Introduction To The Chapter
In this chapter you will learn what WPF is? And why it is used? You will get a clear understanding of why we should use WPF and what are the new possibilities with WPF. It is just the introduction to WPF. So let’s begin.
Birth Of WPF
Microsoft has developed numerous graphical interface toolkits like C++ Win32 API, VB6, MFC, etc. to build desktop applications. These technologies are capable of designing a good GUI interface for the Windows Applications. But these lacks in some additional and advanced features, such as, 2D & 3D Rendering support, Multimedia Support, Animation Support, etc. which are essential now a days. So Microsoft has introduced WPF(Windows Presentation Foundation) API in .NET3.0 framework for the first time. It is released in the year 2007.
.NET 3.0 is officially shipped for the first time with Windows Vista OS. But Windows XP and 2003 versions can also use .NET 3.0. Visual Studio 2005 is the first gateway to program .NET 3.0 applications. So to develop WPF application you need Visual Studio 2005 or later.
.NET 2.0 supports 3D and Multimedia features, but the programmer has to use a number of unrelated APIs. For supporting 3D graphics he has to use DirectX APIs, to use multimedia he has to use Windows Media Player API, etc. So the programmer has to know all the different technologies to build a richer GUI. But it is very difficult to master all the different technologies and integrate them.
So WPF merged all the unrelated APIs into a single unified object model. So if you want to use 3D graphics or multimedia for your application you do not use to need use different APIs. WPF provides all the functionality you need to develop richer GUI applications.
Introducing XAML(An Integral Part Of WPF):-
WPF provides us the capability to design windows applications like an ASP.NET application using markup language. Microsoft called this as XAML(Extended Application Markup Language). XAML provides a separation of coding from designing. So you can develop your application using the toolbox and properties window like the general windows application or in a different form like web applications using markup language.
XAML is capable to provide all the simple UI elements (such as labels, textboxes, etc.) to complex functionality (animation, graphics rendering and multimedia support). If you want to animate a button with a picture on it you only need a few line of XAML code. WPF elements can also be customized using styles and templates, minimizing your efforts. There are also a lot of tools to generate XAML code for you. You have to just define the UI in a drag and drop manner. You can also apply rendering effects and animations to these UI using a simple IDE. Then the IDE will give you the XAML code to be used in your application.
An Overlook Of The Chapter
Now have an overlook of all the above discussion relating to WPF.
•WPF is a .NET 3.0 and later technology.
•It is used to develop GUI for windows application as well as web application.
•It supports 3D rendering, Animation and Multimedia features within a single API.
•WPF applications can also be developed using XAML which is a markup language.
•We can develop applications with 3D rendering, Animation and Multimedia features just using a single API and less effort using WPF.