The future of WPF

Pete Brown, a WPF Program Manager at Microsoft, recently posted an interesting collection of facts and thoughts about the future of WPF. With all the hype that Silverlight has, and now HTML 5, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that WPF is still growing and evolving.  Granted, the platform hit maturity years ago, so the enhancements we are seeing now don’t have the same flash and appeal as a newer technology’s vNext features.  But, in my mind, that is a good thing.  Hype is just marketing in effect.  When I am developing an application I would rather have a stable, robust, mature technology at my disposal.

Long live WPF!

14 Responses to The future of WPF

  1. Andrew Preston says:

    Quite chilling in some ways but true. I couldn’t help but notice the mention of silverlight as the preferred starting point. Having worked hard with WPF I feel more should be done to concentrate this as the definitive desktop approach since as said provides the “extras” required by such applications. When I think of silverlight I can’t help to think why one would choose this over HTML 5 given the land ahead. WPF to me gives me the options MFC and Win32 only dreamt about – the ability to create more and be expressive for the feature rich fat client – MFC cannot achieve the same goals so easily. Silverlight & HTML 5 are heading for conflict because they share a space where features overlap. That sounds like trouble to me – time will tell.

  2. pingpong says:

    > Granted, the platform hit maturity years ago

    When exactly?

  3. Josh Smith says:

    I think WPF was “mature” as of 3.5 (perhaps sp1 was the masterstroke). The tooling is still not there yet, but imo cider in dev10 is much, much better.

  4. Oleg says:

    The problem is that it’s not mature platform.

    It still has a lot of issues that has to be addressed. The age itself does not make platform mature. Number of battles won makes.

    For now WPF has VS 2010 only in their list. It’s huge, but we don’t know really if it is true WPF or WPF with MS-backed magic.

    At least, Snoop works poorly on VS 2010.

  5. Manish says:

    There is a lot of hullabaloo about the future of WPF. Some say it is dying while others say it is already dead. I understand that as a technology it shall always remain, atleast in the present form. But there is a lot of work that still needs to be done by MSFT towards making it a better and more matured framework. Don’t you think that this work has been stopped or is given very low priority now?

  6. Daniel says:

    VS2010 is WPF with MS-based magic.
    We ran into a few bugs with WPF and found bug-reports on Connect that indicated they were fixed for VS2010 but “due to time constraints” couldn’t be fixed for WPF.

  7. Pete says:

    Not to sound snarky, but you all read my post that Josh linked to, right? There’s a *lot* more WPF inside Microsoft than just VS2010. You also presumably saw the features we’re working on for the next rev?

    Not much magic going on. IIRC, snoop has a hard time because the main window in VS2010 is a regular hwnd, hosting WPF content. This is actually something many ISVs have done for one reason or another.

    Email me pete DOT brown AT microsoft.com with the connect IDs/links and I’ll bring them up to the team. I’m not guaranteeing anything, just offering to bring attention to it.

    Pete Brown
    Developer Division Community Program Manager
    Microsoft

  8. Cornel says:

    What about what Evernote did in the last version?

    http://blog.evernote.com/2010/10/26/evernote-4-for-windows-is-here/

    The application was rebuilt from scratch using C++ after the first versions were developed using WPF.

    The reason?

    – blurry fonts
    – slow startup times
    – large memory footprint
    – poor support for certain graphics cards

    I would say that Microsoft concentrates the resources on Silverlight rather than on WPF.

  9. urza says:

    Josh,
    what do you think about this?

    Evernote dumps WPF and rewrites in C++

    … the blurry fonts, slow startup times, large memory footprint, and poor support for certain graphics cards were all issues that the technology behind 3.5 (Windows .net and WPF) was incapable of resolving. As a result, we ended up chasing down platform bugs rather than adding the great features our users wanted.

    So we decided to start over from scratch, with fast, native C++ that we knew we could rely on. As you’ll see, the results are amazing.

    …Evernote 4 starts five times faster, and uses half the memory [than WPF version].

  10. Adil Mughal says:

    Well I think one of the strong reason is because Microsoft is itself using WPF for all the Windows Application Development… so until or unless they change their way, WPF will live and grow🙂

  11. theludditedeveloper says:

    Looking at the complaints Evernote made regarding WPF and their own Evernote version 3.5 it would appear that the WPF dev team have taken care of the ‘blurry text’ as well as other issues.

    Could it be that the rewrite was done mainly because the Evernote team preferred C++ because that is what they are using for other platforms. Or was it just to justify the 9 months development time.

    Josh, in your opinion does WPF 4.0 cover the issues mentioned.

  12. Sree Vara says:

    Hi Josh,
    I am new to .net and WPF. I’ve started out with MVVM following this: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/magazine/dd419663.aspx

    I’m using DevExpress as a tool for widgets and noticed that switching between Tabs in a TabControl takes quite a lot of time. On Debug, i noticed that all the controls in the tab i am switching to are re-binding and re-validating all the elements in the control.

    Is there a workaround for this?

  13. Chris Nicol says:

    There’s a lot of WPF apps out there that don’t perform well and it’s bad for the WPF image, but the fact is, you can develop good, high performing and stable applications with WPF. No one blames the tools for the house that collapses, they blame the builder. This argument of WPF as a mature platform needs to focus more on the platform and not particular products that implement it.

    I would argue with Josh, that it was WPF 4 that was the first “mature” version of the platform, but again that depends on how you use the platform. For us we needed the new text rendering because of type of app we have, so 4 was a godsend.

  14. Peter Graf says:

    Hello Josh,
    Sorry for posting this here, I would have prefered to send mail to you privately, but cannot find your email address.
    I had some bad luck with the DRM of the digital copy of your book. Here is what happened.
    I downloaded and installed Adobe Digital Editions and
    then bought the book from lulu, it downloaded I could read it, all fine.
    Later the day I explored Adobe Digital Editions a little more and it nagged me to ‘authorise my PC’.
    I decided to go along and authorise.
    There was a warning about not being able to read stuff anymore, but I clicked ok before it dawned on me what that might mean.
    Now Adobe says the book was authorised for someone else and lulu says the download already happened for some else. I cannot read the book anymore.
    Any chance you can help me?
    Greetings, Peter

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