If you’re watching a number of blogs you will already have seen this news: The August CTP of Acrylic, the code name for our new graphics designer product, can export XAML. It’s an 81MB download but worth it.
It might seem an unexciting announcement but actually it’s really useful to know. Why? Ok, a quick thumbnail background: The Windows Presentation Foundation (nee Avalon) allows you to design, build and deploy interfaces that are a generation away from your typical Windows application. Simply put, Avalon makes it easy to do really cool stuff like 3D, vector graphics, video, audio, etc, something that traditionally (ie right now) has been really hard to do.
There are two ways of writing a user interface via Avalon: Using a “traditional” .NET programming language like VB.NET or C#; or by using XAML, a markup language that is a much more intuitive way of representing a user interface than something like C#.
The problem is, as hinted in a previous blog entry, what you really need to develop your user interface is a nice graphics application that spits out XAML for you to use in your app. Enter Acrylic….
Keep in mind that this is a professional design application. While it’s easy to create something simple, generally you’d expect graphics design specialists to use Acrylic to design buttons, rollovers, and other controls and cool-looking widgets. The great thing about being to export to XAML is that they can do this design work then just pass the XAML across to the developers to include in their project. The developer can then wire it up to business logic and application events in order to turn the UI into a functioning application.
Take a look here for more information about Acrylic and what it can do. And download the August CTP and have a play around – export some XAML and use it from within your Visual Studio 2005 Avalon application. And get a glimpse of how cool this is going to be.
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