Microsoft releases WPF/E, its 'Flash killer'

Brian Eastwood
Microsoft has rolled out a CTP (Community Technical Preview) version of Windows Presentation Foundation Everywhere. Abbreviated WPF/E, this tool is a subset of Windows Presentation Foundation that, in the words of WPF/E Program Manager Michael Harsh, "augments the set of functionality provided by HTML to provide media, animation and vector graphics with the same programming model that the HTML DOM exposes."

The following WPF/E downloads are available.

As the above list shows, WPF/E is intended to be both browser- and platform-agnostic. The CTP supports Windows and Mac systems as well as IE, Firefox and Safari, and additional OS support is coming, Scott Guthrie wrote near the end of his WPF/E blog post. Additional details about what WPF/E can and cannot do at this point is available on Shawn Wildermuth's blog.

Noting the product is in its first iteration, Harsh said the WPF/E group plans to add other WPF features to future versions of WPF/E. "Very important things like text input, layout, resources, data binding and of course, CLR integration are all WPF features that our team is scoping for integration with WFP/E," he wrote.

A few WPF/E tutorials and samples have already emerged on the Web, including the following:

In addition, Microsoft has set up on its MSDN site three WPF/E forums and a WPF/E Developer Center.

Much of the buzz surrounding WPF/E is that it is Microsoft's answer to Adobe's Flash. Bloggers such as Jesse Ezell and Tunji Afonja seem to think Flash is in trouble.

Dax Pandhi, on the other hand, has argued that, at the end of the day, Flash and WPF/E will co-exist, while Ryan Stewart thinks WPF/E is not trying to compete with Flash.

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