Well over a year ago, we began work on the UI portion of a major project of our for a client in New York. One of the issues we needed to address was an infrastructure or framework for the UI of this application. Since the framework was to encompass many different applications (or modules) that would be devleoped over the coming years (and we wanted them to all look and feel the same), the CAB (Composite UI Application Block) from Microsoft's Patterns and Practices team seemed like a good choice.
However, when we first investigated the CAB, we fight it to be too complex and overkill for what we needed. What we decided to do instead was to take some of the ideas and concepts of the CAB and build a simpler version that more directly met our needs. This worked well, but in the time since then, certain things have changed. On one hand, our required and anticipated future needs grew greater and more complex. On the other hand, the resources and tools available for the CAB, such as white papers, samples, control vendor support and the Smart Client Software Factory, improved greatly. The combination of these factors caused us to take a renewed look at the CAB and to decide, together with our client, that we should migrate our home-grown GUI framework to the CAB framework. Using a standard framework and toolset from MS means that meeting future needs will be much easier since they will most likely already be supported by the CAB, instead of us having to first sit down and add it to our framework. In addition, getting any new developers up to speed so that they could develop for the framework will be much faster with an organically designed and well documented framework, as opposed to a barely documented proprietary framework. Since we had based much of our design on the design of the CAB, many of the required parts were "almost there", making the actual migration easier than it would have been otherwise
For an insider's look at this migration and a great roadmap on how to prepare for your first CAB project, see kim's post here.
The official, final release of the Visual Studio 2005 Service Pack 1 Update for Windows Vista is now available for download from here
. So if you are developing with VS 2005 on Vista, you should now have a more reasonable experience.