In this episode The Dynamics Duo dive into the deep rich coolness that is WPF. We also spend some time talking about the offline data framework that Dynamics CRM provides developers.
In past sessions we built solutions on SharePoint and Office and those are great for the specific scenarios they were intended for. Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) gives developers the ability to build rich interactive smart clients. You’ll have to admit that nothing beats the inherent coolness of a well written WPF app. I’ve worked on a few WPF projects (here and here) and it never ceases to amaze me the way you can reduce complexity and immerse users in the experience.
If your solution requires a desktop apps then WPF is absolutely the way to go. If you’re building web apps then Silverlight is the right way to go. When you’re not sure then you should think a little harder about your requirements. Things like access to local PC resources require WPF. Also if you’re doing heavy graphics that would require graphics acceleration then WPF is the right choice. Finally if your app needs to be both online and offline then WPF also would be a good choice.
In keeping with the series of demos for a professional services organization, Girish shows off an eye-popping jaw-dropping WPF app that radically improves the time sheet entry process. The scenario is an offline one. Dynamics CRM provides a great offline framework as part of both the end-user experience and the developer toolkit. By designating an entity in the system as available offline, the framework will automatically pull data from the CRM server and store it locally. In order to make the experience a natural one a local web server (Cassini) and database server (SQL Server Express) are used. In this demo we used the Microsoft Office Outlook client to take CRM offline. I even surprised Girish by yanking out the network cable.