What’s New in WPF 3.5? Here’s Fifteen Cool Features…


A lot of WPF developers know that Visual Studio 2008 will include much better baked-in support for WPF – the “Cider” team have delivered a WPF forms designer, high-quality XAML Intellisense built on top of a XAML language service rather than an XSD, a full set of project templates and integration between WinForms and WPF design-time views. But not so many people are aware of the enhancements we’re making behind the scenes to the core WPF runtime, both in terms of polishing off a few rough edges and adding a small number of targeted features that will unblock a few key scenarios.

I thought I’d steal liberally from a presentation the famous Kevin Moore (of WPF Bag’o’Tricks fame) delivered at an internal field conference this week, and give you a quick run-down of some of the new capabilities you’ll find in this updated release. Make sure you download a copy of Visual Studio 2008 Beta 2 and check out both the design-time improvements and the enhanced platform features.

Here’s a non-exhaustive list of improvements:

  • Performance
    • Fixed animation glitching issues.
    • Layered windows are now hardware accelerated.
    • Many other fixes to improve cold start, data binding, etc.
  • Data Binding
    • Support for XLINQ binding.
    • Improved data validation on binding (ValidatesOnDataErrors and ValidatesOnExceptions binding properties).
    • Much better debugging (PresentationTraceSources.TraceLevel can be set on bindings or providers).
  • Graphics and Text
    • UIElement3D (enables interactive 2D content on 3D surfaces).
    • Improved support for IMEs (input method editors).
    • Indic script support.
    • TextBox now supports a limited undo history.
    • RichTextBox now fully supports inline elements (e.g. a Button).
  • XBAPs
    • Introduced support for the Firefox browser.
    • WCF now operates in partial-trust mode.
    • Can now read/write HTTP cookies.
  • App Model
    • System.AddIn provides support for isolated visual and non-visual add-ins, allowing for discovery, versioning, activation and lifecycle management.

Most of the performance improvements and some of the feature improvements will also be included in a forthcoming service pack for .NET Framework 3.0 – I don’t think we’ve talked externally about delivery mechanisms for this at this stage, however.

For more information, your first point of reference should of course be the Visual Studio 2008 Beta 2 documentation. I’m going to see if I can film a Channel 9 video with Kevin over the next week, so we can demo some of these new features to you. Feel free to add a comment to this blog if there’s something specific you’d like to ask for more information about, and we’ll try to capture it.

Comments (33)

  1. says:

    Tim Sneath has two exciting posts up on his blog: Silverlight 1.0 RC 1 Is Here What’s New In WPF 3.5?

  2. Kevin Daly says:

    What would be really really really helpful would be if 3.5 is included in SP1 for Vista…since as you know getting the right version of the Framework on client desktops has always been a headache.

  3. Oran says:

    I fired up a 3.0 XBAP in Firefox and it just worked!  Very cool!  So far this feature hasn’t gotten any real coverage, so it would be nice to get some details on how it works, what are the limitations, (no forward/back integration), etc.

  4. I often skip the "xyz" has shipped announcements.. but VS2008 "orcas" beta2 is packed with so much goodness

  5. John says:

    Would WPF 3.5 be compatible with Milcore remoting? Are we going to see performance improvements there?

  6. Le support du déploiement XBAP dans Firefox, la possibilité d'appeler un service WCF depuis une XBAP

  7. Le support du déploiement XBAP dans Firefox, la possibilité d'appeler un service WCF depuis une XBAP

  8. Dan says:

    "Layered windows are now hardware accelerated."

    Does this mean I could resize or apply animation to a layered window without the lagging issue?

    More information on this please, as it was said that .net 3.0 is hardware accelerated…

    – Dan

  9. Yuval Gilboa says:

    1) What do you mean by "fixed animation glitching issues". Does this mean there is no need to resort to "CompositionTarget.Rendering" anymore?

    2) Could you elaborate on the improvements to data binding and how they can be taken advantage of. What are the best practices for achieving high-performance data binding over a large data set given the new enhancements?

  10. Oleg Mihailik says:

    What do you mean ‘layered windows are now hardware accelerated’?

    We’ve been told they are already accelerated on Windows Vista. Do you mean they are now accelerated on Windows XP?

    To what extent? I mean there are just plain Opacity property and there are full per-pixel Alpha channel transparency using Window.AllowsTransparency. Which kind of transparency is accelerated and on which platforms/OS versions?

  11. fabiopedrosa says:

    Does WPF 3.5 supports Common Dialogs?

  12. Rudi Grobler says:

    Dr Tim Sneath gives a overview of what is new in WPF 3.5 http://blogs.msdn.com/tims/archive/2007/07/27

  13. Tanveer Badar says:

    One feature I still miss is the autocomplete support for TextBox. I wonder why no one has paid any attention to it.

  14. Fala pessoal!Como tinha prometido, no post de 5 minutos atrás, vou falar um pouquinho das novidades…

  15. Scott Gurvey says:

    With the new Linq support, can you bind a Grid to a data context datasource?

  16. j says:

    Does it still hit 50,000 page faults every couple of seconds?

    200 browsers with SVG running managed to avoid that bar.

  17. Billy Hollis says:

    "System.AddIn provides support for isolated visual and non-visual add-ins, allowing for discovery, versioning, activation and lifecycle management."

    Is there an end-to-end sample of that available?

  18. tims says:

    Hi Billy, we recorded the WPF 3.5 video with Kevin last week and it demonstrates this feature. We’ll have the video up by the end of day on Channel 9, hopefully, with source code forthcoming.

  19. Tim Sneath has some details here , plus there is a great video that was just published on Channel 9 here

  20. Tim Sneath says:

    I see on the Channel 9 home page that we’ve hit the milestone of one hundred videos posted on WPF/Avalon.

  21. David Jacobson says:

    Its useful to have the video.  But, as best I understand it, currently this video is the only available documentation on these functions.  That situation suggests that someone has dropped the ball.  Good documentation on LINQ has been available for more than a year now.  Some priority needs to be placed on providing real documentation and samples on the WPF XLINQ integration and WCF integration.

  22. Lawrence Parker says:

    Still no DateTimePicker control?

  23. We’re quite excited about our upcoming WPF 3.5 release which will now support seven Indic scripts!! For

  24. RD says:

    Where is the WPF native datagrid ?

  25. Should I stay or should I go … with Visual Studio 2005 or 2008 is the question in this particular case

  26. Autocomplete textbox is missing control in WPF 3.0 and WPF 3.5 . Is it true? Actually, WPF is very extensible

  27. Jowen says:

    Visual Studio 2008 komt eind deze maand uit, en het is wederom een flink verbeterde versie. Op wpf gebied

  28. Anonymous says:

    by Don Burnett Okay I am just tired of hearing these kinds of things, so I am going to speak on this subject. I am only going to do it once, and speak to what is publicly known on this subject. Some people have asked why they should upgrade to Vista too,

  29. Anonymous says:

    by Don Burnett Okay I am just tired of hearing these kinds of things, so I am going to speak on this subject. I am only going to do it once, and speak to what is publicly known on this subject. Some people have asked why they should upgrade to Vista too,

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