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Avalon vs WPF

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  • User profile image
    brian.​shapiro


    I understand the reasons why for all the subsystems in .NET3 Microsoft moved from codenames to technical names; because they were developer libraries.

    But I think Microsoft should have kept both a technical name and a codename. Why? Because as a developer, if I make a program using XAML, how am I supposed to advertise it to average consumers, not developers, "uses WPF/XAML!" They won't understand that. So far what I've been seeing is "Vista-ready". Maybe this is Microsoft's hope that Vista's brand would be this amazing Wow OS. But because the Vista shell DOES NOT use XAML, its hard for consumers to know what "Vista-ready" means. We should have some way to advertise that our program uses advanced graphics foundations that come with Vista.


  • User profile image
    JChung2006

    http://www.avalon.com/terms.htm - Avalon is a registered trademark of the Avalon Capital Group, Inc.

    Microsoft wants to do what you're suggesting, e.g., Silverlight.

  • User profile image
    brian.​shapiro

    JChung2006 wrote:
    

    http://www.avalon.com/terms.htm - Avalon is a registered trademark of the Avalon Capital Group, Inc.

    Microsoft wants to do what you're suggesting, e.g., Silverlight.



    Is Silverlight as a brand going to apply to Windows-based apps also?

  • User profile image
    DCMonkey

    Average consumers don't care if you use WPF, they care how you use WPF.

    Advertise your "Exciting, Graphically Rich UI" and whatnot. Use screenshots and movies to show off features.

  • User profile image
    brian.​shapiro

    anyway my main issue with the silverlight branding is its one of those things where Microsoft is trying to be cool: they see a lot of cool products where the name is a combination of an adjective and a noun (firefox) and they duplicate it. Then because amorphous lights look cool when they're moving around, they make the logo an amorphous light blob. The name isn't bad, imo, but the logo is a bit dumb as a logo.

    at any rate---whether good or not---microsoft needs to apply this name to XAML experiences for Windows applications also, and not just web applications.

  • User profile image
    brian.​shapiro

    DCMonkey wrote:
    Average consumers don't care if you use WPF, they care how you use WPF.

    Advertise your "Exciting, Graphically Rich UI" and whatnot. Use screenshots and movies to show off features.


    Its easier to communicate to some users in some cases if you have a name. For example on the front page of your product website you might not want to put a dozen screenshots of graphic effects because it makes it tacky. "Exciting, Graphically Rich UI" also sounds like flashy marketing, without a clue to what it means. It might not even be a graphically rich UI, but one that resizes well and uses subtle effects to enhance how it works, which is hard to summarize in an advertisement. In some cases, saying you use such and such technology is the best thing to say.

    You're not necessarily trying to communicate to dumb consumers, but people with moderate expertise, who understand what Flash means and what Spotlight means, but not WPF.

  • User profile image
    JChung2006

    Umm, would you make up your mind?  Do you want marketing names or don't you?

  • User profile image
    brian.​shapiro

    I think its clear what I want and what I don't.

  • User profile image
    wkempf

    If *I* read a marketing blurb that said an application was developed with WPF (or Shizzlebop or any other "marketing name" you'd want to give it), my response would be, "So what."  Doesn't tell me a darned thing about the application.  In fact, if we had to market the product that way, I'd probably think "Oh great!  Must be like a web site from the '90s.  All blink and no content."

    When I read in a tech forum about a new sample application using WPF my reaction is completely different... because the point of such an application is to showcase the power of WPF.  It's probably a worthless application in every other way (or maybe not, but who cares), but it presents an opportunity for me to learn something exciting about the new tech.

    I think you're looking at your marketing like a developer, and not a user.  Users care about functionality, not tech.  Most users wouldn't even care if you left the tech name out but described it as "graphically rich", etc.  Now, mention it does data visualization and you'll start to get their attention.  It's all about "content".  Presentation can help, but superios content with a terrible presentation is acceptable and wondrous presentation with no content is not.

  • User profile image
    brian.​shapiro

    Its not even about selling your product on WPF although in some cases that might make sense.

