What’s of interest to Canadian Developers? That’s the question I’m always contemplating. I can’t say I know all the answers but I’m hopeful through these postings we can begin a dialog and answers some of those questions.
 
To that end I want to share some recent conversations. This past week a colleague passed on some questions/concerns from a customer with respect to Windows Presentation Foundation and AJAX/Atlas. What was Microsoft’s commitment and direction on these technologies? How do we go about choosing one technology over the other? And if the strategy is for WPF to provide a richer more versatile technology for building Windows and browser based applications, what’s Microsoft’s strategy with cross-browser support?
 
All good questions; the email was sent to me and copied one of our internal alias. I was amazed by the amount of traffic this generated. My initial reaction was that our position is quiet clear on this. If you need some insight in differentiating and choosing between the different presentation technologies I encourage you to have a look at Tim Sneath blog post. He does a great highlighting the different technologies and explains why you might choose one technology over the other.
 
Beyond choosing the *right* technology, there are some other business considerations. I’m certainly not trying to cover all these considerations but highlight some of the ones that seem to generate a lot interest/confusion.
 
  • Any solution built on Windows Presentation Foundation requires the WinFX Runtime. This is a non issue for Windows Vista but does require an install on Windows XP SP2 and Windows 2003. If this is going to be an intranet only solution, you may have more control in deploying the WinFX runtime. This is less the case in a consumer facing internet solution in which your customer may or may not wish to install the runtime.
  • If this is indeed a consumer facing Internet browser based application you need to consider your potential audience and consider the cross-browser/multiple OS problem. If you’re target audience is predominantly IE then this may not be an issue but you still need to consider what version of IE and what version of Windows.
  • If you’ve considered the deployment considerations, what about development and maintainability? These are other important considerations especially with the fast pace of change with web based applications and technologies.
 
If you’ve read to this point, you’re probably saying to yourself this is pretty obvious but still something’s amiss. Is Microsoft’s strategy to target web based application with WPF for Windows only and AJAX/Atlas for non-Windows/IE world?
 
That’s where Windows Presentation Foundation Everywhere comes in. The goal of WPF/E is to provide a subset of WPF that runs cross browser and platform. We announced this at the PDC last year and I expect to see a lot of new information/announcements at Mix 06. I really think people will be pleasantly surprised with some of things that will be showcase at Mix 06. I can’t wait to go to Mix!
And if you’re in Toronto next week, come and see us at the Toronto .Net User Group on March 16th where we will discuss WPF, showcase an application we wrote from scratch and demonstrate what we learned in doing so. And yes we’re heard the feedback that the Microsoft Office in Mississauga is not easy to get to so we will be doing the same session at the Toronto VB.Net User Group and the Metro Toronto .Net User Group on April 12th in downtown Toronto at 200 Bloor St East (Manulife Financial).
 
If I don’t see you next week hope to see you at Mix where you’ll be able to find me lounging around in the Mix lounge!