Adobe Illustrator to Avalon/XAML Export Plug-In

In response to my XAML By Hand? post awhile back, I became curious about what it would take to export Avalon-friendly XAML from a tool like Adobe® Illustrator®. So, I downloaded the publicly available Illustrator SDK, and I’ve been spending some spare time in the evenings working on a plug-in.

Well, the plug-in is far enough along at this point to be relatively useful, so I’m releasing it to the public as a free download. The current version works with Adobe Illustrator CS and CS2 running on Windows. Note that this plug-in is not endorsed, warranted, or supported by Microsoft. It was created by me after hours, so use it at your own risk.

For most of the common scenarios, I think you’ll find that the plug-in works very well. However, there are limitations, and you can see some of them illustrated on the Eye Candy page.

Version 0.11 of the plug-in exports XAML that is compatible with Avalon Beta 1 RC, so you should be able to start producing some pretty cool stuff right away. If you do create something that others should see, please let me know, and upload it to the Channel 9 Sandbox.

Speaking of Channel 9, Robert Scoble talked to me about the development of the plug-in, and if you have 25 minutes to spare, you can watch the complete video interview. We talk about raster/vector artwork, how Avalon enables smooth workflow between a graphic designer and an application developer, and I show some demos of the exporter in action.

I’d certainly be very interested in any feedback, comments, or questions you may have.


Comments (39)
  1. I’ve been anxiously waiting for Mike to unveil this, and today he has!  Check it out at…

  2. Kris says:

    Absolutely amazing. I think you should have done a lot of unmanaged code in the past to have made use of the Illustrator’s SDK so well. Also I am guessing that their API is probably plain C++ API without the quirks normal COM libraries tend to have. Also would it be possible to use this to design a nice GUI interface in Illustrator and then generate XAML and add Buttons, Menus and EventHandlers to provide the normal UI functionality. If so could you show off a sample like so please?

  3. Rob Cannon says:

    Any chance of posting the converted XAML for your eye-candy page?

  4. mswanson says:

    Kris: Thanks. It’s certainly possible to create a beautiful user interface in Illustrator and then "activate" it with some additional code as you describe. I don’t have a sample like this, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we see one pretty soon. 🙂

    Rob: Good idea. I’ll have to get permission to do this, but I’ll certainly check.

  5. Keeron says:

    Wicked!! (As robert said – i think – in the interview).

    Any chance of publicly releasing the source code? There’s a good possibility of some avalon/xaml hungry developers jumping in and filling the holes in the exporter. I understand its probably in real early stages, but that’s exactly the reason to get more input (plus it’d be cool to see how you did it).

    – Keeron

    PS: A possibility that the Avalon release might contain plugins such as this? Now that would be a killer feature!

  6. jjones says:

    I have used this plugin the last few weeks, there were a few shapes in my design mockup that I could not figure out how to reproduce with hand coded XAML, this plugin worked great to export those odd shapes out of Illustrator and then style in code. Great job on this, it has been very useful…

  7. Jurgen already announced it: the Longhorn beta program is open for nominations. Drop him a mail if you’re…

  8. Woody says:

    Is this a "windows only" plugin, or will it run on the mac version of Illustrator?

  9. Michael Swanson created a really cool plugin what exports an Adobe Illustrator drawing to Avalon XAML….

  10. The Avalon deployment story

    Avalon Express Applications vs. Avalon Applications

    Deploying Avalon…

  11. mswanson says:

    Woody: The current version only runs on the Windows version, not Mac. Sorry about that, but my Mac development experience is pretty much non-existent. 🙁

  12. Kam VedBrat says:

    Michael Swanson wrote a very cool XAML exporter for Adobe Illustrator, so you can create XAML art work…

  13. Great! I tried it out on some rather complex AI documents, and it already does a very good job at converting over 95% of all elements correctly – that’s incredible for the short development time. Liked it so much that I linked to it from my introductory Avalon article on CodeGuru.

  14. I don’t post much on graphics stuff, but this is pretty cool, IMO:

    In response to my XAML By Hand?…

  15. mswanson says:

    For those that are curious (I’ve received a couple e-mails already this morning), yes, the XAML exported by the current plug-in will work just fine with today’s final WinFX Beta 1 release.

  16. While looking around in different blogs I read that Michael Swanson have been doing a plug-in to Adobe…

  17. I feel like I’m breaking some blog rule by covering two different topics in the same post, but both topics…

  18. I’m still awake and haven’t got some sleep yet. Aside from some things,

    I indulged myself playing around…

  19. John says:

    Hi, guy

    I’m learning the Illustrator SDK. I want to develop a program that can get the data from Database and put each row of data into a Illustrator file. How can I do firstly? I cannot get some hints from the docs from Adobe Website.

    My email:

    Waiting for your reply…  

  20. General says: has compiled a list of know applications that you can use to create xaml. This will be…

  21. General says: has compiled a list of know applications that you can use to create xaml. This will be…

  22. XAML Export funziona anche su Illustrator CS3

  23. twotimes says:

    still have problems with align in page, not supporting blur, drop shadows.

  24. simone says:

    Has there been some further development on the tool?

  25. Dubai Web Design, Development says:

    Great. That will make my work east and i could design vector base designs and model easily.I will try this plug-In soon.

  26. Just over three years ago, in July, 2005, I released the first version of my Adobe Illustrator to Avalon/XAML

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