WPF Here, There and Everywhere (or An Introduction to WPF/E)

There's been some noise recently about WPF Everywhere (or WPF/E), a technology which was announced at PDC05 and Joe Stegman from Microsoft demonstrated at MIX06.  Here I'm going to collect together a few web resources about this technology.

So what is it?  According to Mike Harsh's Blog:

It is a cross-platform, cross-browser web technology that supports a subset of WPF XAML.  WPF/E also has a friction-free install model and the download size we’re targeting is very small.  WPF/E supports programmability through javascript for tight browser integration.  The WPF/E package also contains a small, cross platform subset of the CLR and .NET Framework that can run C# or VB.NET code.

So that sounds interesting, but what can you do with it?  These screenshots are also taken from Mike Harsh's blog:

Here's a transparent vector image with a clock that animates on top of the background.  And it's being displayed in Firefox.

And to show the flexibility of a markup-based UI, here's a simple Notepad type application.  In a browser.  The user can enter some XAML and the WPF/E browser plugin is set to display this via JavaScript.

So this is very interesting, but how simple is it to develop and what can you do with it? Tim Anderson has published a great article which gets into some of the nuts and bolts of developing with WPF/E and outlines some of the things you can and can't do with it.

Interestingly, Microsoft seem to be having a small change of philosophy, as indicated by the "E" in WPF/E.  Specifically, this technology will not be limited to Internet Explorer or the latest incarnation of Windows and will not even be limited to Microsoft operating systems!  Microsoft will be providing a browser plugin which is cross-platform.  They are specifically targetting IE, Safari and Firefox running on Windows 2000, Windows 2003, Windows XP and Windows Vista, as well as Firefox and Safari running Mac OS X.  Apparently they are aiming for a download size of 2MB, so it shouldn't even be too onerous for most users to install.

Of course there is no official release date, but Joe Stegman posted a blog entry on 12 Nov 06 in which he said a CTP will be available "soon".

So a roundup of other useful links:

UPDATE: WPF/E is now better known as Silverlight.  An unusual example of Microsoft changing from a clunky codename to a cool product name!

November 28 2006
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