What's keeping me busy lately? Part 1: WPF

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WPF is very exciting to me because I am a hardcore software developer, not a graphics designer, and yet the new framework allows me to create really cool effects easily. With just a few lines of XAML code, you can create 3D animations with integrated multimedia. Now, I can imagine that it will be exciting for a designer as well, because you can do all that without writing a single line of C# code! So basically, this is the convergence of two worlds, software and graphics.
Another exciting feature of WPF is that it runs in the browser. Well, for the moment, it runs on IE only (yet already on IE6) and will be fully integrated in IE7. OK, for the moment you'll have no interaction with the webpage, so it will pretty much run in its own world... So what's the advantage to run a XBAP (XAML browser application) as opposed to a full blown Windows app? I spent quite some time researching and thinking about it, and I guess that the only advantage, really, is that you won't need to install it, but simply navigate to the XBAP page and execute it. However, with ClickOnce deployment, installing an application is getting really easier. Additionally the XBAP will run in a sandbox, according to strict security rules, so that won't be quite limiting. Maybe that's why they're working on WPF/E, which will integrate with JavaScript and which makes more sense to run in the browser.
The thing I am really waiting for is the release of the first CTP of WPF/E. The /E stands for "everywhere". The main idea is to have WPF running on other platforms than Windows and IE. Basically, Microsoft wants to support a subset of WPF on Firefox, Safari, Opera and eventually Linux (though according to Mike Harsh, Microsoft won't develop the Linux version themselves).
So, to cut a long story short, what I am thinking of in the moment is to use WPF/E to create special graphical effects into a HTML webpage, and using Atlas for communication. How exciting is that? You'll have the perfect combination of JavaScript for versatility and mobility, and of .NET for power. Well, there are a lot of uncertainties in the project for the moment, but we're working on that pretty extensively. I'll probably post more about that in the future as we gather more information.
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