    In a lot of ways its just common sense. Why do you think every product that is made with WPF has to advertise something like"Vista-ready , Vista required or you have to download .NET 3.0". People don't even know what "Vista-ready" means, what does Vista have that XP doesn't. They don't understand why they need the Vista version. Because, Vista doesn't use WPF for the Shell. If it did it would be different.

    What does this mean: " Stay connected to the people and information that matter most with the Windows Vista™ operating system." (http://messenger.yahoo.com/windowsvista.php) "Find, mix, and sort your songs your way with the Windows Vista™ operating system. ("http://www.roxio.com/enu/promotions/landing/vista/default.html") Its a lot of empty language.

    As much as you would stay "Designed for Vista" you could also note somewhere where it lists Vista features "integrates with Sidebar, " (and) "uses Silverlight graphics." So not necessarily the main advertising headline on the front page, but listed somewhere easily.

    This isn't necessarily even for novice end users, but users who are knowledgable who aren't necessarily developers. Just like how on Apple's Leopard Page, they have a section for Features and for Technology (http://www.apple.com/macosx/technology/) , technology lists things like Bonjour and Core Animation, that novice users might not recognize. But its useful to specify somewhere if you want to know if something is Bonjour enabled.

    Now, go to the Microsoft pages on Vista. http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/windowsvista/features/default.mspx .
    The first page is a very broad page that doesn't give specific features but lists benefits like "Easier", "More Entertaining", "Better Connected", "Safer". When you click on any one of them you get a link for "See Video" then a dump of information with tiny unpresentable screenshots. Or you can click on "By Individual Feature" and get a list dump organized alpabetically.

    There isn't a single page with feature information thats both useful to home users and developers, not thinking non-developers would be interested in technology at all. They're split. You have to go to MSDN to learn technology features. Except for DirectX10, which is listed here as a feature. Of course, Microsoft realized that some games would prompt users saying "DirectX10" was needed. And that some gamers would know what that meant, and other gamers would have to at least identify it. But even the section on Aero while mentioning that you can now see live thumbnails doesn't at all imply this is because there's a new desktop composition system, instead that its just a nicer interface. No wonder people think its just prettied up. Then lets say a non-developer goes to MSDN and sees "WPF"...

    Aside from the fact that this doesn't really sell Vista very well, it makes it hard to target products for Vista. And I think if you could target products for Vista better, you could sell Vista better, because you have a link to a Technology page, like on the Leopard site, that explains how Vista technology is better.

    And WPF isn't necessarily about some abstract "graphically rich" experience. WPF applications which try to sell themselves on being "graphically rich" will end up being flashy and tacky. In fact I would include Yahoo Messenger and Roxio's Vista software in this. WPF offers a lot of nice advantages, including dynamic resizing, styling using XML, using fonts better, etc.

    This doesn't mean that when you're describing features you downplay the actual featureset in order to highlight "WPF/Silverlight/Avalon". It means you now have a reference to frame the description and relate it to Vista. So you say "Takes advantage of ... " -- "so can do this..."

    Smart users learn to identify what the featureset is and understand what it means, and it doesn't necessarily sell the application for them, but it helps direct them.

    But some people here I guess think Microsoft markets its OS as well as Apple.

    My problem with marketing is when it underrates people's sophistication, talks down to them, and invents buzzwords and hype concepts. This is more about common sense in presentation. Microsoft marketing tends towards the former. Microsofts Vista Features page, in talking down to consumers and underrating their sophistication, is a lot less effective than Leopard's Features page.








  • User profile image
    PaoloM

    But... WPF is not a Vista feature...

  • User profile image
    brian.​shapiro

    Which is a problem to explain also isn't it, where the NY Times Reader site says "needs  Vista or .NET 3.0 framework for xp users". It would make more sense to an end user for it to say "Uses [WPF/Silverlight/Avalon] graphics, available in Windows Vista, or you can enable this in older Windows systems by downloading .NET 3.0"

  • User profile image
    PaoloM

    Ok, let me take a stab at answering this...

    brian.shapiro wrote:
    
    I understand the reasons why for all the subsystems in .NET3 Microsoft moved from codenames to technical names; because they were developer libraries.

