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I'll blog today's stuff later, but I wanted to dump out what I got from the BOF session on Avalon and XAML.

Jean-Luc David, hosted/moderated this session. He doesn't work for Microsoft, so he doesn't have all of the details.  However, a couple of MS guys were in the audience.  Questions and discussion centered around XAML, deployment methods, WinForms vs. XAML, etc..

WinForms vs. XAML: They are two different things.  You can host WinForms controls in a XAML app (window)?  But this involves some sort of interop (not managed/unmanaged interop, but some kinda interop).  WinForms is not supposed to go away soon.  This is still a point of fear from many developers, you could sense it in the audience.  That Microsoft hasn't said much either way leads to wild speculation. I didn't get a good feeling one way or the other from the msft guys in attendance.

XAML slow?  Is XAML slow, since it is XML, and most XML things are slow?  Not supposed to be: XAML would usually be compiled into your app as a binary resource (sometimes called BAML). Alternatively, you could write code to load XAML from a file at run time to offer skinning or whatever.

Why XAML?  There are many other blogs to answer this, but in general: It separates your UI design from your UI code, similar to aspx vs. its code behind. This would let graphics designers work on the interface with an abstraction layer from the UI coding guys.  XAML/Avalon also provide opportunities to make the cool-looking apps (rounded edges, smooth graphics at any size etc etc) that is a pain in the butt to do in winforms and MFC.

A lot of people seemed confused about Avalon/XAML, and kept confusing it with web stuff.  There's no relation--Avalon is a window's client UI technology.  It doesn't (yet) have anything to do with the web browser as a UI.  Sure, I guess you might be able to embed Avalon controls in web browser, but that's no different than embedded any other control (ActiveX, WinForms, or Java applet).

During the whole session, the msft guys in the corner looked kinda shifty and nervous.  Every once in while they'd hop in to answer a question, but they pretty much left it to Jean-Luc and others to answer seemingly key questions.  There was a junior-ish guy and a senior-ish guy...the senior guy has written on his notepad that “there was much misinformation“ about Avalon and XAML.  Yeah, no kidding!  Msft has been kinda mum on Avalon, at least compared to their openness about everything else in VS 2005.  They haven't even publicly demoed the Avalon UI designer.

So, based on my read of just a couple msft guys, and seeing things “in the community” for a while, here's my read on the situation: They want to deliver Avalon (WinFX) with VS 2005 in November--they're holding it back as their 'big splash.'  They've been so open about everything else, they still need something to make the VS 2005 launch a big deal.  And I think that big deal will be an Avalon designer, and release runtime for WinXP along with the VS 2005 launch.

I could be totally wrong...that's just my take based on tonight.  I'll have to catch up on some msft blogs and see if it changes my mind. BTW, you can get a beta of Avalon/WinFX here.


What else?  Oh yeah, Avalon and DirectX.  Chris, I didn't get to see your reply before I went to the session, so I'll have to track down someone and ask them later.  But in general, Avalon is a UI framework written in .NET, that uses DirectX for its power.  Using Avalon is not going to be like coding in DirectX--you get most of the benefit, without all of the junk.  That's what they say, anyway.

That's it for now, I'm gonna find my way to the Jam Session.

Posted on Tuesday, June 7, 2005 9:21 PM TechEd | Back to top

Comments on this post: Avalon and XAML

# re: Avalon and XAML
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I was searching web here and there, this article helped me alot answering my confusions.
Thank you so much
Left by sarfraz sheikh on Dec 16, 2005 5:32 PM

# re: Avalon and XAML
Requesting Gravatar...
This article is (now) two years old. Of course now we have WPF/E, known as Silverlight.

Silverlight lets us render XAML and behaviour in a cross-browser and cross-platform environment. Yay!
Left by Tim on May 12, 2007 12:12 AM

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