Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Empire Strikes Back (Yet Again...)

Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) is Microsoft's new software layer for producing and managing user interfaces. For the technical amongst you it vectorises graphical data and converts it into XAML (pronounced 'zaml').

To author in this new format Microsoft have released a number of packages under the 'Expression' name. Expression Web is, in all but name, a new version of the html editing package FrontPage. The most interesting product is Expression Blend - a competitor for Adobe Flash.

In order to make this work across platforms and browsers, another leaf has been taken from Flash's book with a small 2MB plug-in enabling a reasonably seamless experience - this is called WPF/E (for everywhere).

You can check out some examples here.

There are some nice examples, but there's little here that wasn't present in Macromedia Director over a decade ago. However, Microsoft have played catch up very well and, with the existing benefits of WMV over Flash video such as better quality, DRM and live events, the empire has struck back.


Caleb Bell said...

You wrote that WPF "vectorises graphical data and converts it into XAML". Technically speaking, more of the other way around -- XAML describes vector-based graphical data, which WPF ultimately rasterizes to the screen.

Great blog, BTW!

IP Jones said...

Thanks for the clarification! I particularly like the fact that MS have enabled existing formats such as Adobe Illustrator to be imported.