WPF: The Challenge Ahead
It's a well-worn cycle. Microsoft talks about an exciting new development technology
that promises to be the Best Thing Ever (BTE). Microsoft ships the technology,
but takes months to get the tooling out, so coders forget about it and move
on to another BTE. Then the tooling finally emerges, and coders quickly learn
that the BTE is really hard to use.
That cycle is about to replay itself with Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF),
the exciting new graphics subsystem that relies on Extensible Application Markup
Language (XAML) to express application interfaces and graphics. While WPF and
XAML let you do all sorts of exciting things -- like mixed 3-D and 2-D graphics
and animation without crushing complexity -- there's a catch.
Developers are going to have to learn, from scratch, how to work with this
stuff. Steve Dadoly, vice president of engineering for component maker Infragistics,
led a team of programmers who faced the WPF learning curve. "A lot of my
engineers had to relearn how to make controls because the approach is different,"
Jason Beres, Infragistics' director of product management, agreed. "We're
good at it now even though we did really struggle in the beginning, because
it was really different creating for Windows forms than WPF."
"It is a shift," Beres added. "The platform offers new capabilities
and new features. If they want to offer basic forms over data, they can do that.
But really it's about the user experience. I would compare this in terms of
what the platform offers as easily a big jump, from Windows 3.1 or Windows 95
to Vista. It's a major leap forward."
As a result, Beres said, companies may need to be patient as they work to roll
out compelling WPF applications. "It will take a couple years for those
great [WPF] applications to come out. So training is critical."
So are you ready to take the leap? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted by Michael Desmond on 12/05/2007 at 1:15 PM