TechEd: Getting the most out of Windows Forms and Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF)

I had a good time today during my session on Getting the Most out of WinForms and WPF… The session was packed out even though it was the last session of the conference! That is certainly a sign that folks are hungry for this sort of information. Attached is the slide deck.

We talked about the focus for WinForms and WPF is very different. WinForms is focused on the typical line of business application, a forms over data scenario and WPF is focused on differentiated client experiences where compelling graphical richness is important [demo]. Of course many apps don't cleanly fall into these categories… For example an app might be mostly about forms over data but also need to include a graphically rich interactive chart. For this scenario we over great support for hosting WPF controls in WinForms and vice-versa.

I also demoed a few Orcas features just to show folks where we are going with this stuff.

  • Design time support for WinForms hosting WPF

  • Offline support (thanks to Steve who helped out)

  • A new component of the framework that enables client applications to take advantage of the ASP.NET AppServices (Authentication, Profiles, Role management)

  • New clickonce enhancements including support for other browsers such as firefox…

If you made, thanks for coming!


PS- Special thanks to the guys back in Redmond (Saurab, Scott and co) that worked extra hours to enable me to show off the great new Orcas era work we are doing

DEV363_Smart Client Getting the most out of Windows Forms and Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF)-ToPost.pptx

Comments (6)
  1. Jonathan Allen says:

    That seemed like a lot of code for just some fancy graphics. Unless the tool sets are really, really good, I don’t see using WPF for anything besides games.

  2. Jim Clark says:

    We have a .NET 1.0 WinForms app and are currently working on our next generation targeting .NET 3.0.  I get the sense that it would be a mistake to stick with WinForms BUT I would consider our app to be a "forms over data scenario".

    So I guess my question is why would one use WinForms instead of WPF?  Would the same app in WPF be heavier?  Slower?  More difficult to develop/maintain?

  3. BradA says:

    First, I have to say that I have worked very directly with  both WinForms and WPF and I love them both… they are both fabulous at their areas, so there is no technology bashing here…  Jim, for your Forms-Over-Data scenario, I would suggest using WinForms even if you are starting today. The primary reason is developer productivity on WinForms is much higher for these types of applications.  The rich set of controls, the industry leading tools support, etc.    

    I’d love to hear other thoughts… are other folks in this position?  What did you chose and why?

  4. On the way back from a week of vacation in Europe after Teched Barcelona I finished Rainbows End . In

  5. Jim Clark says:

    Thank you for your input Brad.  I haven’t delved too deeply into WPF but it seems to emphasize graphical richness (especially images and video) more than is necessary for a typcial line of business application.  It’s nice to hear a clear statement from someone who is quite familar with both technologies.

  6. Alexander Jarczyk says:

    I have successfully used MS Interop Forms Toolkit to bridge between vb6 and vb.net2 forms with .net2 dlls.

    What about bridging vb6 and vb.net3 (WPF XAML) forms? The difficulty for me is that I have no idea how to correctly embedd a window1.xaml into a .net2-dll. I mean: only a dll can be used through the interop forms toolkit, on the other hand wpf/xaml windows can only be written as app.exe so far, am I correct?

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