People have been asking me questions about WPF, mostly how to get started.
Since WPF is still somewhat obscure, in this article I’m going to try to make things a little more clear to get you on your way using WPF.
As you might or might not know, WPF is part of .net 3.0, formerly known as WinFX. Other components included in .net 3.0 are WCF (Windows Communication Foundation), WF (Windows Workflow Foundation) and CardSpace (formerly InfoCard).
For starters, you need an operating system supporting WPF. This can be:
-Windows XP SP2
I do recommend running .net 3.0 in a virtual pc environment! Since a lot of CTP’s, beta’s and RC’s are coming our way, it’s easier to just create a VPC with Windows XP or 2003 , and install .net 3.0! Since Virtual PC is free anyhow, I don’t see a reason why not doing it this way!
Uninstalling beta software can be a real pain, so why compromise your precious production environment!?
(For Virtual PC go here)
On both XP and 2003, you need to install the runtime, to be able to run WPF applications. This can be a web-install (of around 2.5 MB, and then the rest is downloaded) or you might as well download the whole package.
Now, there are some issues with the latest CTP of July… This latest release does not come with the Visual Studio 2005 extensions, required to build your WPF applications in VS.
Therefore, if you want to start developing (or better, start playing around…), I suggest you stick to the June CTP, which has full support for all the tools.
So, if you want to develop within Visual Studio, follow the next steps. If not, skip this section.
The June CTP runtime can be downloaded here.
To start developing, you might want to install the SDK. It’s a big download of around 1.1GB. It comes with lots of samples and tools, like XAMLPad. The SDK can be downloaded here.
The SDK is however not required when you intend to develop in Visual Studio! For VS, Microsoft has released some extensions and templates, which will make your WPF-life a lot easier! If you don’t have Visual Studio, you can use one of the free Express editions.
For the download, go here.
We’re almost done!
Microsoft is also preparing a set of designer tools for WPF, the Expression suite.
The Interactive Designer outputs XAML code, which can be used to enhance the layout of your applications, without even knowing XAML!
For the Interactive Designer, go here.
The Graphic Designer allows you to create images and export these as XAML code to be included in your WPF projects.
This can be downloaded here.
That’s it! Now, you are ready to start!
If you want the latest release, and don’t care for the Visual Studio Extensions, go for the July CTP, which was released July 18th.
The runtime can be downloaded here.
And the SDK is found right here.
I did find some work around to get this latest CTP working with Orcas, but since I didn’t try it myself, I cannot guarantee that it will work.
The “fix” goes as follows:
Instal Orcas in VS using the misexec override: msiexec /i vsextwfx.msi WRC_INSTALLED_OVERRIDE=1
The override bypasses the installation version checking so you can install the extensions.
After this you have July CTP installed and Orcas from the previous version. This works just fine.
To solve your problem with the Orcas designer trying to open:
Right click on a .xaml file in your solution and choose "open with...". Choose "xml Editor" and click on "Set as default". Now all .xaml files will open with the xml editor instead of trying to open the unfinished Orcas designer.
In a next article, I’ll post some interesting resources to get you building WPF applications in no time!