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Flash, Meet Anti-Flash

Published

It’s been rumored that Microsoft has been working on a “Flash killer” that will “revolutionize the Web,” as they put it. And, for a while, the new Windows Vista interface was rumored to be part of it, but we never really had much concrete information.

They just released a preview of this product—and its codename is… Drumroll please… WPF/E.

Catchy!

It’s Mac and PC, and you can download the plugins and check out examples on this page.

WPF/E stands for Windows Presentation Foundation Everywhere. It’s a platform that allows developers to utilize a subset of WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation), to bring a user experience through the browser on any operating system. WPF is and will continue to be used for Windows application development.

The main selling point from Microsoft’s perspective is that there are tools (Microsoft Expression Tools) in place to help author this, and certain parts of Windows application development can be brought into the Web world, and vice versa. Development time and cost go down, and the two skill sets can be utilized in both arenas now.

Yes, Flash has already done this.

Another really great point about WPF that finds its way into WPF/E is that WPF is a declarative syntax, allowing you to abstract out the visual aspect of the application from the backend—much as HTML/CSS does now. Not much of the backend will be available in WPF/E (on the .Net side of things), but design could still gain lots of efficiency.

WPF/E and Flash can be integrated to play nice together using the browser and JavaScript, like they do here.

It’s a tough hill to climb, because the biggest hurdle for this technology is adoption/integration. They already have plugins in place for Firefox, Safari, and IE on Mac and Windows. It’s just a matter of perfecting them and making them as broadly available as Flash.

—Posted by Marc Jensen and Jake Good