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Web News on WPF/XAML – 2006/09/14

September 14, 2006

some new links, some old…

Samples in WPF

  • Valentin Iliescu, Update Apps and Source Code for RC1 – Great set of apps: Chess, Math formulas in flow documents, crystal ball and yet another xaml pad (but this one runs in the browser.
  • Keyvan Nayyeri, Commands in Avalon – lots of great things to dig into here.  you can write apps that can flexibly change their UI, but still work.  Commands are a key to that.

Avalon comes with a rich set of pre-defined commands for common tasks in each application to save you from coding for each and every command.  The most common kind of these pre-defined commands are ApplicationCommands.  There are other types of pre-defined commands such as NavigationCommands, MediaCommands, EditingCommands and ComponentCommands.  You can also build your desired commands with modifying these pre-defined commands.  In this post I’m going to talk about a common instance of ApplicationCommand usage in MenuItems and show you how you can customize pre-defined commands.  Usage process is same for other kinds of commands.

If you are a user experience junky like I am, then XAML is like interface crack. If you haven’t seen XAML demos on Windows Vista, or used the freely available WinFX SDK, then you haven’t lived. XAML is a tag-based language that you use to create stunning interfaces quickly and easily.

In this article I’ll show you not only how to develop one of these applications, but also how to do something useful with it. For this example I’ll be writing a photo Uploader to get image files up to a simple PHP web application.

So, what’s the extra cool twist with doing this in XAML? Using the interaction designer, once you set up  the VisualBrush, the bottom reflection responds in real-time as you manipulate the source of the Visual Brush! Don’ you get it?! It’s incredible.

If you are not as excited as me, write me and perhaps I’ll do a titillating screencast.


User interfaces are a fundamentally important part of most applications. Making those interfaces as effective has possible can have measurable benefits to the people and organizations that rely on them. The primary goal of WPF is to help developers provide these benefits, and so for anybody who creates or uses Windows applications, WPF is big news.

By providing a unified platform for modern user interfaces, helping make designers active participants in creating those interfaces, and allowing a common programming model for standalone and browser applications, WPF aims at significantly improving the Windows user experience. Some of the technologies it supplants had a twenty-year run as the foundation for Windows user interfaces. The intent of WPF is to lay the foundation for the next twenty years.

  • Comment on blog – asking for a way to make intellisense work in XAML on custom types.
  • @ Head, Why WPF Matters – Microsoft MVP talks about value of WPF beyond eye candy.

If you think WPF is only about 3D, animation, aero glass etc, then you’re memorized by the bling, the wheel trims, the decals…  It’s time to focus on the car.

Eric Sink keeps posting about WPF, and it’s making me jealous.

  •, WPF Another Darned Revolution – first 2 comments are interesting…welcome revolution for some, not for others?
  • Kent Boogaart, Some Thoughts on WPF – just like the web has shown…good ui practices will evolve…bad ones will die.

This flexibility of WPF is both a boon and a potential problem. The problem is that with power comes responsibility, and developers have proven themselves unworthy of such responsibility in the past. Just take a look at the web – there’re an absolute plethora of websites out there that have their own look and feel. Users cannot often leverage their knowledge of one website layout to aid in learning another.

  • Simon Middlemiss, Sweet Cider – talks about the new Cider splitview
  • Cider … designer for WPF is starting to come of age, what was a clunky, ugly and very buggy user experience has evolved.  I am loving the split view, it’s like XAMLPad but with intellisense, much easier for putting together sample code, and trying things out. 

  • CodePlex, WPF Control Template Viewer – new tool to "show default template of any WPF control."
  • Breakpoint Inside Recursive Mind, WPF (Avalon) ClickOnce Application and FileOpenDialog – discusses how to use the right theme of the file open dialog when you deploy with click once.

Early Opinions of WPF

I was browsing on and I found this tutorial on "Reflection using Visual Brush and Opacity Mask", which shows you how to produce this effect:

with very little code/markup.

Microsoft Max Preview Comments

I was excited to read public reaction to the release of a new version of Microsoft Max that was in sync with .Net Framework 3.0 RC1.  Many positive things about the look and feel.  Many questions about the functionality of the software.  I was very disappointed that the Max team released this only for XP right now.  At the very least, if you are a developer or designer, Max is worth analyzing.

"It took a while to download it all but it’s worth the effort. Max is an impressive little app and I hope it grows in functionality and features.
With the trend of shifting software to be web based it’s refreshing to see something taking advantage of the raw power, speed and aesthetics of a desktop app."

Maybe it will be something that’s worth downloading. But — I doubt it. The best thing they could do for the WPF community would be to release the source code to this and make it open / shared source. Because as an application, it’s entering an extremely crowded market — a market that doesn’t need the odd combo of photo sharing software and a RSS feed reader.

Times Reader

So Times Reader is close to hitting Beta release and I thought it would be nice to treat the world to a sneak peek of what I believe to be some of the key features. There are many to choose from but I decided to start with the biggest and most overlooked.


Captain’s Blog, Photoshop your Own Beard – relevant to me…I just grew my own beard…wish I knew I could have done it in photoshop.

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