Tuesday, December 5th, 2006

WPF/E First Release Available

Category: .NET

The first CTP release of WPF/E is here.

“WPF/E” delivers a small client runtime that enables AJAX developers and designers to deliver richer, cross-platform, interactive web experiences. It will allow applications to go beyond what can be done with pure HTML today, and will enable sites to significantly improve the client user experience by blending HTML UI, Dynamic Vector Graphics, Animation and Media into a seamless cross-platform browser experience.

“WPF/E” accomplishes this by providing a rich graphics engine that can be used on any HTML page and which adds browser support for vector graphics, animation, and declarative XAML UI markup (the declarative XAML format enables search engine optimization of interactive content as well as better authoring via WYSIWYG tools). WPF/E also provides built-in video and audio codec support for WMV, WMA and MP3 content. This means you can now easily stream interactive video content to any browser without requiring any additional install or runtime (Windows Media Player is not required).

Some people are excited to see a mini WPF available cross browser. Others are scared of what it means.

The expression studio designer-tools are compelling, and can be used to developer WPF/E applications.

Adobe vs. Microsoft: Seconds out, round 2.

Posted by Dion Almaer at 8:01 am

1.5 rating from 131 votes


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Wait… I have to install something else, AND it’s from Microsoft?

Comment by Andrew Herron — December 5, 2006

This is probably a pretty scary time for folks at Adobe. If there is one company that can pull off a replacement of Flash it would be Microsoft. All they have to do is bundle it with the OS via an update and they have automatic market penetration for the player.

Then they will just have to give some tools away for free and let developers experience what WPF/E can offer for them.

Yeah like I said I do not think I would want to be competing with them.

Comment by Philip Plante — December 5, 2006

It’s only 1Mo – nothing to be frightened of. An interesting point is that you develop it in plain Javascript so it can be used as a very efficient UI for an Ajax application.

Comment by Philippe — December 5, 2006

Hmmm…. Do we really need this? Is Microsoft that paranoid that they are going to lose their monopoly so they have to tie everything back to this modern day ActiveX control in a webpage tactic? (and yes, it is ActiveX re-packaged because .NET is built upon COM).

Comment by Mark Haliday — December 5, 2006

The demos are impressive but it will be interesting to see the perfomance of live demos. It doesn’t seem lightweight to me.

Comment by Jonathan Bond-Caron — December 5, 2006

This reminds me of Netscape vs. MS back in the days. I think Adobe pushed MS buttons by projects like Flex, hijacking Flash for web applications. If they follow the Netscape model and mind their own entertainment business they should be OK!

Comment by Noel — December 5, 2006

I’m still waiting to see if this works with linux computers. So far, everything I’ve read says Windows and OSX. (And not older Windows, only XP and up!) Sooooooooooooooooooooooooo … why on earth would I want to develop ANYTHING for WPF/E when the E doesn’t REALLY mean everywhere … only “Everywhere Microsoft lives”.

Sorry, isn’t the point of cross-platform, standards-compliant programming for the web to AVOID another (re)Active-X fiasco? Sorry M$, this cowboy will never lasso this new piece of malware in the making.

Comment by DigitaLink — December 5, 2006

Well, I hate using anything that isn’t native, but it is pretty impressive.

Comment by Andy Kant — December 5, 2006

Plante: I don’t think Microsoft could get away with doing this, or at least, not without their own fear that Adobe would file an anti-trust lawsuit on them. Much as was done with their media player.

Comment by Andrew Herron — December 5, 2006

For those of you concerned with running anything non-native, what are your feelings on Flash. How is this any different from what Adobe has done? Not trolling for flames, but an honest discussion. Is it simply an anti-MS bias or is the technology really lacking something?

Comment by Jifka — December 5, 2006

smart move and why not? Like Jifka mentioned Flash is also an ActiveX plugin. From a developer perspective this is interesting. Learning WPF could help me create attractive websites and realy cool windows applications. Now they only have to port it to Linux and help the mono guys to make an open source implementation. Nothing wrong with a bit competition for Adobe

Comment by arnoud — December 5, 2006

Mark Haliday said: “it is ActiveX re-packaged because .NET is built upon COM)”
Err. What?? Come again? Where did you get this funny idea?

