Windows 7 fronts wider growth trend for WPF

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Windows 7 fronts wider growth trend for WPF

Windows 7 may be the tip of the iceberg for Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) adoption in the enterprise as both Microsoft and ISV platforms start to bed it down within their applications.

Originally shipped with Vista, WPF – which is also the code base for Silverlight - could be coming to a desktop near you as enterprise application developers look for ways to enable richer user experiences in their software.

Already, it has been reported by blogger Long Zheng that several regular Windows features such as paint, calculator and Wordpad will be ‘WPF-ised’ in Windows 7.

According to Microsoft’s global director of Windows evangelism, Tim Sneath, Visual Studio 2010 will also feature a number of components developed in WPF – and other developers such as CAD giant Autodesk are following Microsoft’s lead.

“It’s still a young technology in some ways – we only shipped WPF with Vista, and it takes time for technology [like this] to be adopted,” Sneath told iTnews.

“We’re definitely seeing a lot of other companies building with it and betting on it. AutoCAD, for example, has 10 million licenses worldwide, so adoption from those guys is significant.”

The ‘lightweight version of WPF’, Silverlight, will also form a key part of the upcoming Office 14 online suite. The suite will include for the first time cut-down online versions of core applications like Word, Excel and OneNote.

“We’re using Silverlight heavily in building out those web versions,” said Sneath.

“For example, to build a rich text rendering experience in Word, the zoom-in and zoom-out functionality is all being built in Silverlight.”

Sneath claimed that a lot of WPF applications in the enterprise are being developed in-house.

“There’s a lot behind the firewall that we can’t directly see,” said Sneath.

“At some level it is being used in by development teams in-house, they know they’re getting value out of it.”

Sneath also took the opportunity to reinforce the fact that both WPF and Silverlight remain part of the software giant’s strategy moving forward.

The move followed earlier speculation that Microsoft might look to phase one out, or promote one over the other.

“There’s a presumption that Microsoft must have a favourite child,” said Sneath.

“They think there must be one we’re betting on and the other playing second fiddle, but it couldn’t be further from the truth.

“The reality is we don’t see it as an either/or choice – we see huge value in both.

“There are solutions that have been optimised for each of those platforms,” he said.
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