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March 25, 2006

Microsoft does cross-platform .NET with WPF/E

Posted 4259 days ago on March 25, 2006

Microsoft will deliver a cross-platform .NET runtime targeting Windows and Mac OS X, with Linux and Solaris under consideration and licensed third-party implementations to be encouraged. It will also be implemented for devices such as Windows Mobile.

Called Windows Presentation Foundation Everywhere (WPF/E), this is not exactly a rival to Mono, the open-source implementation of .NET for Linux and other operating systems. The idea of WPF/E is to enable web designers to create XAML applets that run cross-platform, so the focus is on the user interface, whereas Mono provides a comprehensive application framework. WPF/E will be a small, the target being 2MB or less.

Even so, the scope of WPF/E goes beyond what most of us envisaged when we saw the first early demos at Microsoft's PDC last year. WPF/E is a runtime engine able to execute .NET intermediate language (IL) as well as rendering XAML. This means it will run C# or VB.Net code. It also contains its own audio/video multimedia engine, with no dependence on Windows Media Player or Quicktime.

You will be able to use WPF/E in two ways. A browser plug-in or ActiveX control enables WPF/E content in web pages, while the engine can also be hosted by desktop applications. When hosted in a web page, you can control the embedded applet through Javascript.

There is obvious overlap with the Compact Framework, the current implementation of .NET for devices. Perhaps the two things will merge at some future date. However, WPF/E is even smaller than the Compact Framework. Don't imagine that all your .NET applications will immediately run on Macs under WPF/E. Most of the .NET Framework class library will not be implemented, so only the most trivial of applications is likely to run without modification. It will probably work as a client for XML web services.

The design tool for WPF/E will be Expression, while programmers will use Visual Studio.

WPF/E is significant for all sorts of reasons. While Microsoft appears to have little interest in .NET as a cross-platform server technology, it is now making moves towards establishing it as cross-platform on the client. If it delivers, it will make XAML far more interesting to web developers.

A community tech preview of WPF/E is promised for the summer (third quarter, to be precise), with final release in the first half of 2007.

The above information is from a presentation at Mix06 along with an interview with Forest Key, Director of Developer Tools Product Management. More to follow shortly.


Re: Microsoft does cross-platform .NET with WPF/E

Posted 4253 days ago by Teiman • • wwwReply


Will be funny to make a XAML editor with WPF/E, and create a "WPF/E javascript engine". So can be posible to make apps withing the web browser :D

load browser
load WPF/E app (on http://localhost/xaml/tool.aspx)
draw form, save form
code javascript logic
save form+logic on database as "paco"
load WPF/E javascript engine targeting "paco" (on http://localhost/host/load.aspx?paco")


No command line!, No desktop! :D

I already do something alike with XUL, will be fun to do something alike with XAML :D

Re: Microsoft does cross-platform .NET with WPF/E

Posted 3618 days ago by Rinat Abdullin • • wwwReply

Great job on forecasting! It is a year and a half since your last post.

Moonlight is being delivered, and there are traces that the WPF UI could be the next cross-platform thing.


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