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WinForms Design: GDI or XAML?

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  • User profile image
    Dr. Shim

    I'm writing some libraries for a desktop application. I'm hoping the interface could look somewhat impressive, and without the classic Windows look. Anyway, I'm wondering whether it's safe enough to use XAML to create the UI, or is GDI still a safer choice? Would users really want to download the extra 30 megabytes for the XAML runtime libraries?

    And this one's for Beer:
    I'm hoping to make my libraries as portable as possible. How hard is it to install the Mono or Dot GNU runtimes, and how well do they work for desktop applications? Also, how hard (or should I say different?) is it to create CLI desktop applications for those platforms?

    I know I'd be hurting myself on the portability side of things if I use .NET 2.0, but if I create my libraries without using any .NET 2.0 specific features, I think I'd be safe if I re-compile them for Mono.

  • User profile image
    littleguru

    Do you think that XAML works with Mono?

  • User profile image
    rhm

    Steer well clear of XAML for a couple of years. Some things MS puts out as betas are almost ready to go (like VS2005 itself), but others are *really* not ready for serious use and XAML is one of them. Plus Windows.Forms isn't going away and there's a huge supply of good 3rd-party components available for it.

    Using XAML right now is like going back to the Windows3 days and coding dialog boxes by writing the resource files in notepad.

  • User profile image
    W3bbo

    I'm not really /that/ supportive of XAML, its only been around a few years, and its already gone the way of HTML3.2

    Of course, I'm with the W3C on that SGML (and its derivatives) are for document structure, not appearance.

    Mark my words, XAML2.0 will separate presentation from content after they realise how much of a mess it is Smiley

  • User profile image
    Arran

    W3bbo wrote:
    Of course, I'm with the W3C on that SGML (and its derivatives) are for document structure, not appearance.



    Thing is HTML has and is still used for appearance in most sites.  I know most people now use CSS, but they are still only 1/2 using it in most cases.  Tables are still used very heavily for layout of the entire site.

    I am not disagreeing with you...although HTML is used in this way its a bad way! 

    I really have not looked into XMAL & Avalon much yet (i do intend do) but i got the impression it does a ok job of separating presentation and content by having a lot of the content done by code behind rather than XMAL.  Am i wrong in this view?

    In fact i may start trying to focus some time on all this stuff this weekend.  There is just way too much i want to learn!  Am always playing catch up.  but that’s the industry for you i guess!


  • User profile image
    Sven Groot

    Dr. Shim wrote:
    And this one's for Beer:
    I'm hoping to make my libraries as portable as possible. How hard is it to install the Mono or Dot GNU runtimes, and how well do they work for desktop applications? Also, how hard (or should I say different?) is it to create CLI desktop applications for those platforms?

    I know I'd be hurting myself on the portability side of things if I use .NET 2.0, but if I create my libraries without using any .NET 2.0 specific features, I think I'd be safe if I re-compile them for Mono.

    Installing Mono is easy on most Linux distributions. But test early and test often. Don't test only using the real .Net and just assume it'll work on Mono, things just aren't that easy. Mono still has a few quirks.

    Windows Forms support in Mono is far from complete, although making rapid progress. They'll support the .Net 1.1 Windows Forms classes when Mono 1.2 is released. Support for .Net 2.0 Windows Forms is still a long way off.

    XAML is not supported on Mono, and it probably won't be for a very long time, if ever.

  • User profile image
    iStation

    I love Gid's UI (not GDI, not XAML).

    http://gid.cimne.upc.es/index.html
    http://gid.cimne.upc.es/features/hf01.subst

    I wonder what framwork they're using?
    Smiley

  • User profile image
    Dr. Shim

    Thanks for your input! I was leaning toward using XAML, since I'm more comfortable using XML then I am GDI. XAML might just be one of those things that'll be any good around version 3. Smiley

    W3bbo wrote:
    Of course, I'm with the W3C on that SGML (and its derivatives) are for document structure, not appearance.


    I think XML is great because it can be used for almost anything. I find the structured nature of XML impeccable for creating a design layout. Although XML isn't as flexible as something like Flash is, for creating graphics.

    rhm wrote:
    Using XAML right now is like going back to the Windows3 days and coding dialog boxes by writing the resource files in notepad.


    Oi vey.

  • User profile image
    Jorgie

    Hold on...

    Your question does not even make sense to me... XAML is an XML based description language used as one way of describing Avalon UI elements and thier relationships. (You can do it directly in the code too.) GDI is an API for drawing graphic elements.

    I think what you are asking is "Should I use WINFORMS or AVALON."

    Right?

    Jorgie

  • User profile image
    Dr. Shim

    Jorgie wrote:
    I think what you are asking is "Should I use WINFORMS or AVALON."

    Right?

    Jorgie


    Yes. I was trying being as specific as possible. Smiley 

    AFAIK, GDI is used to draw the actual graphical elements in Windows. Isn't Avalon the new rendering engine to be used in Longhorn?

  • User profile image
    geekling

    The question is meaingless.

    XAML is declarative mark-up to abstract your user-interface from your code.

    You can use XAML with WinForms or with Avalon.

    Alternatively, if you're not afraid of the GPL (I am, but that's another matter) you can look at MyXaml, which runs under .NET 1.1; its a bit more general serialization format than XAML.

    If its a personal pet project ignore what everyone's said and do whatever you want. Wink

  • User profile image
    eddwo

    You won't be able to ship anything that relies on Avalon until Longhorn and the WinFX runtimes ship. So unless you don't intend to deploy until the end of 2006 you better use Winforms for now.
    I guess you should design for the maximum separation of Interface and Application code so you can swap out the Winforms version for an Avalon version when it becomes available. I'm not sure how easy that will be in practice.

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