Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Six years of WPF; what's changed?

Prior to working full time on Octopus Deploy, I spent a year building a risk system using WPF, for traders at an investment bank. Before that I worked as a consultant and trainer, mostly with a focus on WPF. I've lived and breathed the technology for the last six years, and in this post I'm going to share some thoughts about the past and future of WPF and the XAML-ites.

Six years ago, I wrote an article about validation in WPF on Code Project. I also wrote a custom error provider that supported IDataErrorInfo, since, would you believe, WPF in version 3.0 didn't support IDataErrorInfo. Later, I worked on a bunch of open source projects around WPF like Bindable LINQ (the original Reactive Programming for WPF, back before Rx was invented) and Magellan (ASP.NET-style MVC for WPF). I was even in the MVVM-hyping, Code Project-link sharing club known as the WPF Disciples for a while.

As I look back at WPF, I see a technology that had some good fundamentals, but has been really let down by poor implementation and, more importantly, by a lack of investment. I'm glad those days are behind me.

Back in 2006, here's what the markup for a pretty basic Window looked like (taken from an app I worked on in 2006):

<Window x:Class="PaulStovell.TrialBalance.UserInterface.MainWindow"
  Icon="{StaticResource Image_ApplicationIcon}"
  Background="{StaticResource Brush_DefaultWindowBackground}"

I mean, look at all that ceremony! x:Class! XML namespace imports! Why couldn't any of that stuff be declared in one place, or inferred by convention?

Fortunately, it's now 2012, and things have come a long way. Here's what that code would look like if I did it today:

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