Home About Eric Topics SourceGear

2007-08-28 13:00:00

What Microsoft Doesn't Want You to Know about WPF

I'm on vacation.  Aside from catching up on chores around the house, I'm only doing things that are fun.

Microsoft's latest user interface platform is called Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF).  One of the points of emphasis for WPF is aesthetics.  Without exception, all of the WPF sample apps from Microsoft are very attractive.

In fact, many developers are under the impression that WPF apps are just naturally pretty.  They believe that something about the platform makes the user interface look great, automatically, with no extra effort.

This is not true.

What Microsoft doesn't want you to know is that it is possible to make ugly applications using WPF.  In fact, ugly is not merely possible -- it's the default.

A couple weeks ago I posted Preview 1 of Sawdust (my hobby project).  The Sawdust.com website is mostly aimed at woodworkers, but if you're interested in WPF, feel free to click over there and try it out (it's an XBAP).  I think you'll agree that it's not going to win any software beauty contests.

I'm not blaming WPF for the fact that my application is ugly.  I'm just trying to dispel the myth that WPF applications are naturally easy on the eyes.  Just as with any other UI platform, making a nice-looking app with WPF requires design skills, and I don't have any.  Eventually I'll get some help and make it not so hard to look at.

Microsoft, if by chance Sawdust's homeliness is an embarrassment for WPF, you can hurry me along.  Just send me a graphic designer.  Be sure to poke holes in the shipping crate so they can get plenty of air during the trip.  :-)