It's been just over seven months since my last post, so I'm happy to inform that reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated :). What's been going on this whole time? Since the 2005 PDC I've been very busy getting Windows Vista (and, more specifically, the Windows Presentation Foundation) ready to ship -- busy enough that I've sadly neglected my blog.

However, I haven't completely disappeared into a cave. I've been posting somewhat regularly to the WPF MSDN Forum, and I've had a few opportunities to deliver, along with Mike Hillberg, the mostly Q&A-driven "WPF: Under the Hood" presentation, originally produced by Chris Anderson at the PDC. This is always a lot of fun, because leaving a large amount of time for Q&A keeps the audience engaged and the content relevant.

Between the sessions I've done, and adding what I saw at Chris', I've seen interesting common patterns of questions. It seems we always get at least one question (and often more) on the following topics:

  • Functionality differences of WPF in Windows Vista compared to Windows XP or Windows Server 2003
  • Performance differences of WPF in Windows Vista compared to Windows XP or Windows Server 2003
  • Implementation details of how WPF interacts with ntuser, DX or GDI
  • WPF interoperability with other rendering technologies (GDI, GDI+, DirectX, OpenGL)

It's worth mentioning at this point that my main focus at Microsoft is working on the WPF composition engine and the Windows Vista Desktop Window Manager, which also includes work on accessibility (particularly desktop magnification) and remote desktop support for WPF and the DWM. These components are understandably "under the covers," since the composition engine only has minor public API exposure via the Visual class and the rest have even less, but at the same time they play a central role in any application that displays anything on screen (including non-WPF applications). Therefore, understanding these components is key to taking maximum advantage of Windows Vista.

Over the next few weeks I'll be posting more information on these and other related topics, but I'd also like to advertise Greg Schechter's excellent series on the Windows Vista Desktop Window Manager.