Getting to Know Avalon – A Guided Tour of the SDK

For those of you who are starting to experiment with Avalon for the first time as a result of the recent Community Technology Preview release, I thought it would be helpful to put together a quick guided tour of the SDK reference documentation and overviews to give you some sense of the major feature areas and technologies worthy of further investigation. Unfortunately, the online WinFX SDK is still under construction and as a result the contents list doesn't provide a hugely intuitive overview of where to start looking. This guided tour is based on an original list put together by Pablo Fernicola and will help you get to know Avalon better. My suggestion is that you use the links below as launch points for your own exploration: follow a trail to understand an area, then come back to this entry and move on to the next section.

  1. Start off by reading the introduction of the November CTP article to understand the vision and goals of Avalon.
  2. The Avalon layout engine controls the positioning and layout of Avalon controls. Find out more about how panel components influence this, and understand the difference between different layout types such as dock, flow, stack, grid and canvas.
  3. Get to know the Avalon controls from Button to VerticalScrollBar. Then learn how you can use control styling to entirely change the look and feel of a control without modifying its behaviour.
  4. The powerful data binding services in Avalon make it much easier to hook up control properties to underlying data sources, whether an in-memory array or a bound data set.
  5. Avalon doesn't just limit you to controls: it includes rich 2D vector drawing capabilities, including brushes, shapes, transformations, effects, and animations.
  6. You can also create and manipulate 3D vector objects on a display surface, with the added benefit of custom camera views and lighting effects.
  7. Avalon isn't just about screen rendering. Read this article to find out about the document services for providing fixed- or adaptive-flow layout, and find out about the Avalon document container.
  8. One of the focal areas for Avalon is powerful typography and rich screen reading experiences. Avalon has built-in support for ligatures, kerning, composite fonts, font embedding, subpixel character placement and text animation.

Hope you find this useful in your Avalon explorations!

Comments (2)
  1. Anonymous says:

    This databinding scheme is friggin’ great!!!! One of my friends and I used to develop software that used XML to bind to controls on a page hosted by a binary behavior. We had to keep hidden input tags to bind the visible control to and then update the hidden value to post the changes…so this ability to do two-way binding has got me all fired up. Very slick!!!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Two other interesting posts about Avalon:

    A guided tour

    Embedding/Reading resources

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