'Arrowhead' updates to .Net 3.5 to speed WPF apps

While Silverlight -- a k a "Windows Presentation Foundation Everywhere" -- seems to be where all the Microsoft rich-media buzz is these days, the Redmondians haven't forgotten about plain-vanilla WPF, the presentation-layer piece of .Net.

While Silverlight -- a k a "Windows Presentation Foundation Everywhere" -- seems to be where all the Microsoft rich-media buzz is these days, the Redmondians haven't forgotten about plain-vanilla WPF, the presentation-layer piece of .Net.

Microsoft is working under the covers to speed the loading times of WPF applications with new .Net 3.5 enhancements. These .Net Framework 3.5 enhancements, formerly code-named "Arrowhead," will likely debut either as a service pack update to the .Net Framework or as a point release (such as a .Net 3.5.X) some time later this year.

So far, there aren't a lot of specifics Microsoft is sharing about what's coming with Arrowhead. Scott Guthrie, Corporate Vice President of the .Net Developer Platform, blogged on February 19 about some of the updates coming as part of the Arrowhead release (without mentioning the Arrowhead codename, mind you).

There's a new setup framework for .Net 3.5 on tap designed to simplify the process of building  to optimized setup packages for client applications, Guthrie said. And there are a number of performance tuning optimizations coming for the Common Language Runtime (CLR) and WPF itself.

Microsoft is promising "cold startup" gains when loading WPF applications of between 25 percent and 40 percent with no code changes required as a direct result of the planned .Net Framework 3.5 updates.

From Guthrie's wording, I am not sure if Microsoft is planning to release these "servicing updates" to the various components of the .Net Framework individually or in one, single bundle this summer. My bet is the latter.

Guthrie summarized:

"The above improvements should make it easier to build great desktop applications. Because these improvements are built on top of VS 2008 and .NET 3.5, they will also be easy to take advantage of (and in most scenarios not require any code changes to take advantage of them)."

Anyone out there building or using WPF applications? What's your experience been? Do these promised changes affect your plans?

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