At Gray Hill Solutions, we've been building software using Microsoft's new Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) since early last fall.
We've watched it grow into something pretty special. And no one was more surprised than we are.
When fully mature, the goal of WPF is nothing short of fully separating the graphic design and user interaction of software from the gritty code. It's still not quite there, but it's getting closer all the time.
The real teaser for WPF was something previously called WPF/E (WPF Everywhere). If everything goes write, you can theoretically create .NET components that run on a server and feed WPF UI elements as stand alone objects or in a browser.
Now this is called Silverlight. It has several, "Wow that's amazings" attached to it. One of the biggest being:
Silverlight is both client- and server-agnostic. There's no difference between the Macintosh and PC runtimes; you don't need any Microsoft software on the server if you don't want to - you can deliver a great Silverlight experience from an Apache / Linux server to a Mac OS 10.4 client.
Here's the $25,000 promise:
Silverlight is almost 100% upward compatible with WPF. Animation, 2D vector graphics, media, text - they're all present in Silverlight and the concepts you've learnt in WPF carry forward (although Silverlight is a subset - it doesn't support WPF features such as 3D, data binding or templates).
At the end of this year, we'll be able to unveil the new secret desktop-and-web application we are creating with WPF and, hopefully, Silverlight. If it works as announced, Silverlight will likely save our project well over $500,000.
If it doesn't, expect heavy ranting. :-)
We are also starting development of a new web-only application that may see beta as early as late July. This may also use Silverlight, we're still debating.
But watch the space here for some WPF and Silverlight real world experience posts.
Blogged at Gray Hill Harbor Offices in Seattle using Windows Live Writer