Is it time to pay attention again to Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF)? I started wondering this a few weeks back, as the excitement over Silverlight and sundry rich Internet application (RIA) frameworks crested and the RTM of Visual Studio 2008 pulled our attention back to the desktop.
If you remember, WPF was going to change ... well, everything. WPF was going to unify 2-D and 3-D graphics. It was going to make once-dull Windows Forms-style applications come alive. Our whites would be whiter, our brights brighter.
The future of WPF development promised a land of unicorns, lollipops and candy mountains.
But a funny thing happened on the way to WPF. A couple funny things, actually. One, Windows Vista flopped in the corporate market, stunting (or at least delaying) the implied value of WPF as a development target. And two, Microsoft took more than a year to deliver the tooling to enable WPF-based development. I think we all can agree that forcing programmers to write Extensible Application Markup Language (XAML) code by hand is no way to kick off a graphics development revolution.