And So It Starts Again... Avalon Community Technical Preview Released

And So It Starts Again... Avalon Community Technical Preview Released

  • Comments 11

The documentation is complete and the bits are signed off and uploaded to MSDN Subscriber Downloads. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the first Community Technical Preview release of "Avalon"!

Avalon is the new graphics display subsystem that we announced at PDC, which unified documents, graphics, media and user interfaces into a single platform. Using a new vector-based compositing engine, Avalon takes full advantage of modern graphics hardware and provides the capabilities for building rich, immersive applications with 2D and 3D capabilities. Avalon also introduces XAML, a markup language that maps XML markup to objects in the .NET Framework and is built to allow designers and developers to work together in the user interface development process.

Originally a Longhorn-only feature, the Avalon team has been working over the last couple of months to additionally support current releases of the Windows operating system. The fruits of that work are now visible in the form of this preview release, which runs on Windows XP Service Pack 2 and Windows Server 2003. You'll need .NET Framework 2.0 installed on your machine, and ideally a DirectX 9-class graphics adapter (although Avalon has a software fallback for older cards).

Where can you go to find out more about the changes in this release? Well, you could do worse than starting with the MSDN article that Karsten and I wrote. This whitepaper discusses the major changes and a number of caveats you should be aware of if you plan to start experimenting or developing with Avalon at this stage. Then check out the docs - the WinFX SDK is now available on the public MSDN site. Over the next days and weeks, I'll be posting a number of code snippets, short articles, breaking change warnings, and hints on how to get the most out of this release. We'll also be updating the Longhorn / WinFX FAQ with additional details and answers within the next few days. If there are questions you want answered, feel free to send them my way using the comments section below and I'll answer them as best as I can in a separate entry.

In the meantime, have fun with Avalon!

  • Any tips to getting the just released bits to run with the October CTP Whidbey/Yukon version of the Framework (2.0.40903)?

    If not, any idea what the schedule would be for a sync'ed up set of bits for Avalon, Whidbey, and Yukon?

    Thanks.
  • S
  • Paul, unfortunately these Avalon bits are incompatible with the October Whidbey CTP build. The thing about these CTP builds is that they're just rough snapshots of the development process at a particular point in time. The goal behind them is to cause minimum impact to the development team (because nobody wants to delay a product to produce them, right?) and so Avalon is released with the Framework bits that happened to be integrated at the time the snapshot took place. I can tell you from the Whidbey Beta 1 release that the effort needed to get everything synchronized on the same build across all parts of Whidbey and Yukon took a fair amount of work, so you can expect that this will only happen for major milestones, such as a Beta release. If serendipity intervenes to create a CTP build with matching bits, that's fantastic, but you shouldn't expect this in the immediate future.

    Hope that answers your question, Tim
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