img to a .iso (also for a reason that is beyond me). Then you'll need to find a way to deal with the ISO. The docs suggest using the "virtual CD-ROM control panel for Windows XP", which is justly unsupported, as it doesn't work. I used Magic ISO, extracted the ISO to a file, and then ran the setup. Incidentally, it took nearly as long to rename the 1gig file from the system disk to the disk where I wanted it as it did to download it.

    At this point, you've installed the SDK, and you can go to the "Get Started" page and learn how to write five simple applications, where "application" is defined as "something you can define in less than 50 lines of Xaml". And you'll find a nice pick to register the SDK directories in VS, which doesn't do what you want. But, no help in VS, until...
  3. You download the VS support tools (Microsoft Visual Studio Code Name “Orcas” Community Technology Preview – Development Tools for .NET Framework 3.0)

If anybody from the Avalon team is reading this, could you please modify the "get the beta" page to have more useful directions, and see if you could provide something other than the DVD image.