    No, not really. Codenames are codenames. They are not intended for public consumption, they last just for the duration of development and then, before release, product planning and marketing get together and decide the public-facing name.
    brian.shapiro wrote:
    
    But I think Microsoft should have kept both a technical name and a codename.

    No, that would only generate confusion.
    brian.shapiro wrote:
    
    Why? Because as a developer, if I make a program using XAML, how am I supposed to advertise it to average consumers, not developers, "uses WPF/XAML!" They won't understand that.

    Not only that, but they don't care.

    Picture the average consumer starting a random desktop app. Why would they care if it's written in MCF or bare metal Win32 or an ATL variant? Or they go to a website, do you think they are really interested if it was written in PHP or RoR or ASP.NET?
    brian.shapiro wrote:
    
    So far what I've been seeing is "Vista-ready".

    That doesn't mean WPF.
    brian.shapiro wrote:
    
    Maybe this is Microsoft's hope that Vista's brand would be this amazing Wow OS. But because the Vista shell DOES NOT use XAML, its hard for consumers to know what "Vista-ready" means.

     It means that the software have satisfied the requirements for Vista certification. There is nothing about technology.
    brian.shapiro wrote:
    
    We should have some way to advertise that our program uses advanced graphics foundations that come with Vista.

    And XP.

  • User profile image
    brian.​shapiro

    PaoloM,

    I understand that codenames are codenames, and I don't expect Microsoft to use their codenames in their product releases. Some people get too used to codenames so don't like it when Microsoft chooses a boring name like "Windows 7". Thats not my issue, its not about being boring, I just think names should be useful and readable. Sometimes however it might make sense, if the codename gets a lot of press recognition, like a lot of WinFX libraries did due to Microsoft's openness on Longhorn development. By that time the entire tech world knew WPF by Avalon, it wasn't internal. Its a good marketing decision to use this to your advantage.

    On whether there should be a friendly name for "WPF" or "XAML" I think you're missing my whole point. The world isn't divided into "dumb" novice users who download anything that looks pretty or anything you ask them to [they have to download .NET framework and DirectX after all] and expert developers who know what every acronym XSLT/XMPP/WPF/SWF/XDOC is. I know thats what a lot of Microsoft people think. (and ex-Microsoft people like Scoble). But thats why the XMPP Protocol is also called Jabber. Thats why SWF is also called Flash. Thats why Apple names things Bonjour and CoreAnimation. Its also why Apple advertises Bonjour and CoreAnimation on its CONSUMER page, not a developer page like MSDN. Its more about readability to everyone than specific marketing to grandmothers.

    Creating two names that work for WPF wouldn't be any more confusing than how XMPP is also Jabber and SWF is also Flash. And now that Silverlight is no longer called WPF/E , is the relationship between it and WPF confusing?

    And what I'm saying is that "Vista Ready" has been used to refer to applications created with .NET 3.0. So it essentially means the same thing. But it says absolutely nothing to a consumer since they don't know what it means, so the whole 'certification' I think is meaningless. Certification is meant for consumer information.

    I think Microsoft needs a new way of addressing .NET and referring to it so that consumers (not necessarily grandmothers, but not just expert developers), recognize it as meaning a System library update. So when a website advises them to download '.NET' they know what it means. And can go to the Microsoft website (IF THEY WANT) to view new technologies enabled by the .NET version (since non-developers are interested in this too)


    I think people are protesting what I'm saying too much

  • User profile image
    irascian

    PaoloM wrote:

    No, not really. Codenames are codenames. They are not intended for public consumption, they last just for the duration of development and then, before release, product planning and marketing get together and decide the public-facing name. 


    Then someone should tell Microsoft Consultancy that.

    We had a consultant in to review and offer advice on our codebase and plans moving forward a couple of weeks ago. "Orcas" I can forgive because that product is still in beta, although personally I'd have called it "Visual Studio 2008" given that the report was going to a project manager who'd already explained he struggled to understand all the jargon. 

    The project manager recipient of the consultant's report knew what AJAX and Visual Studio 2005 were, but didn't have a clue what the report meant with its constant references to "ATLAS" and "Whidbey"!

  • User profile image
    Pon

    Would this product manager be a Pointy-Haired Boss?

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