I first introduced my family to Windows MCE back in 2004 – and quite frankly, the family virtually took a slegde hammer to the box. My selected hardware vendor sucked. It took pretty much a year, the release of MCE 2005, 3 machines from the manufacturer and a lot of my time before I had something “ok”. By this point it had been relegated to the den and was now offically my daughters Sims 2 box.
However this Feb I got myself an Evesham Ebox 2. By no means is it perfect – but it passed the family test. They consider it the most user friendly pc application they have ever used, they happily (after 2 months of side by side) allowed me to remove the DVD player, video recorder, freeview box and now all are pretty much power users of MCE.
What has this got to do with WPF? Well – as I sit there each eve watching the MCE user interface I realise a) just how good it is b) just how sucky every user interface I have build is in comparison and c) just how flipping hard it would be to write it in .NET WinForms – impossible would be another way of saying that. It would without doubt require me to look at GDI+ or DirectX to be able to match it.
However, WPF can create everything from a grey screen application to …. an MCE type User Interface. Therefore it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise to find out that MCE in Windows Vista supports extension with…… WPF.
Media Center for Windows Vista now has three machanisms to add functionality:
- Media Center Add In
- Hosted HTML Applications
- Hosted WinFX XAML Browser Applications (XBAP) – cool!