Taking the WPF Plunge

I wrote earlier that I felt WPF and XAML were the UI design platform of the future ( http://arcanecode.wordpress.com/2007/08/03/the-ui-of-the-future/ ). I’ve decided to put my time where my (some would say big) mouth is, and devote some time to learning WPF. In case you want to come along for the ride, lets look at what you need to get started.

First, you need the .Net Framework 3.0. Odds are you already have it, if you have Vista you definitely have it. If you are still on XP, and haven’t downloaded it grab your copy from http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=10CC340B-F857-4A14-83F5-25634C3BF043&displaylang=en . Make sure your XP has been patched with Service Pack 2.

That’s it, that’s all you have to have. However there are some things that will make your life easier. Visual Studio 2005, for example. Odds are if you read this blog you already have a version, but if not grab one from http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/express/default.aspx . You’ll want to select Windows Development, and pick either C# or VB.Net.

Finally, you’ll want the Windows Software Development Kit. The Windows SDK contains a very useful tool called XamlPad, which you can use to quickly test your XAML code. The Vista version is at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=C2B1E300-F358-4523-B479-F53D234CDCCF&displaylang=en . UPDATE (Aug 15): I should have been a little more awake when I wrote this. Even though the download has Vista in the title, the SDK will actually install and run on Windows XP (with SP2) and Server 2003 in addition to Vista.

If you’re on XP, or want something other than the SDK check out XamlPadX at http://blogs.msdn.com/llobo/archive/2007/04/23/update-xamlpadx-v2-1.aspx .

Finally, if you are lucky enough to have an MSDN Subscription, take a look at Expression Blend and Expression Web, I’ll be looking at them later.

There, that ought to keep you busy for a bit!

UPDATE UPDATE (Aug 16th)Well I did it again. When I posted the Aug 15th update (at the bottom) I grabbed the wrong text and pasted it in. Obviously, the Workflow Foundation extensions don’t do you any good when you want to work with WPF. Instead I meant to refer you to the extensions for WPF & WCF at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=f54f5537-cc86-4bf5-ae44-f5a1e805680d&displaylang=en . Don’t let the fact that it reads CTP shake you, this is the last release for VS2005, Microsoft decided to make all further updates to the VS2008 product. The bits work fine though, and add templates so you can create WPF/WCF projects.

One note, when you go to install this extension, it will first recommend you have the Windows SDK (see link earlier in this message) installed. Second, it will recommend you set your help in Visual Studio 2005  to use local instead of on-line as the primary source. Just be aware of these two quirks.

I’ll leave the Workflow link below active though, it won’t hurt to install it, and you might want to dive into WF at some point.

UPDATE (Aug 15th): One more item you’ll want if you intend to use Visual Studio, you’ll want the Extensions for Windows Workflow Foundation, which you’ll find here http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=5D61409E-1FA3-48CF-8023-E8F38E709BA6&displaylang=en . (It’s only a 6 mb download, so it shouldn’t take long.)

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4 Responses to “Taking the WPF Plunge”

  1. Mark Wilson-Thomas (MSFT) Says:

    Great to see you are taking the plunge with WPF :-)

    If you’re going to use Visual Studio for your WPF explorations, I hope that you’ll use Visual Studio 2008 Beta 2. That version is significantly more feature-rich (and bug free) than the Visual Studio 2005 extensions you referenced.

    You can get a copy of Beta 2 here
    http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/vstudio/aa700831.aspx

    …and the WPF designer is included in the Express Editions too.

    Once you’ve used it, if you have feedback on the WPF Designer (aka Cider) in Visual Studio 2008
    I’d encourage you to send it to the forum here:

    http://forums.microsoft.com/msdn/default.aspx?forumid=169&siteid=1

    Thanks

    Mark Wilson-Thomas
    Program Manager, WPF Designer Team, Visual Studio

  2. Shawn Hyde Says:

    Do you have any good examples of WPF and XAML already in use?

  3. arcanecode Says:

    Here are two links to projects on the Microsoft site. They are implemented as XBAP, which means they are XAML compiled to run inside the web browser. To view either of the XBAP links you’ll need to have the .Net 3.0 framework already installed on your box. The second example is especially good.

    1) Architecture Content Map Overview – http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/skyscrapr/bb428857.aspx

    Direct link to Content Map XBAP Application:
    http://files.skyscrapr.net/users/ContentMap/SocialNetWorkWPF.xbap

    2) Woodgrove Financial Application – http://blogs.msdn.com/karstenj/archive/2006/12/05/woodgrove-finance-application-source-code-posted.aspx

    Direct link to Woodgrove Finance Application:
    http://scorbs.com/workapps/woodgrove/FinanceApplication.xbap


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