WPF XBAP - Microsoft's answer to Flex

WPF XBAP - Microsoft's answer to Flex

Summary: I just caught this video over at Channel 9 which describes and demos "WPF XBAP". All this time, we've been hearing about WPF, which will enable desktop applications via XAML, and WPF/E which was going to be a limited, cross-platform version of WPF. I've been contending that WPF was more competitor to Apollo than Flex 2, but XBAP changes that.


xbap_woodgrove.jpgI just caught this video over at Channel 9 which describes and demos "WPF XBAP". All this time, we've been hearing about WPF, which will enable desktop applications via XAML, and WPF/E which was going to be a limited, cross-platform version of WPF. I've been contending that WPF was more competitor to Apollo than Flex 2, but this changes that.

WPF XBAP runs in the browser, and is clearly meant to compete with the other "web application" solutions including Ajax and Flex 2. It doesn't seem to be cross platform, although those with Vista can run it without any upgrade, and IE 7 users will have a smooth upgrade process similar to what Adobe is doing with the Flash 8 to 9 upgrade (from what I can tell).

I'm still trying to get information on a possible release date and where this fits into the .NET 3.0 world, but I think this may be a very good option for people developing web applications in a Microsoft environment. If you're looking for something more lightweight than regular WPF, this could be your option. And if Microsoft can release a plug-in for the Mac that runs WPF XBAP, then all of a sudden we have a ball game. How does the Expression delay play into this? We'll have to wait and see.

Topic: Apps

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  • WPF/E

    Microsoft has demonstrated MAC and LINUX versions of the WPF called WPF/E the e standing for everywhere. and they have demoed it in IE and Firefox. I believe it was at MIX 06 in vegas.
  • XBAP vs. WPF/E

    XBAP allows you to build RIAs that run against .Net 3.0 (previously WinFX) that live in the browser. Your RIAs get access to all of .Net 3.0?s functionality (including all of WPF), but your users don?t have to install your apps, and your apps live in a security sandbox. XBAP is not cross platform. It runs on only Vista, Win XP, and Win Server 2003.

    WPF/E is cross platform, and is a subset of the features in .Net 3.0. WPF/E RIAs generally live in the browser like XBAP RIAs, however: WPF/E RIAs are cross platform while XBAP RIAs are not, and XBAP RIAs have access to all of .Net 3.0?s functionality, while WPF/E RIAs do not. Also I expect in addition to the above, that there will be both WPF and WPF/E RIAs that live outside of the browser.
    P. Douglas
  • Also delayed?

    Does this also fall under the delay you mentioned in your previous post ("Microsoft delays Expression Tools to 2007/2008 ")?

    • I Don't Think So

      Hi David,

      I was a bit confused about that at first, but it shouldn't be affected by the Expression delay. XBAP is supposed to ship with .NET 3.0 which is supposed to ship with Vista. Whether THAT gets delayed is another story entirely ;).

      Expression makes it easier to write XAML applications, but it isn't required, so the delay doesn't have a big impact - except on Microsoft's goal of getting designers on board.
  • Terrible presentation

    A 40 minute video, with about 2 minutes of scant demo's (and lame demo's, at that) - and that's supposed to compete with what? Flex and Ajax? I'm supposed to generate interest in this how? I showed various business folks the flex demo's and they were sold, immediatley. When I mention "Web 2.0" to business people, I just say - "Have you seen Google Maps?". Instant positive reaction.
    With Adobe, Flex 2 needs Flash 9 penetration - something that will happen much quicker with the new auto update feature. With MS RIA solutions, we'll need to see a significant penetration of Vista (any of the 5+ versions, I assume, will do) - a significantly longer timeframe, and it isn't even released yet. MS better be praying that corporate adoption of RIA's is slow - very slow. Otherwise, they'll be late to the party.

    IMHO. David.

    p.s., Desktop RIA applications are being pushed...why? I'm sure I've been told, but I can't remember the reason.

    • Not Terrible

      Channel 9 videos are definitely way too long and poorly edited, but I don't agree that they're terrible. For someone like me, it was a very good overview of the technology.

      As for the Dektop RIA push? I don't think we'll need desktop RIAs in the future, but right now I see the as something like a gateway between where we can go and where we will go.
      • re:Not Terrible

        I should have chosen a less polarizing title for my post - my apologies for that. I wasn't taking a shot at Channel 9 - they just did the interview. It was the presenters and the content of the presentation that I was referring to. I know it's a personal opinion, but for something that is about "presentation", I just don't see very much of it (presentation, that is).



        • No Problem

          hah! No problem David - and I agree, the presenters weren't very polished. I guess my bar for program managers is just pretty low :).
        • Channel 9's Presentation Format is Deliberate

          Channel 9 interviews are purposely informal and unpolished so that people can get an idea of what MS programmers / personnel are really like. Also, the primary audience for Channel 9 is programmers who use MS products. It is not really for general users, or to sell technologies per se to decision makers. Channel 9 has been using this format since the beginning, and it attracts a very large audience.
          P. Douglas
  • Smalltalk Interpreter in XBAP

    I have written a Smalltalk interpreter which can run as an XBAP program, and I have posted some examples of animations and Ajax style applications. It should provide some competition for Ajax and Flex.
  • Channel 9

    I'm a developer-type and I have to say that Channel 9 is extremely effective "propaganda". Whereas Microsoft marketing utterly fails to win me over, watching Channel 9 interviews with some of MS' key engineers has convinced me that MS will be the ones coming up with solid technology for the future more than the Open Source crowd.

    Open source has given us lots of awesome things too, but you can see how some of them can be arrogant at times (Linus, the Ruby on Rails guys, etc...). I don't mind the arrogance in some cases (well in Linus' case at least) because it does come hand in hand with technical excellence and heck, we're getting the stuff for free (and also, Linus can be a quite pragamtic guy, e.g. his attitude towards licenses) ...

    I don't want to see Open Source fade away, because without competition from them, MS is likely to fall back to their old crappy ways of doing things, but I'll be damned if I will give up all this cool new MS technology that has no real equivalent in open source just because of some stupid ideological consideration.