The WPF/XAML Conversion Tool Contest

First, a sincere thank you to everyone who sent me daily e-mail reminders of the three Dell XPS M1710 laptops that we'll be awarding as contest prizes. Your wait has finally paid off!

Announcing...the official start of the WPF Conversion Contest, a contest that challenges you to build a freely-available tool that converts from an existing 2D or 3D graphics format to WPF/XAML. You'll have until Friday, October 27th, 2006 to build and submit your application for consideration. Each of three winners will receive a decked-out Dell XPS M1710 laptop. Suh-wheeeeet!

We're looking for tools that work with the following graphic file formats: Flash® (.SWF), Photoshop® (.PSD), Scalable Vector Graphics (.SVG), 3ds Max® (.3DS, .MAX), AutoCAD® (.DXF), DirectX® (.X), and Wavefront® (.OBJ). If you're wondering, these formats were selected based on feedback from many of our WPF early adopters.

Each of these formats has its own unique challenges. For example, at a high level, Flash files can contain shape definitions, animation, and code. I've already done some early experimentation with Flash files, and I've documented some of my thoughts in Converting Flash Shapes to WPF. Unfortunately, I haven't had the time to dig into converting animation, and I've not even looked at what it would take to get ActionScript code over to C# or Visual Basic .NET. Think you can do it?

You'll have to be creative with some of these solutions. For example, what does it mean to convert layered bitmap files from Photoshop (.PSD)? Does it make the most sense to flatten the layers and export a single bitmap? Or is it better to retain the individual layers in WPF? Or maybe it's best exposed as an option for the user. And how does the user convert a file (or frankly, a batch of files)? Do they drag files onto a GUI form to launch the conversion? Or do they need to construct a command-line? It's all up to you.

You can find documentation and tips for most of these file formats by searching the internet. There are even some books like the Encyclopedia of Graphics File Formats to help get you going.

I can't wait to see what you guys come up with. If you like to play with graphic file formats, this should be a very fun and challenging contest.

Good luck!

Comments (21)

  1. Morten says:

    What a shame those are the only formats. I’m working on a neat tool for converting mapdata (in alomst any of the daily used data-formats) into XAML-based interactive maps. (

  2. Comrade Ghorkov says:

    If anyone’s interested, I found the Adobe Photoshop file-format specification, it’s rather hard to find since Adobe pulled it from their FTP site:

  3. Michael Swanson , a WPF Technical Evangelist, announced on his blog the start of the WPF Conversion contest

  4. Joe says:


    What about coming up with a generic GUI that uses a specific interface that allows people to plugin these file converters. This way the converters could be used by other tools – maybe even Sparkle etc.


  5. mswanson says:

    Joe…great idea. If someone in the developer community wants to create something like this or coordinate a group on CodePlex, I’d be more than happy to point people there.

  6. The Developer and Platform Evangelist folks in Microsoft is running a contest to see who can build the…

  7. Michael Swanson posted the contest today: If you create and submit a file converter to XAML, you…

  8. Head on over to Michael Swanson’s blog to check out the new contest:

    …build a freely-available tool…

  9. Announcing…theofficial start of theWPF Conversion Contest, a contest that challenges you to build a

  10. gumtoo says:

    ( i duplicate here the post i did on wpf msdn forum )

    this is a great idea !

    comming from a 3ds background i would recommend to change the .max format in the list by the new .fbx format autodesk is promoting right now.

    it is, afaik an answer to share files betwen max and maya and other platforms.

    the .max files are some complex binary format that i never seen any conversion tool targeting.

    the new xna game studio seems to understand this format, may be a good start to make a bridge with this new baby.


  11. Michael,

    Indeed, FBX is a widely used, cross platform file format that would allow WPF to work with any 3d format.  My plug-in goes from Maya to XAML right now and will soon go from FBX to XAML if I have the time.

    Even if the FBX format is not in the contest outline, I’m still creating this plug-in.  Good luck everyone!

  12. Richard Tuin says:

    This contest is awesome!
    Definitely gonna give it a try, is there some kind of subscription form Michael?


  13. mswanson says:

    Richard…not sure why I didn’t notice your comment earlier, but you can find the submission details at the bottom of the contest page:

    This might interest some of you:

  14. Maurizio Sciglio says:

    Hi Michael,

    Would a converter from Collada to XAML be valid?

    There are free Collada importers/exporters available for all the major 3D applications so I guess that such a converter might be really useful.

  15. When it rains, it pours. If you’re following along, you’ll remember that the WPF/XAML Conversion Tool

  16. Hi Michael, take a look here:

    Sorry for Italian language, but the converter doesn’t need explanation…


  17. 昨天参加微软的一个小技术新一代设计工具 – Microsoft Expression 看到很多相关的工具.在网上一搜,找到下面这些东东,和大家分享一下.

  18. Bootstrap Bill says:

    Are there any utilities that will convert from Sketchup to XAML?

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