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Tools To Develop WPF Application

This article explains what you require for running your first WPF application.

Introduction To The Chapter

In the previous chapter you get an understanding of what is WPF? Now let’s talk about what tools you need to develop and run WPF application. In this chapter you will learn what the tools are and where to get them.

Your Needs

As we discussed in the previous chapter WPF is a .NET 3.0 and later technology and .NET 3.0 is officially released with Windows Vista OS in the year 2007. So it is clear from this point that you need .NET Framework 3.0 or later to develop WPF applications. You can also develop WPF applications in and for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003Operatig Systems. You can download the latest (4.0 is not yet released).NET Framework 3.5 from the following link,
.NET Framework 3.5

To develop an application in WPF you need to know one of the .NET languages(C# or VB.NET). You need to know how the different controls work and how to use them. Because development of WPF application has the same process as that of general Windows application, but with many new features and XAML support. We will discuss later about all the new features and XAML in detail.

To develop an application in WPF first you need .NET framework 3.0 or later. Then you need an IDE to design and develop. You can use the most popular .NET IDE Visual Studio 2005/2008 or the latest VS2010 Beta which has a WYSIWYG environment. Visual Studio has all the necessary tools to develop WPF application. It has a WPF designer and also a XAML editor. You can work in only with the designer or the XAML or work simultaneously with XAML using the split view. You can download the express editions of Visual Studio 2008 or the 90 days trial version of Visual Studio 2008 professional from the below link,
Visual Studio Products

VS 2008 VS 2008 Trial

The direct link to download the 90 days trial version of Visual Studio 2008 professional is here,MS VS2008 Trial

You can download Express Edition of only one language or the complete ISO. Express Editions are free and are meant for learning purpose. So you may not avail some of the advanced features as compared to Visual Studio 2008 Professional. But Express Editions are great for learning purpose.

There are also a lot of tools available to design the GUI for you and generating XAML code. One the popular GUI development tool for WPF is Microsoft Expression Blend. You can download the latest Microsoft Expression products from here, MS Expression Products
Here is the Expression Blend IDE,

Microsoft Expression Blend has an interactive easy to use IDE to design WPF GUI in a fashion similar to that of Adobe Photoshop. You can design your GUI in the Expression Blend IDE and give different animations and effects to it. Then the IDE will generate the XAML file for your GUI which can be then imported to Visual Studio 2005/2008. Microsoft Expression Blend has a number of samples, templates and tutorials to help you in designing your GUI.

We will discuss later about a useful tool of .NET framework 3.0 SDK, i.e.” XamlPad.exe”. This is shipped with .NET framework 3.0 SDK. XamlPad give you a real time demonstration of how XAML tags actually generating the GUI elements. Once you get familiar with XAML, we will explore the features of this tool as it requires knowledge of XAML tags.

Checkouts For Your Needs

So at last you need the following tools to develop a WPF application,

1.The .NET Framework 3.0 or later.

2.Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista or Windows 7 as OS.

3.Visual Studio 2005/2008 Professional or Express Edition (or VS 2010 Beta).

4.Microsoft Expression Blend 3(Optional).

5.Last but not the least knowledge of any one of the .NET languages, i.e. C# or VB.NET.

What's Next?

In the next chapter you will learn how to install and configure the Visual Studio IDE to develop WPF applications. You will also learn about the different elements of Visual Studio IDE.

Next Chapter: Installation and Configuration of Visual Studio
Previous Chapter: What Is WPF?
More Chapters: WPF Tutorials
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