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Birth Of WPF
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Microsoft has developed numerous graphical interface toolkits like C++ Win32 API, VB6, MFC, etc. to build desktop applications. These technologies are capable of designing a good GUI interface for the Windows Applications. But these lacks in some additional and advanced features, such as, 2D & 3D Rendering support, Multimedia Support, Animation Support, etc.

which are essential now a days. So Microsoft has introduced WPF(Windows Presentation Foundation) API in .NET3.0 framework for the first time. It is released in the year 2007.

.NET 3.0 is officially shipped for the first time with Windows Vista OS. But Windows XP and 2003 versions can also use .NET 3.0. Visual Studio 2005 is the first gateway to program .NET 3.0 applications. So to develop WPF application you need Visual Studio 2005 or later.

What's New:

.NET 2.0 supports 3D and Multimedia features, but the programmer has to use a number of unrelated APIs. For supporting 3D graphics he has to use DirectX APIs, to use multimedia he has to use Windows Media Player API, etc. So the programmer has to know all the different technologies to build a richer GUI. But it is very difficult to master all the different technologies and integrate them.

So WPF merged all the unrelated APIs into a single unified object model. So if you want to use 3D graphics or multimedia for your application you do not use to need use different APIs. WPF provides all the functionality you need to develop richer GUI applications.

 

Introducing XAML(An Integral Part Of WPF)

WPF provides us the capability to design windows applications like an ASP.NET application using markup language. Microsoft called this as XAML(Extended Application Markup Language).

XAML provides a separation of coding from designing. So you can develop your application using the toolbox and properties window like the general windows application or in a different form like web applications using markup language.

XAML is capable to provide all the simple UI elements (such as labels, textboxes, etc.) to complex functionality (animation, graphics rendering and multimedia support). If you want to animate a button with a picture on it you only need a few line of XAML code. WPF elements can also be customized using styles and templates, minimizing your efforts.

There are also a lot of tools to generate XAML code for you. You have to just define the UI in a drag and drop manner. You can also apply rendering effects and animations to these UI using a simple IDE. Then the IDE will give you the XAML code to be used in your application.

WPF Advantages:

  1. Broad Integration: Prior to WPF, it was very difficult to use 3D, Video, Speech, and rich document viewing in addition to normal 2D Graphics and controls would have to learn several independent technologies. WPF covers all these with consisting programming model as well as tight integration when each type of media gets composited and rendered.
  2. Resolution Independence: WPF applications are device independent i.e., smart client applications. Like normal applications it wonít get decrease the size as the resolution gets increase. This is possible because WPF emphasis on vector graphics.
  3. Hardware Acceleration: WPF is built on top of Direct 3D, content in a WPF application whether 2D or 3D, Graphics or text is converted to 3D triangles, textures and other Direct 3D objects and then rendered by hardware. WPF applications can get the benefit of hardware acceleration for smoother graphics and all round better performance.
  4. Declerative Programming: WPF takes the declarative programming to the next level with the introduction of Extensible Application Markup Language(XAML), pronounced as Zammel.
  5. XAML is like HTML in web used for creating the interface, resulting graphical designers are empowered to contribute directly to the look and feel of applications.

  6. Rich Composition and Customization: WPF controls are extremely compostable.
  7. Eg: we can create combo box with animated buttons.

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