XAML Learning Guide: Development Tools

This section of the XAML Learning Guide links to file converters, code editors and other XAML development tools.


   XAML Quick Start
   XAML Articles and blog entries
   Microsoft's XAML Resources
   XAML Book Excerpts and Webcasts
   XAML Development Tools
   XAML Forums and Community

XAML Development Tools

XAMLPad is a Windows SDK that serves as a visual editor for XAML code. It offers some basic text-editing commands, a visual tree for viewing the property values of content, and an auto parse and refresh mode.

A few .NET programmers have opted to create their own free XAML writing tools. Others have written programs that convert various file formats popular with graphic designers into XAML code. And there are some commercial products for XAML development as well. If there are any tools, or products, missing form this list, let us know and we will gladly add them.

*** We begin with some XAML editing tools.

XAMLPadX (Lester Lobo)
This extension of the XAMLPad, currently in v2, offers automatically generated closing tags, an automatic indent useful when writing XAML code, line numbers in the editing box and "a snazzy splash screen."

MyXAML (Marc Clifton)
This open-source tool lets developers bring XAML into .NET 1.1, .NET 2.0 and ASP.NET applications. It is able to support third-party controls, and security is offered through encryption and digital signing.

XamlHack (Sheva's TechSpace)
This XAML authoring tool includes a text editor based on the open source SharpDeveloper, property and resource explorers (the latter of which assists in the reverse engineering of BAML code), and what the author describes as a "hilarious error warning message."

XAML Cruncher (Charles Petzold)
With this Notepad-like tool, developers can type XAML code and see what the resulting object looks like. Since Visual Studio 2005 lacks a WYSIWYG interface for XAML development, this tool fills a noticeable void.

*** Next up are tools that will convert files from a variety of formats to XAML files.

Adobe Illustrator to XAML Export (Michael Swanson)
This plug-in lets Adobe Illustrator vCS or vCS2 export files as XAML. A tutorial video hosted by Swanson is also available.

Adobe Flash to XAML Export (Michael Swanson)
This managed code application converts the SWF Adobe/Macromedia Flash file format into XAML. A tutorial screencast and an in-depth Channel 9 interview with Swanson are also available.

Fireworks to XAML Exporter (Infragistics)
As its name implies, this free download converts files from the Adobe Fireworks file format into XAML.

ViewerSvg: SVG to XAML converter (Andrej Benedik)
This application uses a class library called Ab2d.ReaderSvg to convert SVG files into XAML files.

XAML/HTML Converter (Microsoft)
This download will convert XAML files to HTML files, and vice versa.

XAML Export Script for Blender (Daniel Lehenbauer)
Blender is a popular open-source tool for 3D modeling, animation and rendering. This script exports Blender data into XAML.

*** The next three tools are built for two specific tasks, creating workflows and submitting data via RSS feeds, which can be done using XAML.

Bloghorn: A Blog Reader Built in XAML (Joe Marini)
This application demonstrates the ability to connect XAML to data sources (in this case, XML feeds), bind UI elements to that data and have those elements respond to and display changes in that back-end data.

Templates for Windows Workflow XAML activation projects (Matt Milner)
This PluralSight blogger, frustrated that Windows Workflow Foundation forces developers to compile XAML into the .NET assembly, has created some downloadable project templates that create pure XAML workflows that are copied into the build directory.

WFPad: Viewing/Editing Workflows in XML (Mark Schmidt)
This download, in essence, is a XOMLPad for Windows Workflow Foundation (XOML being the Extensible Object Markup Language). "You can use the designer and hit the down arrow for synchronization to instantly view the XOML for that workflow," Schmidt writes.

*** The final three listings in this section are commercial tools.

XAML Designer creates UI elements for WPF (Mobiform)
Aurora XAML Designer is a UI and graphics design application that generates the markup code used by Windows Presentation Foundation.

Convert Flash files to XAML with Harmony (Electric Rain)
Electric Rain's Harmony will convert simple Flash SWF files to XAML files for use in Silverlight and Windows Presentation Foundation.

ZAM 3D (Electric Rain)
This product provides a platform for developing 3D UI elements for Windows Vista applications. Within this platform one finds 3DS to XAML and DXF to XAML file converters.

*** Go on to the final section of the XAML Learning Guide: XAML Forums and Community

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