I’m on my way home now from attending a Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) course run by one of my colleagues, Pat Long. It’s a brand new course he has just written, and I was priviledged to be a guinea pig along with five of my other colleagues. If it works out, the plan is to put more folks on it from my colleagues in the technical team, and even offer it externally.
I first saw WPF at the 2003 PDC in Los Angeles, when we had various folks from Microsoft and even Adobe were wheeled out in the massive auditorium to showcase this new thing called XAML, which was a step to bridge the gap between designers and developers and code named Avalon.
Things have moved on somewhat, and other things haven’t. For one thing we developers still drop down to source code whenever we can, so I have a really good idea of the power of XAML. It is quite deceptive, I mean, its only xml isn’t it? And yet in our three day course we built up from the plain brush and control elements, had a play with xaml pad and Visual Studio Orcas. Then we started binding things together, then bound in xml and classes. Pow – in come animations with their storyboards and my brain attempted to leave.
Then a little introduction to Microsoft Expression Blend, which is a really funky tool – I mean, it fires up with a black background so it must be cool, right? It has panes all over the place and looks very designer oriented, I think it should run on a Mac to be the real thing. But on a serious note, if they pull it off then the designers will be able to do their layout and animation thing, and us devs will be able to support them with the heavy and not so heavy lifting in supporting c# classes and data providers.
I can thoroughly recommend a look, and with very little polishing the course I attended would be just the thing to get you into WPF. A good challenge, and check out Pat’s blog.
We ran the course from our Northleach office, which although remote and bereft of wifi or decent mobile coverage, was absolutely idyllic. Now I’m in the compact and bijou Birmingham Airport, waiting for my flight back to Edinburgh. At least I was, until the wifi conked out in the airport, so I saved the post and uploaded it from home.