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March 01, 2006

WinFX February CPT

Microsoft just released the February CPT of WinFx. You can get the bits on the MSDN web site. I highly recommend that you create a virtual machine and get this technology up and running. There are three components to WinFx and each is a significant technology in it's own right.

The Windows Presentation Foundation (code name Avalon) or WPF offers a new way to author user interfaces that will run both on Windows and in the browser (WinFx framework required). Under the hood WPF allows you to create UI definitions in XAML,  an XML standard markup. WPF gives us the ability to build UIs that are animated and fully incorporate sound and video. WPF delivers all the power of Flash but with a UI can that is fully connected to the .NET Framework and all it's resources.

The Windows Communication Foundation (code name Indigo) or WCF is a new messaging platform. Take all the power of remoting, web services and WSE 3.0, improve it and make it 10 time easier to use. That's the WCF. Check out WindowsCommunication.Net for samples and some really good tutorials. Also check out a new book on the subject Microsoft Windows Communication Foundation : Hands-on by  Craig McMurtry, Marc Mercuri and Nigel Watling. I went through the training labs included in this book in a class with Marc Mercuri a couple weeks ago. This book is well worth the money. Also nothing is confirmed or officially announced but there are at least some hints that Microsoft may be working on a visual designer for WCF.

Then there's the Windows Workflow Foundation or WWF or WF. This technology is a built on the .NET framework and enables you to easily build workflow logic into your applications. I must admit when I started a day of training on this technology I wasn't very interested. By the end of the day I saw this technology in a whole new light. It has a tremendous number of applications even in the systems I'm working on today. It has an easy to use drag and drop designer and Microsoft says that the next version BizTalk (not 2006 the one after that) will be written using the WWF. Check it out at WindowWorkflow.Net.

The last thing of interest is call Expression Studio. This set of products is designed to create WPF User interfaces. There's a Graphics Studio that works as a stand alone product and is targeted at graphic artists. Interactive Designer is targeted at software developers and snaps into Visual Studio 2005. Both are available for download and trial now.

WinFX offers a new set of development options. WinFx is designed for Windows Vista but it will also be available on Windows XP and Windows Server 2003. It is the next big thing so start playing with it now.

09:30 AM | Permalink


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