WPF scalability wishes / MIX07

.NET, Technical stuff, WPF
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I received today the confirmation to my registration for MIX07 in Las Vegas. I am very excited to go and attend this event again. Last year’s MIX06 has been a defining event for me, followed by intensive work to introduce WPF into my firm. So far this activity was a success, and I am very excited to see the “real” development activities starting (as oppposed to prototyping, which we did most of last year).
This year’s MIX07’s major technology is probably going to be WPF/E. While we don’t plan to use this for our web application (rather XBAPs), I am hoping that some of the WPF/E features will slowly (well, not too slowly) make it into XBAPs too. For example, wouldn’t it be nice to have an XBAP able to communicate with the web browser DOM and with the script engine? Of course, multi-platform support would be excellent too (XBAPs are only supported on IE on Windows XP, 2003 server and Vista).
Why not offer the following hierarchy (Number 1 has the most impact on the target system, number 4 has the least):
  1. Standalone WPF application installed with MSI for usage without any restriction.
  2. Standalone WPF application installed with ClickOnce for usage without restriction (but with ClickOnce limitations, i.e. installation per-user, no registry changes, etc…).
  3. XBAP for full .NET support (including WPF 3D, whole .NET framework support, etc…). This version would run in the sandbox, of course, but with less limitations than today).
  4. WPF/E for limited .NET support but maximum flexibility (including perfect integration in existing web pages).
By allowing an XBAP to communicate with the JavaScript engine, it would enable IFRAME-hosted XBAPs to “talk” to the rest of the “hosting” page!
This hierarchy would have the advantage of offering seamless scalability to the developer. Today, XBAPs don’t really fit with the rest of the offering. On one hand, the sandbox restrictions put XBAPs too far from the standalone applications. On the other hand, the lack of integration with the web browser’s engines and the lack of multi-platform support make that XBAPs cannot really be qualified as web applications. I think that my proposal would let XBAPs fit better in the whole WPF landscape, and would offer a huge added value to software developers.
Anyway, I am sure that MIX07 is going to be very exciting and I can’t wait to be back in Vegas! See you there?

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