I was looking into .NET 3.5 SP1 for a while now and I was, still am, pretty excited about all the new stuff that is in there for developers such as the ADO.NET Entity Framework, ADO.NET Data Services, and support for SQL 2008’s new features.
One area that slipped my attention so far (even though I feel like having ADD with all the new great technologies coming out constantly) was the improvements in WPF that just recently caught my attention. I guess the reason why I find this area of .NET 3.5 SP1 so exciting is that I was working in medical imaging a few years back and I would have loved to have those features at the time ;-). Anyway, the features that really excited in the newest incarnation of WPF are:
- Hardware accelerated bitmap effects. This means that these effects (blur, shadow,…) are now blazing fast without hijacking all the CPU time. Most of the graphic cards will support the hardware acceleration and, in case it doesn’t, there is still the backup software rendering available (which might be little more sluggish, but the features will still work).
- Multi-Input Effects. These effects allow for eye-popping such as tranisitions in slide-shows.
- Text performance dramatically improved. For example 2D Text can be layered on top of 3D surfaces which makes for great effects. The text stays editable but is tied to the surface.
- DirectX can be used for features not available in WPF but the nice part is that both integrate nicely. For example it is easy to project DirectX scenes on 3D objects in WPF.
If you are interested in graphics programming, or if you want to find new ways to engage your customers with your product then you should definitely experiment with the latest and greatest WPF. I am sure you will find innovative new ways to create an awesome UX for your customers……