Comment by Bertrand Le Roy — December 5, 2006

This looks very cool…was working well on Firefox and the video codec looks nicer than Flash’s. If anything, it is definitely nice to have an alternative. Only good can come from some competition with Adobe.

Comment by Will Sahatdjian — December 5, 2006

I hate Flash. Primarily I hate it because it is often used in situations where it is entirely unnecessary (anyone who uses Flash for a navigation system should be shot…figuratively). That’s not to say it doesn’t have its uses…I think it is a great tool for promotional sites and I’ve grown to love those Flash movie players since they provide a legitimate solution for a problem in that they abstract all of the different media players and plug-ins that are normally required.

And no, I’m not anti-MS. In my opinion, Microsoft has done nothing but release outstanding software development tools and technologies in recent years (C#/.NET especially). However, I’d be surprised to see a Microsoft article on this or any related blog with a high rating. My theory is that many people out there hold grudges for the shortcomings of IE as well as that many come from a Mac background that tends to bake in a hate for Microsoft.

Comment by Andy Kant — December 6, 2006

A couple people ave asked how Flash is any better. Well, how about 96%+ market penetration? Personally, except maybe for experiments, I’m not going to deploy production code on anything that isn’t native. Ok, Flash isn’t native, but it’s as close as you’re going to get. If YouTube can get sold for a billion bucks plus and their whole model depends on Flash, then I can use it for my little clients. Until this reaches a market penetration of higher than 90%, it may as well not exist.

That said, if it spurs Adobe to improve Flash, more power to them.

Comment by CrackWilding — December 6, 2006

For those of you who think this is about MS versus Adobe, think again. This is their opus magnus. This is about MS versus Linux, Apple, Ajax, HTML, open source software, and open standards.
It’s how MS will secure their stronghold over enterprises: WPF/E will never have the integration features of WPF running on XP and Vista.
It’s how they will maintain IE’s dominance: IE will run WPF, not just WPF/E.
It’s how they will “take back the web”: by the time similar “open” efforts catch up (e.g. Laszlo), it will be too late.
They have even been removing objections from developers: you will soon be able to write WPF applications in Javascript, Ruby, Perl, and Python.
Say goodbye to HTML, CSS, and Ajax and say hello to XAML. :-(

Comment by John Hann — December 6, 2006

I don’t think it’s an Adobe killer just yet. Adobe is pretty well embedded in design agencies for high end tools. On the other hand, Adobe is shooting themselves in the foot for the Enterprise market. Flex is a great tool, that for outpaces the current competition, but you have to buy the whole stack ($20K)- and it outputs to Flash only. Laszlo is free (there is a support charge) and renders to Flash AND DHTML.

I suspect that MS will win the usual corporate market from MS zombies who know nothing else and see it as a “safe bet”. Adobe will continue to dominate the design houses. innovation will come from the Open-Source world.

Comment by Sean Francisco Smith — December 6, 2006

@John Hann
Oh man…I can’t wait until the Ruby CLR is finished. Ruby is such an elegant and fun language (it became my favorite language after working with Rails), but unfortunately it is not currently very useful. .NET will allow Ruby to be able to do pretty much everything. Plus, if there’s one thing that open source technologies lack, it is GOOD documentation; Microsoft can fix that.

Comment by Andy Kant — December 6, 2006

Sean Francisco Smith wrote:
>Flex is a great tool, that for outpaces the current competition, but you have to buy the whole stack ($20K)

You should look at flex builder 2, which costs around $700.
Or you could just download the command line compiler from Adobe for free.

I wonder which technology the AJAX/standards/Web 2.0 people are going to hate more though.
Microsoft .net vs Adobe Flash? Tough call.
Maybe we can pretend they don’t exist.
Quick, someone add support for WPF/E to the firefox extension FlashBlock!

Comment by Metal — December 6, 2006

Well people still seem to not understand that Flex 2 is basically free and that Flash Actionscript 2&3 is much much much better than the browser’s Javascript…

Comment by Philippe — December 7, 2006

WPF + WCF = web applications that look like windows apps.

Comment by brian — December 13, 2006


Now after the Feb CTP of WPF/E, it’s almost certain that M$ wants to make WPF/E as the defacto for web app. Flash / Appallo cant compete with that i feel. They say more to come. Already there’s support for all browsers in Win & Mac. Linux will follow suit.

Comment by Jinishans — March 3, 2007

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