Why you Should Move to WPF

If you have not taken a look at WPF yet, you really should. WPF is a great desktop development platform. Granted all of the of the tools are not yet in place, but Microsoft is pouring millions of dollars into developing WPF tools. Windows Forms is now considered a legacy technology and will no longer be updated. These two reasons alone are enough to convince you that you should start taking a little more than a serious look at WPF.

WPF and XAML = A Great Combination

WPF and XAML are the way of the future for development. Remember back when you did classic ASP applications? Remember mixing code and HTML together? Then remember when ASP.NET came out and how much easier it was to have a declarative syntax for controls? The same thing holds true to WPF. Instead of the design tools writing code for each control (aka Windows Forms), you now have XAML to define each control. You reserve the code for writing what you want to do with a control. This is a much cleaner way to develop desktop applications. In addition, XAML makes it so much easier to do animation, and to create visually appealing applications compared to Windows Forms.

XAML and Silverlight

Another great benefit of learning WPF and XAML is many of the same concepts will apply to Silverlight development. Silverlight uses XAML just like WPF. Sure, it is a subset of the XAML we have in the desktop world, but it is still the same XAML. And, with the release of Silverlight 3 you can do XAML and Silverlight development and create out-of-browser applications!

Many Reasons For Moving to WPF

There are many more reasons to take a good look at WPF as your desktop development platform. The following are some of the things I particularly like about WPF:

  • Ability to style or theme your applications without recompiling code
  • Can animate controls with little or no code
  • Separate business logic from UI code easier than Windows Forms
  • Easily create applications that take advantage of different screen resolutions
  • Able to add powerful 3D graphics without 3rd party tools
  • The data binding features are more powerful than Windows Forms
  • A designer can do most of the UI work, the developer can focus on the backend code
  • Much more...

Yes, there are lots of reasons why WPF just makes sense. I hope you will find your way to WPF in the near future. As always, if you need a helping hand, PDSA will always be here to help.

Learn WPF from PDSA

PDSA, Inc. offers a workshop for learning WPF. Please contact me at PSheriff@pdsa.com for more information on having us bring this workshop to you and your team. We can offer this workshop in a hands-on format at your location, or we can present it as a webcast over the Internet.

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  • Reasons for Staying put:

    Microsoft will not have truly dogfooded this technology until VS2010 is released.

    LOB apps are about funtionality - not looking pretty.
    Anybody use the Round Forms that Windows forms brought to the table?

    Proven 3rd party libraries and controls.

    Simple enough to seperate Business concerns from UI concerns in existing Windows Forms.

    WPF apps that look like Windows Forms Apps are slower on underpowered machines that typically exist in the corporate environment.

    Watch Billy Hollis's videos on DNRTV in regards to WPF - If that doesn't scare you away, I don't know what will. Considerable amount of time that used to be about providing functionality gets consumed futtering around with silly UI bling.

    Any more?

  • Great comments about staying put. I agree with all of them, except that we can't stop change. At some point we need to move to WPF. I think everyone will want to start taking a good look at WPF now to prepare for the future.

  • I kind of agree with Dave to an extent and the author to an extend.

    If I were a desktop guy (I am a web guy), I would continue to use WinForm while playing around with and slowly introducing WPF into my company's code base. I do believe WPF is the future, soon most computers will be able to easily support it and WPF will become the de facto standard for desktops. However, WinForm is now and a lot of I.T is about now; not tomorrow.

    What throws me off though is that I have heard WinForm is here to stay and Microsoft will continue to support it for a long time. I have also heard people imply that Microsoft will support it for now but probably deprecate it by .NET 5.0 or 6.0.

  • zoldello,

    Well said! IT is about now and not so much tomorrow. But we all realize we need to be looking at tomorrow and that is why we should be looking at WPF.

    WinForms will be around, Microsoft will continue to support is just like they did VB 6.0 for a long time to come. But it will be deprecated. Plus no new updates will be made to WinForms. At least that is their party line right now, subject to change of course! :)

  • Pete, excellent comment. That is a problem with no default themes. I have found that there are many articles and even some third-party vendors that do offer some basic themes that will at least look better than nothing.

  • Great insights and I'm wondering if 8 months later anyone feels differently. We are exploring converting our VB 6 apps (I know, "gasp", VB 6) with WPF. We've created all our newer apps in VB.NET over the last couple of years but the core ones are still in VB 6.

  • Jen,

    WPF is even more relevant now that VS.NET 2010 has shipped. The designer is much better, there are more 3rd party controls, there are more themes available, more books for learning. I myself have put out over 7 hours of training on WPF at www.pdsa.com/videos.

    We have two projects going on right now where we are helping clients migrate from VB6 apps to WPF. So, you are not alone.


  • I can't believe after all these years we've reached the best, most rich WYSIWYG designers for UI, and now they want us to go back to building forms by typing XML. What a load of cr?p.

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