S. Somasegar is the corporate vice president of the Developer Division at Microsoft. Learn more about Somasegar.
Windows Vista is round the corner. Windows Presentation Foundation that is shipping as a part of Vista is a great step forward as developers think about differentiated user experiences.
WPF is a Windows Vista era of smart-client technology that integrates UI (controls, data binding, etc.), media (2D & 3D vector graphics, animation, audio, video, animation, etc.), and documents. As a developer, you now have the power to incorporate these various UI elements to deliver the applications you have always dreamed of, but were constrained by technology. For example, instead of embedding a OK text in a button, you can instead use a 2D/3D vector graphic or even a video−all by changing a single line of code.
A great example of WPF that you can see for yourself today is The New York Times Reader. This application offers a truly unique news experience that for the first time brings the quality of professional news presentation to the screen. In addition, Times Reader is versatile and adaptable for a variety of devices with different display sizes. As a developer, you can create a similar digital content application by taking advantage of hardware-accelerated sub-pixel ClearType technology for better readability, integrated Windows Vista search for finding the right content, annotation/inking for sharing, extended RSS for online-offline content sync, multimedia capabilities such as rich photos and interactive ads, better printing, and may be even speech.
The above example shows a new application that mainly use WPF features. However, I realize that many of you are still using Windows Forms or Win32. In addition to WPF, we are also shipping interop technologies that let you incrementally embrace WPF while leveraging your existing Windows Forms or Win32 code base. For example, if you are an enterprise developer who has a data-intensive forms-over data application in Windows Forms, you can host an interactive WPF data visualization control in the Windows Forms application.
Taj Mahal is one of the most magnificent monuments created by man. To me, it’s the unique combination of advanced engineering and everlasting design and aesthetics that makes the Taj Mahal huge tourist attraction centuries after centuries. Arguably, this means that its creator, the Emperor Shah Jahan, must have employed the very best architects, engineers, designers, visionaries, and other experts of those times to build the monument.
Likewise, successful software applications of tomorrow must leverage different skill sets, such as those of software developers and designers. could have individually built. As you probably know, we are developing a new suite of tools targeted at creative professionals (aka designers), called Microsoft Expression. As a developer, Visual Studio is your tool of choice, and that won’t change. However, you can now use Visual Studio and its new Visual Designer for WPF (formerly code named “Cider”), along with XAML to collaborate with a professional designer who may be using Microsoft Expression. This will help you deliver superior user experiences for your customers.
If you have questions or comments on WPF or Vista, you can send us feedback directly.