Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Cider, Windows SDK, WinFX - December CTP Released

Another drop of WinFX has been released – December CTP. You can find it here: WinFX Runtime Components and the Windows SDK. Up to this part the announcement by Michael Swanson was interesting but not that special since I guessed that I won’t find enough time for it until after the New Year.

But suddenly it started to be super exciting: the availability of Visual Studio Code Name "Orcas" CTP WinFX Development Tools is announced and as a part of it the Cider – the WPF visual designer for Visual Studio! We have been developing a Xaml clone designer for WinForms for the last few months and have been waiting eagerly to see more than just a video. It will be very interesting to see how some of the problems we have been dealing with (for instance: round tripping XAML between design and source views), are solved in the “real designer”.

A year ago we have developed a parser for the Xml dialect designed to be similar to Xaml and to work on WinForms 2.0 in order to be able to define UI in less verbose and less hard coded way than with WinForms designer generated code. We have profited a lot from the increased stability, quality and maintainability of the declarative Xaml-like code. Up till now we didn’t have a visual development environment, a designer – “our Xaml” code was written in the Xml editor and loaded in the program in order to be tested. It wasn’t the best possible developer experience but was passable. But, as stated above, in early September we started the development of a WinForms designer that generates our Xaml code (and C# or VB code behind for good measure). Around that time the Cider was announced too. The development of the two designers :-) runs in parallel, so you can imagine how exciting it may be to see the first running copy of the “other designer”.
Download started… :-)

See also Cider December CTP Release Notes
See also the “official” announcement by Tom Archer    

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